I was fortunate to have an all-girls group in college. We spent 5 years of college together and had lot of fun in each other’s company as well as supported each other during tough times. We were 5 of us and although we took to different career fields after graduation, we made it a point to meet each other at least once in a year to spend some quality girl time away from our husbands, families and work. We had gone to a lot of places in and around India but this year, we thought of an International location since we all had our passports in place. With a lethal combination of culture, nightlife, shopping, entertainment and adventure in abundance- we could just think of 1 city which never sleeps – Greater New York in the United States.
After landing at the airport, we met our tour guide who escorted us to our hotel in Manhattan. After checking in, we decided to chill out at the pool side café for some time. Then as it was getting dark, we had a quick shower, got ready and headed straight to Times Square which was just 5 minutes away from our hotel. There is no better way to be introduced to New York City, than visiting Times Square at night. Times Square, located in Mid-town Manhattan is the most bustling, vibrant and lively square of New York. Time Square is famous for its various Broadway theatres, cinemas and massive digital billboards whose bright illuminations and loud sounds of people and ticket –sellers create a mid-afternoon effect even at mid-night. It is one of those places that portray New York as a city that never sleeps. Despite the massive amount of people crowed in one street, all the tall buildings and lights where a magnificent view and the perfect place to pose for pictures! We girls were on a shopping and eating spree and were even eager to catch the musicals on Broadway. This place was like a heaven on earth for us! There are souvenir shops, restaurants such as TGI Fridays,, Toys ‘R’ Us, the Hershey’s shop, Sephora and much more. The phrase ‘Shop till you Drop!’ was in reality applicable to us that day’. We returned to our hotel post mid-night or I could say early morning and dozed off.
We stayed in Manhattan which is a huge city and home to many of New York’s premier tourist attractions. They say that Manhattan represents the entire New York city—and sometimes the entire United States—to the world. New York has two main areas concentrated of high-rise buildings: Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan, each of these areas have its own unique and exclusively recognizable skyline. Midtown Manhattan where we stayed is the largest central business district in the world and houses such noteworthy and historic buildings such as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Citigroup Center and Rockefeller Center.
The 360 degree view of the city from the second tallest structure of New York City – The Empire State Building was incredible and breathe taking! The Empire State Building is 102-story skyscraper and World’s Most Famous Office Building as well as a National Historic Landmark. We took the elevator to the 86th floor Observatory to see the panoramic views from within a glass-enclosed tower and the to the 102nd floor Observatory we could actually see till New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Standing up there, I actually felt the feeling and spirit of New York City.
This was a thrilling start to our vacation in New York after visiting the Time Square. Next in line was the Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center is a 22 acre area comprising of 19 commercial buildings and is also a National Historic Landmark. These 19 buildings offer an array of dining and shopping options and also provide a glimpse into the historic architecture and art through the buildings.
We took a guided tour to the observation deck and had a quick history lesson on the way to some fantastic views. The best part of this tour was the ice skating for more than an hour. We had as much fun doing it and also watching other people enjoy. We loved spending time eating, shopping and ice – skating at this place. We again had a gorgeous view of the whole NYC from the Top of the Rock and from where we could even see the Empire State Building along with the whole city.
We spent the afternoon in Central Park. Central Park is a public park at the center of Manhattan in New York City and is the most visited urban park in United States. This park attracts nearly 35 million visitors annually. The park was a sight to see, very beautiful and calm in winter. 3 of us took a horse ride for about 30 minutes while the rest two took to bird watching. The rest of the time we walked around exploring at as many section of the park as we could fit in and recalled all the movies that had featured this beautiful park. We had awesome lunch in the boat house café and spent the evening in and around the city walking aimlessly and viewing the city.
The next day was dedicated to the New York museums. We started with the museum mile. The Museum Mile is a lovely stretch along 5th Avenue bursting with different kinds of museums and other fine arts institutions. El Museo del Barrio as is evident from the Spanish name, is a museum which is devoted entirely to Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art. The Museum of the City of New York, one of the most elegant museums in the city, looks like a Royal American castle. We spent an hour here but it would take about three to four hours, if you want to take a look at the whole museum. The other museums in the mile included the Metropolitan museum of art, Jewish museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Goethe House German Cultural Center. This entire day which was dedicated to museum hopping was quite informative and gave us a chance to explore these world– class cultural institutions.
After shopping, learning, sight-seeing and history, it was time for some adventure and thrill.
We had booked the Manhattan Sky Tour which is an exciting helicopter tour for a birds-eye view of New York City. It was a sunny and cold Sunday morning and the takeoff was from Manhattan’s Downtown Heliport. The Helicopter flight took us past the Statue of Liberty, New York’s financial district of Wall Street and the awesome sight of Ground Zero. We also caught a glimpse of the outstanding Empire State Building and historic Ellis Island. The pilot was very informative and gave us great information through the headsets, pointing out various buildings, bridges and other vital landmarks.
It was an amazing experience of having an Ariel view of this colorful city. Exploring NYC from air was the most exciting and thrilling part of our adventure.
For once, we all forgot that we were married, had kids and a career to follow. This was an ideal example of letting your hair loose. Of all the vacations we had taken together as a group in these many years, holiday to New York City has been the most amazing, thrilling and adventurous holiday and this will stay with us forever. The city was the topic of all our phone chats and meetings for a long time. A beautiful snap of all 5 of us posing outside a café in Times Square adorns our walls and makes us nostalgic whenever we glance at it!