4 Days in NYC – November 2015 – Day 2

… continuation from Day 1

Day 2 : Friday

We wanted to start the day off as soon as possible to make the most of our stay. We got up at 8 am and had breakfast at the Comfort Inn hotel, which was far from great so we decided to go someplace else the following days.

Chelsea Neighborhood

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We decided to explore the Chelsea neighborhood around our hotel. Across from our hotel is the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava. The church building was constructed in 1850-55 and was designed by noted architect Richard Upjohn in English Gothic Revival style. It used to be part of the Trinity Church complex one of three other churches in Manhattan and was then sold to the Serbian parish.

As we walked through Chelsea I took a few shots of the typical New York brick houses with their metal staircases.

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We walked to Madison Square which is named for James Madison, fourth President of the United States. The square has a 6.2 acre park complete with a fountain and metal canopy as can be seen in the pictures bellow.

The square is best known in the world for giving its name to the Madison Square Garden a sports and concert arena but that isn’t located next to it at all. Talk about confusing!

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The most notable building around the square is the Flatiron Building. I love its triangular shape. It was a groundbreaking skyscraper in its time as it was one of the tallest buildings in NYC upon completion in 1902 with 22 stories. It is a NYC landmark.

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We did a little drugstore shopping on the way, and hit Rite Aid, and CVS for my makeup fix that day 🙂 {check my post out].

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We also stopped at Whole Foods as my friends had never been. They loved this store so much, we purchased our salads there at the salad bar for a little impromptu pick nick in Central Park later on.

Central Park

We entered through the Artisans Gate and had a nice walk through Central park. We were aiming for Museum Mile and the Metz Museum but there are many discovery walks that you can do to discover different parts of Central Park and also the different trees or plants.

Central Park is the most visited urban park and the most featured in movies. It was  opened in 1857 and is now 843 acres (341 ha).

It was quite warm and slightly cloudy but that made it nice weather for walk in the park. It was fun to see all the different ways the park is used : by tourists, such as us of course with the horse carriages for romantic couples or families, for the fitness prone New Yorkers, for the ones walking dogs, and for a some just as a way to take a break from the hum drum of the bustling city. Central Park is gorgeous all year round, but I particularly care for the Fall season which paints the trees in vibrant colors.

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Central Park was designed to  provide many examples of idyllic, naturalistic landscapes. There are 36 bridges in Central Park and no two are alike. There are statues and fountains. The walkways are very diverse with roads for pedestrians, horse back riders and pleasure vehicles. There are lakes and ponds which we walked around. We stopped and admired small boats and mechanical ones sail across the water.

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We sat on a bench for our pick nick and enjoyed the sun peaking through the clouds at just the right time. Did you know there are over  9000 benches in Central Park? As you can see in the picture bellow the bench has a personalized plaque on it. That’s because if you wish to (and have the extra cash – you need $10,000 to endow a bench!) you can adopt a bench.

The Adopt-A-Bench program was established in 1986 as a permanent fund to maintain and endow the care of Central Park’s benches and their surrounding landscapes. To date, more than 4,100 benches have been adopted. In recognition of contributions to the fund, Central Park Conservancy installs a personalized plaque on a park bench of the donor’s choosing.

After eating we headed out of Central Park and onto Museum Mile.

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Museum Mile

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The Museum Mile section of 5th Ave at the Met at 81st Street.

Museum Mile is the name for a section of Fifth Avenue running from 82nd to 105th streets on the Upper East Side. The Mile, which contains one of the densest displays of culture in the world, is actually three blocks longer than one mile (1.6 km). Ten museums occupy the length of this section of Fifth Avenue!

We browsed through book and art stands in front of the Met, and I stared longingly at a NYC hot dog stand, but wasn’t hungry for it !

Met Museum

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The first museum along our way was the Met or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s my favorite New York museum! It’s the largest museum in the USA and among the largest in the world. The permanent collection holds works of art from classical antiquity and Egypt, two of my favorite time periods. It also showcases many paintings and sculptures from European masters as well as a collection of American and modern art. My favorite art form is painting with sculpture a close second. This museum is right up my alley.

The outside is decorated with sculptures and fountains as seen in the pictures bellow.

The Great Hall is truly stunning. It also contains sculptures as a teaser to the permanent exhibits in the Museum.

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Here are some of my favorite art works in the museum :

My favorite part of the museum is the Egyptian temple : the Temple of Dendure that was transported stone for stone and rebuilt in a huge vault like room with windows opening onto Central Park. That wall of windows lends a peculiar quality to the temple as you can partly experience it as if it were outside. It is surrounded by a reflecting pool that perfectly recreates (or as perfectly as possible in a museum :)) its original environment and make it one of the museum’s most famous attractions.

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Just like the Louvre Museum in Paris, you need to go back several times to truly take in all the Met has to offer. The adult ticket is $25 which I find expensive compared to museum prices in France. The Louvre museum for refence is 15€.

Guggenheim

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The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is a museum home to paintings of impressionist, post impressionist, and early modern art. Impressionism is my favorite style of painting. The building the paintings are housed in is as much worth seeing as the art within. It is a classic landmark example of 20th century architecture. This won’t be a universal crowd pleaser as the shapes and volumes might be a little too avant-garde for some. It is a cylindrical building wider at the top than the bottom built by the architect Frank Llyod Wright. Its ramp gallery is truly unique. It extends up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral along the outer edges of the building to end just under the ceiling skylight.

Unfortunately pictures weren’t aloud inside. Ticket prices are the same as the Met which is $25 for an adult.

Neue Gallery

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While my friends visited the Guggenheim museum I had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with my best friend from Kindergarden ! I hadn’t seen her since we were both 7 years old! I moved to France and she moved to Thailand. Thanks to the magic of social media, and Facebook she was able to find me years later. We kept in touch over the years. She came to Europe but didn’t come to France. When planning for this trip I randomly told her I’d be in NYC this weekend and she told me she’d moved back to the States and was currently living in Connecticut, so we decided to meet up !

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She chose the perfect cafe right next to the Guggenheim Museum : the Neue Galerie Cafe which is in the Neue Galerie Museum. We talked for two hours straight and it was just like we kept on with a conservation we left off the day before! It was kind of funny to be adults and discussing childhood memories : remember the toys in your room? and such., or the time we went to Disney Land together.

All good things come to an end and I had to leave her to catch up with my friends who had already left of for the Moma. I didn’t have the time to visit the Museum which is of early 20th century German and Austrian Art. I decided to take a cab to save the hassle of finding my way. Did I tell you I’m ‘geolocationally’ challenged? I have no sense of direction whatsoever, but that doesn’t stop me from traveling ;)!

The MOMA

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The Museum of Modern Art had free tickets handed out on the Friday by the Japanese clothes brand Uniqlo. An opportunity we just couldn’t pass up ! How ever I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to do a full-on day of museums visits ! It’s a little overwhelming after a while. Even though I love art, it can be a bit much. Especially since this visit being free a lot – but I mean A LOT – of people showed up. I think it was filled to capacity and even though the MOMA is a huge 9 story building, it was hard to navigate around the rooms and admire the art because it was so crowded. We decided to just hit the highlights and for us that meant the impressionist art, and the Picasso collection.

There is a beautiful garden at the Moma and nice glass wall. I took a pic upon entering and one once night had fallen. We showed some love in the gift shop too.

My legs were hurting by then I can tell you, I was ready for some nice sitting down time.

But I wasn’t about to get my wish as our visiting wandering time wasn’t over yet.

Grand Central Station

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I’ve been to Grand Central Station a few times already, but my friends really wanted to visit it. This is a very beautiful building. I feel it should be the standard for any train station in the world : they don’t have to be ugly to be functional just like airports which can also be pretty ! (check out my post on the topic).

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The main hall is very beautiful and kept quite clean considering the number of people passing through each day.

There is a mall and a food court. There is even a food market with gourmet food choices that we perused.

All this staring at and or sampling food made us hungry and I decided to introduce my friends to some of the best cheesecakes in NYC : Junior’s.

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The original restaurant was founded in Brooklyn in 1950 but now you can find the delicious cheesecakes in several locations. Their tag line might be slightly exaggerated : “You haven’t really lived until you’ve had cheesecake at Junior’s.” but only slightly haha!

Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse

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After all this museum time, let’s just say Art makes you hungry! It was time for dinner and relaxing. I wanted to go to a steakhouse while in NYC cos I love American steaks – best in the world if you ask me 🙂 but I might be a little biased (Kobe beef is not bad either).

After googling the best NYC steakhouses, we settled on a reasonably priced one not too far from our hotel in Chelsea : Uncle Jack’s. We asked our hotel’s concierge to book our reservation. It’s always safer to do so in NYC.

Perfectly cooked beef plated in “tremendous” portions is the stockintrade of this steakhouse. I loved the “oldschool” looks and warm atmosphere very comfy club like. The staff were very nice and the food delicious. How ever 2 of my friends embarrassed me by ordering salads! Who goes to a steakhouse to eat a salad! I’m only partly kidding since one of them is a vegetarian so he was actually being a good sport just being there :)!

That left only one friend who shared the 42 oz steak with me. At Uncle Jack’s they believe in that aging beef is as important as aging a fine wine. They knew just what to say to suck us in – hello we’re French! They serve USDA prime beef dry-aged 28 to 35 days. I can testify that it really shows on your taste buds. My friend and I chose the Boneless NY Strip served in its own juices at $55 for 42 oz. You definitely need to be two to eat that monster ! We ordered sides of baked potatoes and mushrooms along with a nice glass of red wine. We are French after all and can’t eat a nice meal without wine, it’s just not done!

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We couldn’t have eaten another bite, so no desert for us, especially since you could consider we ate it prior to having dinner at Grand Central Station.

Staten Island Ferry

After such a great dinner, we wanted to take a breath of fresh air and took the subway to take the Staten Island Ferry. It’s really cool to have free ferry transportation to and from Staten Island. We wanted to catch the skyline view at night time. We also wanted to see the Statue of Liberty.

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We arrived at the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall terminal at the southernmost tip of Manhattan around 11:15 pm. The Ferry service is 24/7 and usually runs every 30 minutes. We only had 15 minutes to wait for the next departure. Quite a lot of people were there waiting.

We got on board and immediately headed outside on the front deck to have the best view and take pictures. As soon as the ferry took off, I regretted not bringing my jacket. Hadn’t needed it at all for the whole day, but it sure was cold out on the water! However the view was well worth a frozen butt :)!

Taking pictures with my iphone 6 wasn’t easy as it isn’t the best of cameras for night time view pics and that decreases if you aren’t perfectly still. An impossible feat when on a ferry ! I didn’t manage to get any good pics of the Statue of Liberty. It always boggles my mind how well made the human eye is ! It works so much better than most cameras !

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The only downside to this Ferry ride (apart from the cold) was the fact that due to regulations, you have to exit the Ferry to get back on it again for the return trip. I wish you could just stay on it for the entire time.

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All in all, it was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone. The night was clear and starry which was a definite plus over a cloudy afternoon sky with low visibility.

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When we finally got back to Manhattan, the subway stopped working so we had to cab it back to the hotel. We were lucky and found one right away. At thirty minutes past midnight, I was ready for my beauty sleep !

to be continued… Day 3

What are your favorite museums in NYC?

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22 thoughts on “4 Days in NYC – November 2015 – Day 2

  1. Such lovely pictures. One of the trends I hope many of the museums in NYC will follow is getting a 2-day pass with the price of admission instead of one. I love MoMA, but it just too much of a museum to consume in one day (IMO).

    I love the Flatiron building. Such cool architecture and functionality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much for your kind comment. I definitley would agree with you, a 2 day pass would be needed. The MoMa and even the Met are very large and if you want to see everything and enjoy yourself you need to take the time. Which country do you live in?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes we have that in Paris. I’d love to go to Louisiana, such a gorgeous state! I was born in Vegas and didn’t get to explore that state. I know the east coast and the west coast a little more.

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  2. It’s fun to hear how a tourist sees my city 🙂
    A tip for your next trip- $25 is a very expensive ticket price, but at the Met it’s actually only a suggestion! You can pay whatever you like. The Guggenheim also has pay-what-you-wish hours on Saturday evenings.

    Liked by 1 person

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