Apple Chronicles: New York City

I first grew aware of New York City when I was little, when I saw a poster of the city with its towering skyscrapers.  Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by this city and dreamt of being there.  Now, decades later, I’m finally realizing that dream!  Hello, NYC!

Hello, New York City!

This is part of a series

I told myself that when one day I get to NYC with my own money, I’d consider that as an “accomplishment.”  Back then, even riding a plane was so far-fetched, let alone coming to the USA as I’ve heard stories of the difficulties in securing a visa.  But I guess I’m really destined to see this city and been lucky with how my career decisions turned out as one by one, each piece arrived, eventually leading to this day that I’m finally flying into NYC with my own personal money.  Although I did get some boost as I’m flying from California.

It took a while for me to get this part of my journey to the US last fall chronicled because I seriously didn’t know where to start.  It’s my longest personal trip outside the Philippines, and I did get to explore a lot, not only of the city, but New York state as well and its neighboring areas.  But before I embark on another adventure this year, this account should be written and preserved for posterity’s sake.

The unfortunate events that happened coming into the city was quickly forgotten when our plane approached from an excellent vantage point allowing me to see the majority of NYC and the entirety of Manhattan before landing.  I wasn’t expecting to see so much of the city so soon that I wasn’t able to prepare my camera for taking pictures, but luckily my cellphone shot came out decent.  From the air, I was able to see Liberty, World Trace Center, the bridges connecting Manhattan to the rest of New York, and of course Central Park.  Shortly after, I landed in John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport.

My first NYC subway experience.

After heading to my home for the next week and a half, my first NYC experience would be the subway.  The NYC Subway would play a vital role in this trip as it’s the most practical way of getting in, through, and out of the city.  For now, our first destination is 5th Avenue, considered as one of the most expensive and elegant streets in the world.

Walking at the very busy 5th Ave.

Walking on the sidewalks of 5th Ave. made me feel that I really am now in New York City.  The towering skyscrapers left and right, the people of all ethnic diversities, the chilly wind, and the steaming man holes—it’s like in a scene from a Hollywood movie!  But as I was quick to learn, New Yorkers need to move quick so you better walk fast or get out of the way.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Along the way, we came across St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  It is a very elegant structure and on its own, it’s really huge but it is dwarfed by its neighbors, reducing its visual prominence.  We got in of course, and it’s a perfect opportunity for me to give thanks for a wonderful trip so far.

Inside the Cathedral.
A closer view of the altar.

Like in most structures of similar size, St. Patrick’s Cathedral made me feel so small with its very high ceiling.  It’s also very ornate so it’s also a feast for the eyes.  But what I liked the most about this Cathedral is that it feels very open and accommodating to everyone, much like the churches here in the Philippines.  No “suggested donation” when you come in.

After doing my prayers, I circled the altar and took photos from behind it, before finally heading out.

Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral (via Google Maps).

Right across the Cathedral is the Rockefeller Center.  Again, how many movies have I seen using this location?  We came closer and saw that they had made an outdoor ice skating rink in front of it.  The weather was already hovering around freezing at that time as fall was about to end, so I guess it doesn’t take that much energy to keep the rink frozen.

Rockefeller Center.
One of those few times that I thought on having a selfie.

We then headed on for some more sightseeing…

That is the world’s largest Macy’s store.
The omnipresent Empire State building… you can see it from just about anywhere in NYC.

I admit, I don’t really know much where everything falls into place in NYC so when from a distance I thought I saw a glimpse of Times Square, I got really excited!  My visit to NYC would definitely be not complete without a picture from Times Square!

Times Square.
My first photo at Times Square!  That’s one item off my bucket list.

Times Square is just ridiculously busy!  There are so many people here and most of them are tourists coming from all over America and the world!  You can see all sorts of people here, including all sorts of enterprising folks that finds creative ways to earn from the tourists.  It is an excellent spot for people watching as people come and go.  And with all the flashing billboards that surround you, you feel like you are right in the center of capitalism!

Looking at the other end of Times Square to give you an idea how busy it is.

360° view of Times Square (via Google Maps).

All that walking sure made us hungry, and for my first meal in NYC, we dropped by Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery just around Times Square.  They are famous for their cheesecakes but we also had other items from their offerings.

I don’t recall exactly what this is called but I think this is their chopped steak.
I believe this is their baby back ribs.

As expected, food servings are huge.  My food doesn’t exactly look that appetizing but it’s actually very tasty.  Since I’ve been in the US for a few weeks already, my appetite had grown accordingly to the portions, but NYC prices are a bit difficult to swallow.

But I can definitely guarantee that this is their cheesecake!

After some more sightseeing and photo-taking, we went to Grand Central Terminal to again board the subway.  One of our last stops for the day is the World Trade Center.

Inside the Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Terminal is really grand and you can easily get lost in it if you don’t pay attention!  There are so many people heading everywhere!  I’ve never experienced anything like it before and we don’t have anything in the Philippines that come close to this.  What I especially liked about the Grand Central Terminal (aside from its beautiful details) is its ceiling that depicts the constellations.

Inside the Grand Central Terminal (via Google Maps).

It wasn’t that late but due to the time of the year, it was already dark when we got to the World Trade Center.

My blurry shot of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest in the world.
This is one of the more solemn part of my trip thus far. People needlessly lost their lives in this spot, and my prayers goes to them and their families.

360° view of the area (via Google Maps).

This is the “survivor tree.”  Despite all the destruction around it, it survived the 9/11 attacks—a living symbol of resilience.
A glimpse of the interior of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Inside the Oculus, one of the most intricate modern buildings I’ve seen.

We’re back in the subway for one last stop, one of NYC’s icons, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Rush hour at the subway.
Walking on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Looking back at Manhattan.

Looking back, I realized that we did quite a lot on my first day in NYC!  It’s no wonder I was so tired when we got to the Brooklyn Bridge that I didn’t have the urge to walk all the way across (and back)!  We only managed to walk midway into the bridge, have a quick appreciation of the skyline of NYC, and walk back to the subway to get home.

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