Last year on our way to Canada we decided to stop by in New Jersey for a couple of days. Sergio’s family lives there, and although we were going to meet everybody in Canada, we thought it would be nice to make a quick stop in the US, too. Of course we also enjoyed the opportunity to spend one day in the New York City.
New York is huge, and it’s impossible to visit all of its iconic spots on a single day, but luckily we’ve already been there several times (and I still have so many photographs from my previous travels which I hope to show you someday), and therefore did not necessarily have to run from one sight to another in order to catch ‘em all.
This time, there were two major things on our list. Firstly, I wanted to see the city from above and, secondly, I wanted to visit Brooklyn. These two experiences were still missing on my New York bucket list. Oh, well, I’ve actually been to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn before, but that’s a whole different story (and a very different Brooklyn).
To get to the city we took the NJ Transit to Penn Station, which is conveniently located in Manhattan and is a good starting point for city explorations. Not far from the station there is a huge camera shop B&H Photo and Video. As a hobby photographer I love such shops, so we decided to make a quick stop there as well. Testing the latest camera models and lenses was great fun.
Empire State Building Observatory
Then we went straight to the Empire State Building. Visiting its observation deck to see the city from above was the first item on our list. On our previous visits we deliberately avoided going there not to lose precious time waiting in line. However, on that day we got lucky and almost did not have to wait, probably due to the fact that we chose not the most popular time of day. Of course it would have been nicer to take photos in sunset light, but, again, we only had a single day this time.
Despite the non-photogenic light we were still able to enjoy the view. I attached a tele-zoom to my camera, and was having fun looking for familiar buildings. Some of them I remembered from my previous visits, while others I have seen so many times in various movies.
Lunch in Koreatown
After our visit to the Empire State Building, we thought it was time for lunch. We headed straight to Koreatown, where we resisted the temptation to go to Turntable, an amazing chicken wings place. We just wanted to discover something new.
At random we picked a Korean place which seemed appealing. The restaurant was called Black by Dons Bogam, and as I have recently learned, unfortunately it no longer exists. Our lunch there was by all means memorable. The fun part was that in addition to our shared meal for two we got something which looked like a harvest of one whole greenhouse. There was a whole bucket of salad, some veggie sticks and extremely hot chillis. Fortunately enough, we’ve already been to Korea and did not need an explanation of what is the right way to approach this meal.
— This chilli does not seem to be very hot, — me after taking a small bite.
— No, indeed, not hot at all.
— Ok, — biting a larger chunk.
— …, — doing the same.
Somehow the reaction was delayed, and, believe me, it was pure fire. It was rather painful, but we still had a good laugh afterwards.
Walking through Manhattan
After the lunch we decided to walk along already familiar streets in Manhattan. We walked towards the Flatiron Building to look at it at a different perspective. I find this building really beautiful. Incredible that it was built already in 1902!
I got a coffee to go from some coffee selling truck and we continued our walk.
The rooftop water towers are a constant on the New York City skyline and a part of the city’s infrastructure. As buildings grew taller than six stories, the main water infrastructure couldn’t handle the water pressure. So, such water towers were needed to move water safely to upper floors. They are in use even nowadays.
We walked all the way towards Nolita, a hip neighbourhood which got its name as a derivation from ‘North of Little Italy’.
We noticed the first hints of sunset. It was a sign for us that we should hurry up, if we wanted to see Brooklyn before it gets dark.
We decided to take subway and went to Essex Station. While we were purchasing our tickets, the ticket machine would not accept our credit card at first. Some young guy, who was just passing by, asked us whether we needed help and even offered to buy us the tickets. It was so kind of him! Luckily, no help was needed, because our second card got accepted.
Sunset in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The place I specifically wanted to see in Brooklyn this time was Dumbo in Williamsburg. It’s a neighbourhood, which became popular for the spot at Washington Street, from which one can see the Manhattan Bridge with the Empire State Building beneath.
Oh, well, I guess it was too optimistic of me to hope to take a picture of that place in sunset light as I imagined it — with empty streets and brick walls framing the scene. Haha, my personal ‘expectation vs reality’ moment.
Anyway, the place is pretty indeed! Even with all those crowds…
We really liked the vibe of this area. On our way back we were passing by a place called The Archway. A live band was playing there, and people had fun. We hanged around for a while before heading back to Penn Station.
At the station, we bought our tickets to the NJ Transit and spent the remaining time before the train buying Magnolia bakery cupcakes. The cupcakes turned out to be pure joy, and now I can tell they are absolutely worth the hype.
Photos taken in August 2019