A mark of a city’s quality is its ability to strike a balance. A balance between being an example of rapid architectural evolution, all the while maintaining a humble natural beauty that offers it’s inhabitants a peaceful escape from the clamours of daily metropolitan life. New York is a city that does this perfectly. It offers visitors a chance to see the world that we have all come to know on the big screens; the concrete jungle. Yet for those who feel suffocated in these congested surroundings, there are an abundance of locations to where a person enjoys a more tranquil environment.
Great Outdoors New York
When taking a trip to any large city across the globe, it can sometimes feel as if you’re just getting in the way of locals who are attempting to go about their daily lives. That feeling of being constantly rushed around, without really being able to take in your surroundings and appreciate them, can really put a dampener on your holiday experience as a whole. If you have a trip to New York coming up any time soon, here are my favourite places that you can enjoy at your own pace. Three places of a humble and beautiful nature that contribute hugely to making New York the complete package for visitors.
Central Park is my favourite place in all of New York, it is amazing the amount of times you will notice a particular portion of it because of the sheer volume of times that you will have been exposed to it through various different films. Whether it be Will Ferrell in Elf trying to save Christmas, or Princess Giselle (I had to include a clip because I am shamelessly in love with the film) attempting to find ‘true love’s kiss’ in Enchanted, these films have offered us an in depth visual that is actually surpassed when you do eventually live the real thing.
The Bethaside Fountain, the Greenery, the stunning panoramic views from the balcony of Belvedere Castle; all experiences you can enjoy for absolutely nothing. Central Park is a vast area of natural beauty that you could happily walk around for a full afternoon and not get bored. Considering what surrounds it on every side, it means it should be cherished even more. The preservation of the park to the point of current state are a credit to the city of New York. Every city needs to develop and modernise, but at the same time it can never lose its heart. Central Park plays that role so well. It is the literal and figurative heart of New York.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic sights in all of New York. For decades, it was the first indicator for thousands of incoming European migrants arriving by both that they had made it to the ‘Land of Opportunity’. Even when visiting it today, it is hard to not feel a certain sense of optimism. It is the type of place that leaves you pinching your arm to remind yourself that ‘hey, I am actually here’. When you experience it for yourself, you will understand what I mean completely.
The best way to experience this is by taking a hop-on hop-off boat tour that also includes the option to walk around Ellis Island. The imagery that this boat tour provides you is special. On your outward journey, you will be able to enjoy the sight of the Lower Manhattan’s skyline (including the reconstructed World Trade Centre). The speed of the boat means you really have time to appreciate what you are seeing and if you are blessed with sunny weather, you’re destined to end up with an excellent photo collection.
Standing at the foot of the Lady Liberty will leave you awestruck. Perspective will no longer be a factor and you will be able to bask in just how impressive (and huge) this landmark is.
It would be criminal to pay a visit to NYC and leave this girl hanging.
The High Line
The New York High Line is another example of New York’s desire to offer it’s inhabitants, but also incoming visitors, a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. What was once an overground railway, has been transformed into an aerial greenway. It is open all year round and is graced with various different cultural attractions throughout the course of the year. Events such as Tai Chai classes, High Line Habitat tours, musical performances and public tours explaining the fascinating story behind ‘New York’s Park in the Sky’ occur on a regular basis.
I could not, and even now cannot, get over just how amazing it is that in a city as busy as New York, particularly in Manhattan (the busiest of the Five Boroughs) you can find an unobstructed 2.33km stretch dedicated purely to pedestrians. It is a refreshing an ever-evolving part of the city as it is constantly being expanded.
No matter what the context, New York is a defiant city. The examples and landmarks that I have mentioned above are highly symbolic of this. If a New York holiday is in the pipeline, these are places that should be bumped up into the category of ‘top priority’.
It’s not every day you get to experience majesty, and these three landmarks are without a doubt the jewels in the New York crown. :)