New York, NY (Oct 23/18) – Traveling in the USA has not been top of mind for most Canadians considering the ongoing political shenanigans down south (agent-orange-in-chief), but if you were to venture below the 49th parallel… New York City is one of those places that you should visit. It feels like a different country, one where liberal values are alive & well, where you feel welcome (still) no matter what your skin colour, your authenticity, your birthplace.
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N&J’s journey started at YVR (Vancouver’s airport) where N surprised J with a treat, no longer to be ‘imprisoned’ at the back of the plane. J got his first experience in first class travel, to be pampered like a ‘somebody’. WHOA!!! What a blast to be seated in a pod with all the the comforts afforded by modern air travel… J can never go back to economy, N you have created a monster.
Flying into Newark, New Jersey airport made it possible to traverse to NYC via train service in under 45 minutes (rather than the costly methods at the other NYC airports). Arrived deep underground at Penn Station (under Madison Square Garden) in NYC, only to emerge into bright sunshine & a city teaming with human interaction, hustle & bustle. We walked the 8-10 blocks to our hotel (The Kitano) on Park Avenue, 3 blocks south of Grand Central Terminal, a great way to start our NYC visit.
New York City is a walking town, driving is out of the question. The NY subway system is ancient, but very effective. The first full day had N&J taking the subway to the southern tip of Manhattan, exiting at Battery Park where you can see the Statue of Liberty across the river. It was from there they walked north through Wall Street, the 911 site, SOHO, Chelsea, etc… so much history, so much to see.
The Highline is one must-see attraction for anyone who goes to NYC. Perched atop a 100+ year old elevated (3-4 stories high) railway line that wound its way through the city to once deliver goods & materials to the countless factories & business that dotted the city way back when. It has been transformed into a linear park, where people can walk among the gardens & trees above the craziness of the streets below. You pass by the old brick buildings of yesteryear (now condos & lofts) & modern skyscrapers, a blend of old & new.
N&J had a few must-do activities while in NYC… going to some Broadway shows was an obvious choice. ‘Come From Away‘ the story about the human heroes of Gander, Newfoundland during the 911 attacks was incredible. It felt very proud as Canadians of their eastern counterparts, it was an amazing performance. Also took in the ‘The Lion King’, a musical delight, the performance was spot-on, the production a total feast for the senses.
The real reason they came to NYC was to see Elton John at Madison Square Garden. N had secured tickets 6-8 months previously. But these definitely were not your average tix, they were row 2, on the floor… 10 feet away from Sir Elton (flying first class, now this!!!). J being a long time EJ fan was not disappointed, the concert was fantastic, the sound perfect, the visuals to die for…. the stroll back to their hotel was filled with giddiness & energy fueled by such an over-the-top experience.
N&J’s 8 day visit to NYC was filled with experiences usually only seen in a movie or a TV show from afar. Central Park (the John Lennon memorial), Carnegie Hall (NY Symphony Pops concert), Times Square, 5th Avenue, Macy’s, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Circle Manhattan boat tour…. so much to see, so little time.
…N&J would not want to live here, but to visit is an experience not to be missed.