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Report 1357: Manhattan - The Ebb and Flow of its Energy, Flavor and Language - POSTCARD
By Tina in Nashville from Tennessee, Summer 2007
Trip Description: Absorbing New York City and its many characteristics
Destinations: Countries - North America; Regions/Cities - New York City
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Foodie Trip; Independent Travel; 3-4 people
Page 1 of 1: Learning the Language of New York City
Navigation ... that is the key to all happiness when visiting NYC and its surrounding burrows. Upon immediate arrival at JFK International Airport, one becomes keenly aware of the necessity to know the exact direction and location of your destination. Taking the AirTrain was a piece of cake if you plan to use the subway system, just make sure you know which direction you are headed in or you could end up riding the subways for hours (weekly pass $24). I would recommend first-time travelers to the city to hire a car to pick them up and bring them to the hotel, as this will ensure your arrival to the part of town in which you intend to stay (about $70 one way).
Staying in Manhattan is a choice for those who desire to be close to museums, restaurants and shopping. However, this is not a "walking" section of town. The city blocks are designated by buildings, in the shape of a rectangle, so, for instance if you were to walk one block, north to south, the short side of the rectangle(building) would take less time than the west to east side of the rectangle(building). So, taking a cab is a lot more efficient on time and your feet ($2.50 starting price for a cab and most rides of 5-10 blocks are about $10). Or you could take the subway, which is quite a better bargain.
Every subway entrance has green or red round ball lights at the entrance. The red balls indicate that there is not an attendant at this sub stop and if the balls are lit, then the sub stop is not in operation. The green balls indicate that an attendant is on duty and if the balls are lit, then it is not open for operation.
Finding a hotel near Central Park is a real treat and worth every penny. Walking to the park and people watching is quite an entertaining adventure - mind that you go during the day to be safe. Speaking of safe, the city provides a definite presence of police walking on streets and in the subways. In addition, I found the people to be busy, busy, busy, but extremely friendly - I even had a young college student help me lift my suitcase up the stairs from the subway (there are elevators as well).
I found several restaurants that were charming and filled with local flavor as well as delicious cuisine. Rue 57 is especially good for drinks and sushi. Tratorria dell Arte provides exquisite, authentic Italian food with a flare for enormous plaster art. Most of Greenwich Village is lined up around the corner til 1am for the infamous cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street - light and fluffy and very yummy with a tall glass of milk. For contemporary ambiance, with an Asian/Latin pallet, Asia de Cuba is filled with masterful dishes blending all the best ingredients from Cuba and the Orient while encouraging a lively atmosphere with the 50-foot long communal table - exquisite!
Visiting the city's museums can best be described as a complete visceral experience. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is filled with Renaissance architecture, Neoclassicism sculptures, Romanticism paintings and even original Egyptian burial tombs. It simply must be experienced for a full comprehension of the magnificence gathered in one place. And yet the Guggenheim Museum stands out as the premier location for experiencing master pieces from Contemporary legends such as Picasso and Rembrandt to Italian Divisionist, Boccioni. There are also several floors dedicated to Modern Art with every imaginable means of expression available for viewing.
As with many cities, a trip to New York cannot be completed in one or two weeks. Try to plan ahead and know something of how you want to best experience it. Tourists are all over Manhattan, so if you want a community experience, try looking for a boutique hotel in the West or East Village, Greenwich, Soho, Noho or even Brooklyn.
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