Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two Main Events in New York City

In actuality, this is my second visit to New York City. The first one was in 2003 (if I'm not mistaken). I did visited the Ground Zero of the World Trade Center and they already started cleaning up of what remained of the ruins of the Twin Towers. I also went up to the Observation Deck of the Empire State Building.

On this second visit, I booked for a walking tour of the New World Trade Center including the 9/11 Memorial for all the victims on that fateful day including those who died on the 1993 WTC bombing. All the names of the nearly 3000 who perished were inscribed in bronze around the perimeters of the two pools. These two pools were actually the footprints or the exact locations of the North and South Towers who collapsed on that day. The new Tower 1 of the New World Trade Center is almost finished and is now the tallest building in the United States at 1776 feet.

The next tour that I booked myself in was for the Empire State Building. The difference this time was, I went up to take a breathtaking view of New York City at night.

I spent this day going to these tours by myself using the subway system. I have to admit though that I got lost a couple of times, mostly I took the wrong direction of the same train number. Fortunately I just got off on the next stop and went to the platform going the opposite direction.

Overall, this was quite a long day for me and my legs and feet were hurting. I need a very long sleep.

Traversing the NYC Subway System

Fortunately, my good friend Alain Ramos showed me how to use the subway of New York City. Its kind of a crash course for me. At the LaGuardia Airport, I purchased a 7-day Unlimited Metro Card that I could use for the subway trains as well as the public buses. Next he showed me how to read and interpret the subway map. I have read some tips online for first time NYC visitors and it said that bringing a subway map around really made you look a dumb tourist since in every station there are huge maps posted around as well as inside the trains. I actually downloaded the subway map app for me to use. The trick is to read and re-read the signs so that you will now where you're going. Of course its given that you know your destination. My "guide" went with me through the system and brought me from my hotel in mid Manhattan all the way down to Brooklyn where he lives. After having dinner in his house I went back to my hotel alone. He told me that I would never be a real New Yorker if I dont get lost in the subway system. That's a big NO for me. I dont want to get lost on the subway and end up in a dangerous place of the city, if there's such a place.

First Day in New York City Adventure

Touchdown at LaGuardia Airport. A good friend of mine picked me up and accompanied me to check into my hotel. My hotel is on the east of 51st Street between the 2nd & 3rd Avenues in Midtown Manhattan and its called The Pod Hotel or Pod 51 to identify its location. This is a cool and hip hotel and the downside though is its room is quite small and I have to share a bathroom down the hall. It doesn't matter to me because I am alone and besides I only need a safe space to sleep and leave my things. I have the option to get a private bathroom but the daily rate is quite steep. What I love most with this hotel is its location. There are a lot of shops and restaurants and the Empire State Building and other tourist attractions in Manhattan are just a few blocks away.