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Visiting New York City for the First Time

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This article was originally published in the Emersons Green Voice newspaper and sister publications (July 2018 editions).

New York City seems to always wind its way onto bucket lists, and having ventured there earlier this year with my fiancé, it’s easy to understand why. Today, I’d like to share a few thoughts on visiting New York City for the first time.

For us, New York was a spontaneous trip as we’d spotted some great flight deals via the mailing list, Scott’s Cheap Flights. And it’s a trip I’m glad we took the time to do.

On our first day, we jumped at the chance to wander through Central Park, which saw us find Bethesda Terrace and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When walking beneath Bethesda Terrace, we looked up and were amazed by the art deco tiled ceiling! As for the MET, we knew it was a very large museum and impossible to see in one day, so we scouted out the exhibits we were most interested in seeing. My top recommendations are the Egyptian and Asian exhibits.

Asian Exhibit at the MET

Over the next couple of days, we walked the length of Brooklyn Bridge and found a talented local artist selling prints for as little as $10, we took the free Staten Island Ferry in order to catch a closer glimpse of The Statue of Liberty, we paid our respects at the 9/11 Memorial, and ventured to the ‘Top of the Rock’ in order to see the city lights from above.

The 9/11 Memorial was a very humbling experience. When we visited, the rain was pouring down, and we spotted single white roses next to some of the names. We later found out that these are placed there to signify a victim’s birthday. When there, we completely forgot our surroundings, tuned out the noises of traffic and sirens, and simply spent a few minutes deep in thought.

White roses at the 9:11 Memorial

Following that, we felt like we needed to spend a bit of time seeing New York’s “lighter” side, by which I mean the bright lights of Times Square and the Gulliver’s Gate museum, which allowed us to “travel the world in one day” via its miniature models (now closed).

We walked the length of the High Line within these few days as well. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s basically an old railway that was used to transport goods throughout the city, but it’s now a charming public park suspended 30 feet off the ground. It was at the end of this walkway that we spotted the most incredible New York sunset, silhouetting the skyline and reflecting everything in the Hudson River.

High Line Sunset

It seems strange to think that a city that is so busy, so famed for being ‘the city that never sleeps’, is one that can offer lots of moments of quiet contemplation and space to think. So if there’s just one thing I can takeaway from this trip, it would be this: New York City might be ‘the city that never sleeps’, yet it is also ‘the city that keeps you thinking’.

Visiting New York City for the First Time

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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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