STOP 5 : Empire State Building
After a lovely coffee break at Bryant Park, we made our way to our next stop – The Empire State Building.
Here’s a quick travel tip. Book your visit in advance so that you can skip the queues and use one of the many city passes like the New York Pass, City Pass or NYCGO for discounted rates. If you are planning to stay in the city for a while and hit a lot of the main attractions, these can save you quite a bit of money. Do check them out before your visit to New York.
I could regale you with facts about how the ESB was once the world’s tallest building until it was overtaken by the WTC. About how it is a cultural icon and admired for its distinctive art deco style. About how the building has succeeded remarkably in going green. About how from the 86th floor observatory, miles and miles of skyscrapers lay spread out at your feet in every direction. Instead, I will just let the pictures do the talking.
STOP 6 : Times Square
Our next stop was the world renowned Times Square. The place was everything I had ever imagined it would be and more. The masses of people, the noisy buzz of excited conversations, the blinding lights of giant billboards, Free-Palestine demonstrations out on the street, photo ops with models clad only in body paint and feathers…
It was raucous.
It was pulsing.
It was unapologetic, in-your-face, take-me-as-I-am New York.
It was so ALIVE!
Times Square is one of those places that defy description. You will either love it or hate it. But somehow in the midst of that cacophony of life, that spinning blur of lights and sounds, just stand still and let New York work its magic.
STOP 7 : Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds was an attraction that we really had second thoughts about. To be honest I’ve always found the concept rather kitschy and if I was ever going to visit one I would have liked it to be the one in London. But apparently I have a tendency to get swept away by the moment. Besides we had time to kill so we ducked in for a look see.
Here is where I insert a quick tip. Make sure to purchase your tickets online or use one of the passes mentioned above. The additional $10 or so you wind up paying for at-the-counter tickets is a complete rip off in my opinion.
The museum itself is well laid out. You start your visit at the very top floor and work your way down to ground level. Wax figures range from movies and TV to music to sports to superheroes. There is something here for everyone. While some of the models look distinctly fake, others will have you reaching out in wonder to touch their life-like skin.
We even squeezed in one of the 4D short films. Exciting enough but make sure to put away cameras/cell phones unless you want them repeatedly sprayed with water jets.
After a lot of cheesy posing with wax models we had our dinner and headed back to our hotel to rest up for our second day in the Big Apple.