Exactly two years ago, I hopped a Megabus to visit NYC for the first time. It took me over 22 years to visit The Big Apple, but it was well worth the wait — and I’ve since returned a few times, having made the eight-hour journey five times in the past two years. (That doesn’t include a bus layover in NYC on the way back from DC, either.)
Each visit, I’ve tried to see at least one new thing; I know there are a great variety of things to do and see in NYC, and though I haven’t been since September 2014, I know I’ll return someday soon. Either way, I’ll always cherish some of the best memories I have from my NYC trips of the past.
Today, I thought it’d be neat to look back at some of my past NYC trips and pick out five of my best memories from those great adventures:
To date, I’ve now seen three Broadway musicals in New York City: Jersey Boys, Matilda: the Musical and Phantom of the Opera. Each has been absolutely incredible, but I have no doubt that seeing Jersey Boys on Broadway is an experience I’ll never forget. I’d seen the musical twice before when it toured here in Buffalo, but seeing it at the August Wilson Theatre, from the orchestra section, just a few rows back from the stage….. oh, what a night. The best part about it was that it wasn’t part of my plan heading into the trip, but I managed to score buy-one, get-one tickets from the TKTS booth in Times Square and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
I’ve never been to the top of the Empire State Building, but many of the tour guides suggest visiting the Top of the Rock instead. I thought it was well-worth the money and time spent — what a view! When I visited, it was mid-afternoon in February (though thankfully, not too cold). I think my favorite memory of this was seeing Central Park from above — you can really appreciate just how vast a greenspace it is from that angle. But it also offers a generally incredible view of Manhattan and beyond; even visible in the distance is One World Trade Center.
Perhaps one of my favorite memories is getting to see Manhattan by boat, via the Staten Island Ferry. Sure, you can pay upwards of $20 for a fancy guided tour boat, but if you’re trying to save a little money or get a different perspective, try the ferry. It’s free and goes between the lower tip of Manhattan (accessible by MTA Subway) and Staten Island. If you just want the boat view, simply get right back on the next ferry back to Manhattan; otherwise, you’re welcome to explore Staten Island if that interests you. Either way, the view of Manhattan as you look back was a breathtaking one for me; the ferry also passes by the Statue of Liberty, which was absolutely an amazing site. You see these things on TV, etc., but seeing them in person is an epiphany of “Wow, that really exists!”
This may not be a best memory for everyone, but I’ll be darned if visiting one of the world’s oldest arenas wasn’t an incredible experience. For those who don’t know, I’m a big hockey fan, and it’s on my bucket list to catch a game at all 30 NHL barns. In April 2014, I checked MSG off the list as the New York Rangers faced the Ottawa Senators. It was incredible to be in such a historic arena, though with the new renovations, you can hardly tell its age at all. The sheer history of the arena and the concerts and other events that have occurred there is enough to knock you off your feet.
It took me a few visits to NYC to experience – I mean, really experience – Central Park, but it was absolutely worth it. From a quick visit at dusk in February 2014 to more detailed, daytime visits after that, I still haven’t seen everything Central Park has to offer, but I’m sure I can cover more and more ground each time. It’s just incredible to me that NYC, the bustling city filled with sky-high skyscrapers, over 8 million people, crazy taxi drivers, etc., can hold such a vibrant greenspace in its very midst. The stark contrast between the businessmen and hustle and bustle around the park, and the peacefulness inside it, was flooring. It’s also great to see the wide variety of people in the park, from dogwalkers to athletes, celebrities to families; and activities from yoga, concerts, marathons, meetings, casual walks and more. Central Park is absolutely a gem — and I can’t wait to go back.
What are your favorite things to do in NYC? Favorite memories? Feel free to share – I’d love to hear them.