… or to the Big Apple if you prefer, and probably many different nicknames which have been given to this wonderful and vibrant city that I was so lucky to visit over the summer. Already know which city
I have in mind?
Yes, it’s NEW YORK I’m talking about!!! ❤️
I’ve always travelled around Europe so an opportunity to see a different continent and what’s more important- a country that I’ve always dreamed to see was tempting. I knew I had to take it! Because if not now, then when? 😉
My trip to New York was for work purposes, I went there as a group leader with 18 Polish teenagers whose aim was to learn English, sightsee and get to know international students at one of the internationally recognized language schools, located in a very charming town Bronxville. If you ever want to learn a foreign language abroad I highly recommend Travel Agency ATAS that I was hired by. I’m sure there are many agencies like that offering language courses abroad in your countries as well (if you’re not Polish😊)
I think everyone knows New York City but below you can find a few interesting facts about this place:
- It has five boroughs – Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island
- It’s the biggest city in the USA by its population
- Grand Central Station has a Whispering Gallery. It means that you have to stand on the opposite side in the corner, to be able to hear what someone else is saying in the opposite corner to you. It was pretty amazing, I checked! FYI- it is located on the lower level of the Terminal (picture below)
- There are over 800 languages spoken in New York City, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. Talking about diversity, huh?!
Weather- one word comes to my mind– humidity!
(in the summer time, of course)
We went to New York at the beginning of July 2019. I have heard it is very hot and humid in the USA in the summer, but oh wow… The heat was unbearable! From the very first evening, all of us struggled with the humidity. You cannot survive without the AC- supermarkets, shops, and nearly every building have air conditioning- thank God!
Therefore, if you can choose when to come there, I would recommend either spring or fall as summer is really really hot. Unless you like humidity and heat so go ahead 😉
Our 3 – week program in the USA contained 10 full day trips around New York. In other days students had classes which was the time that I could spend exploring the city a bit more 😊 Below I will give you a glimpse of the wonderful 3 weeks I was so lucky to spend in America…
Times Square, Central Park, Top of the Rock
and many more…
From a tourist perspective, I think I have ‘ticked’ most of the must-sees in NYC, but I gotta tell you – I have never seen buildings THAT TALL in my life! Just wondering around the city, absorbing its magnitude left me with a huge smile that I am REALLY THERE! I knew the city was one, tall building next to another, but it felt as if you’re with your head in the clouds the entire time, trying to reach the top of the buildings… That made me feel really tiny in comparison to their height! Just look at them!!
Above, you can see the very first skyscraper I saw the minute I got off at Grand Central Station. As you can see it was under construction, there were many builders around and they were laughing at me, probably thinking ‘oh boy, another tourist who has never seen buildings this tall ’ 😁 My face must’ve looked funny 😉
The Times Square
- it’s a major commercial intersection, entertainment center, and a tourist destination
- New Yorkers gather there during New Year’s Eve, where the famous ball drops at midnight. The first ball drop was held in 1907
This place is a must-see once you’re there both during the day, but also at night- it’s a completely different experience.
I must say though- 3 times on Times Square is enough. There are constantly hundreds of people!!!
The Top of the Rock
- it’s an observatory on the top of Rockefeller Center, with a 360-degree view of New York City.
- there are three levels of indoor and outdoor viewing areas. From up there you can see the skyline, Central Park, and Midtown, as well as landmarks and skyscrapers
- during Christmas, Rockefeller Center hosts an annual Christmas tree which I’m sure you’ve seen on the TV
- tt is popular to go ice skating there during the wintertime as you must’ve seen on many TV shows and movies 😊
The experience from the Top of the Rock was un-be-lie-va-ble! From above you can see the enormity of the city, the number of buildings, apartments, companies working in these buildings. The weather was beautiful so we could see the entire city until the horizon. Check it out yourself! 😊
- the second most visited tourist attraction in the USA
- free concerts and performances are held throughout the year open for the public
- there are approx. 9000 wooden benches around the park
- does anyone remember Home Alone 2? One of the scenes was actually shot there with the Pigeon Lady 😉
- there are 18 000 trees in Central park!
- the Central Park Conservancy – ‘a private, not-for-profit organization, formed in 1980 by a group of concerned citizens determined to improve Central Park, has invested more than $1 billion to date in the Park, making it a model for urban parks worldwide’, to read more go to: http://www.centralparknyc.org/about/
Honestly, I was not aware of how massive this park is! On the map, it doesn’t look that big but it takes hours and even days to explore the entire park, so I definitely have to come back as I’ve seen only a tiny piece of it.
Six Flags in New Jersey
- chain of amusement parks across not only America but also in Canada and Mexico
- operates since 1961
It was the biggest amusement park I have ever seen! We’ve spent there the entire day and I must say I went out of my comfort zone by trying different roller coasters… But – I admit, haven’t tried the Kingda Ka, which is the highest roller coaster in the world and 2nd fastest… That was a bit too much for me hahah…
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
- it was a gift from the people of France
- the symbol of freedom that welcome immigrants coming to the USA since it was opened in 1886
To get to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island we had to take the ferry. The views were amazing.
Honestly? I thought The Statue is much bigger! I guess the TV screen and movies tend to make everything looks much bigger than it really is 😊 but still, it was impressive. I even tried to pose alike…
It was sooo hot that day that I’ve decided to not care about the cost and bought a pretty good lemonade for 6 dollars.
Historically, Ellis Island was a place where all immigrants were gathering before they were let into the country. It was interesting to see all the stories of the immigrants from hundreds of years ago. I even found a story of a Polish immigrant:
It was so hot that I’ve decided not to bother- again, and bought a very stylish cap, with the Statue of Liberty on it. Well, that’s all they were selling on the island… haha. Is it very bad? 😉
The High Line
- a bit over 2 km-long elevated linear park
- used to be an old, rail line
- it’s is one of New York City’s most popular and distinctive parks
- the High Line has become a world-renowned inspiration for how cities can transform industrial infrastructure into hybrid public spaces, to read more go to https://www.thehighline.org/about/
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
- the largest art museum in the USA
- the third most visited museum in the world
- there are about 2 millions of works in its permanent collections,
The Museum was enormous! We had there only 3 hours and I’m sure it was not enough to see everything. I was interested primarily in Asia and Oceania as it’s very distinct from what I’m used to see in museums around Europe 😊
As in many cities also across Europe, I am sure that you’ve seen people singing or dancing at least once. I remember the very first full day trip we had. It was hot, we were supposed to get US sim cards but several things didn’t go as planned and we ended up sitting in front of the incredible MET Museum (which we’ve explored that same day before), tired and ready to go back home as that was our meeting point to return to the campus.
All of a sudden, a group of dancers appeared in front of us. Turned out, we had accidentally got into a pretty cool performance of Positive Brothers, a group from NYC. The guys were lovely, dancing was impressive but also what they’ve been saying. Their motto is ‘there is only one race, human race’ which I think is beautiful and much-needed to be spread nowadays😊 checked them out on their IG channel here @positive_brothersig
Why not participating in activities myself?
Don’t know how many of you know how summer school works, so let me tell you briefly. International teens travel to learn English but apart from lessons, they also have a variety of social activities to participate in the afternoons/evenings. Once, I’ve decided to do Jenga truth or dare activity. As I’ve never played Jenga before (I know I know, you’re thinking ‘how come?’) and my dare was to walk like a monkey. So if you ever wondered how they walk, there you go… 😀
- the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge
- it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn
- in 1884, 21 elephants marched across the bridge, along with 17 camels. The animals made it across, proving that the bridge was steady. At the time it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world
We got there by metro, got off on the Brooklyn side, therefore we were able to see the entire Manhattan skyline which was incredible when the sun went down. Afterwards the plan was to walk the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan. You’ll see the pictures below.
The view is stunning but be careful with bikes! Cyclists are crazy on the bridge and you need to pay attention to their speed, seriously.
Below you can see two pictures with the view from Brooklyn Bridge by night. Isn’t it stunning?
The highlight of my stay…?
Going to NYC by itself was already the best thing that happened to me travel-wise so far. Many people have been asking me, however, what was the highlight of my stay there?
Well, over the 3 weeks I have spent there, I was being wowed all the time. If I have to choose though, I reached my ‘wow’ peak when I have experienced the panorama from the Empire State Building by night… And I gotta tell you guys, it is something else…
New York by night, from above, with its number of little lights, it is incredible! Each of them means a different person that is up, either working or studying or maybe having friends over. There were many, many people at the viewpoint (FYI it’s open until 2AM). It was dark and quiet, and I just stood there, in awe. Amazed. I might’ve shed a tear tbo that my dream to see New York came true…😉 It cost $44 but was worth it, if you don’t believe me – just look at the photo. I’m telling you though, in real life, it looks MUCH BETTER. You need to see it yourself!
- Empire State in the United States is one of the most recognized symbols of the city
- its name comes from the nickname of NYC – Empire State
- from the 102nd floor, there’s one of the best panorama views you can get. With the good weather- you can see as far as 100km, it’s possible to see other States from there
The opportunity to go there made me realize that the sky is really our limit. If we want something, we should take the opportunities that arise, and just do it. The experiences are so much more valuable than money that we will earn sooner or later. Sounds cliché, but I am extremely happy I went there. It opened my eyes,
I got to meet so many incredible people who were working at the school in NY and I hope I will stay in touch with. Yes KINGS STAFF, I’m talking about you 😊 and all group leaders! I was also very lucky to see my two, old friends Brian and Stella who came to Poland a couple of years ago. It was amazing to see them and I remember that I couldn’t stop smiling afterwards 😊 who would’ve thought we will meet again in New York out of all the places. They introduced me to Korean food and beverage called Soju which was yuuuum! Thanks!
I hope you will also have a chance to see this fantastic city and take these and many more pictures by yourselves!
Would you like me to sum up the impression I got from the city? New York City is incredible, full of diversity which amazed me❤️ I love places like that! People with different skin colour, background, and outfits. We can’t escape from that nowadays. We should embrace it, learn from others and respect the differences because at the end of the day… We are all the same 🙂 I think I could live there. Maybe not forever but definitely for a little while!
Travel guys. Dream and explore. We only live once.
I will leave you with a quote that was with me throughout my stay in the States:
“Live for the moments, because everything else is uncertain“
Going to NYC & need more info
about the places I’ve mentioned?
Check out these websites for information about tickets and many more:
Empire State Building: https://www.esbnyc.com/
The Top of The Rock: https://www.rockefellercenter.com/attractions/top-of-the-rock-observation-deck/
High Line Park: https://www.thehighline.org/
Central Park: http://www.centralparknyc.org/
Six Flags: https://www.sixflags.com/
The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: https://www.statuecruises.com/
PS: If you’d like to travel somewhere closer and don’t know where, check out my post about Malaga in Spain, where I’ve lived for 4 months! 😊
Leave a comment if you liked the post or if you have some questions 🙂
Thank you for all the support!❤️