The Phantom of Liberty

April 1, 2019

The rain greeted us upon our arrival, so we quickly took cover in Domino’s Pizza that was right across the street!

We are satisfied thinking that you are buying from the biggest pizza chain of the planet, you should expect a sort of industrial product. The staff is nice and friendly. The pizza was okay nothing to complain. But, there are a lot of better places to get your pizza. With the literally thousands of pizza stores available in New York, Dominos does not stand of strong legs. But if you’re very hungry, it is a decent choice given the time for collection after ordering. I personally found the pizza quite greasy though.

Next stop to the World Trade Centre!

This is a great memorial of the 9/11. Fantastically designed to remember those who lost their lives on a day we will never forget! Respect this place and remember those who cannot be here due to such a tragic event!

The whole experience from the walk there to the movie to the displays and the pools is impossible to forget. Very somber, moving and makes our memories even more vivid, and I wish it had never happened, but at least their is a memorial to those who died.

I also took the time to read most of the names on the granite markers surrounding the waterfall feature. To think of the horror, unexplainable and terrifying circumstances these men and women experienced, not to mention the inability to contact loved ones to say their last words, left me feeling more than just a sadness and grief. Do take this in. Show your children and talk to them about empathy towards the grieving ones left behind. It is also a reminder of the many lives lost, both in the two towers, but also the First Responders that also lost lives and have become ill due to the smoke.

From the World Trade Centre, you could walk to Wall Street. It is nice to combine with the rest of the financial district or start with walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

This is famous New York City landmark and it is always a popular site for tourists. It is nice to see in real instead of only on TV or in movies. However, it is one of the busiest places in New York so embrace yourself for walking slowly and in crowded places. If you don’t want that, go early before working time or in the evening. It’s almost a ghost town then.

Alternatively, you could visit Wall Street on a Sunday morning, since the street would be rather empty so walking around would be quite a nice experience. You could enjoy the slow pace. The time we went here was when it was a busy weekday and total chaos all around with thunder and rain accompanying us along the way.

Generally, the area is nice, some streets are blocked and are narrow. I guess the most photographed thing is the raging bull and the giant U.S. flag on Wall Street. It is better to wear comfortable shoes and enjoy being in this iconic place!

Located near Wall Street the bronze bull is a huge tourist draw. The Charging Bull is a bronze larger than life sculpture of exactly what you’d guess. It’s been around since 1989, but don’t look for it on Wall Street, it can be found on Broadway at Bowling Green, a couple of blocks south of Wall Street. Featured in several movies, it presents a perfect photo opportunity, although you may have to wait as so many people appear determined to take a photo under the bull and between its back legs. If you’re on full tourist mode and in downtown Manhattan, while the line may be long, you are still able to take photos by or even on the bull itself.

The bull is actually larger in size than you see in photos so you can take it from the front or lots of people were taking it from the rear with the bull’s large testicles clearly in view. Kind of a joke but perhaps a little too life like. I believe it is worth a stop and a quick photo.

When you see the charging bull, the first thing that strikes you is that this statue is in a little paved area with a road either side and when we visited, it was awash with people having funny selfies. It was quite amusing watching normal folk having normal selfies at the front and then seeing them have loony selfies at the rear whilst cupping it’s balls! Also, remember to walk, don’t drive there as there is no parking anywhere close.

Time Square is a famous tourist attraction in New York city especially in the evenings where many skyscrapers displays with a digital sign boards. Everywhere full of lighting and a nearby Broadway theatre is an added attraction. Overall It’s a amazing experience walking through the streets of Times square center.

This is an intersection point, albeit, of famous NYC streets. Walking through Times Square, I heard many different languages and saw people from my different countries. On any one day, likely people from over 100 countries walk through this ever busy and likely the world’s most well-known public square. Skyscrapers can be seen in every direction. Other than in the early morning hours when the streets and area are being cleaned and made ready for the coming daylight, there is a constant hustle and bustle of city dwellers and sightseers. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station [Terminal], Central Park, the Theater District, and much more, are all within an easy walking distance. Times Square is everything you imagine it to be.

I think it is the most lively place on earth, the lights, the people, the entertainment, it was all amazing to see. NYC never sleeps and there is fun for everyone. Stores are opened until midnight and restaurants are always opened. Really enjoyed going to times square, especially at night time! The screens and lights everywhere are a great sight to see and a must when in Manhattan. Street performers are entertaining and some great art for sale on the stalls around it. It is extremely crowded but still manage to get all the photos and views you want. A lot of great bars and restaurants around it which weren’t as pricey as I was expecting.

Bright lights in a busy square. Hustle & bustle of tourists, men trying to flog blank cds and dressed in cartoon characters costumes trying to have there photo taken with them & then you start paying the one you had your photo taken with, then all the the other characters on the square come towards you with their hands out. I saw one lady emptying her entire purse. So be warned.

Last stop of the day, to Newport Centre!

I realised people normally used the shopping mall as a transit walkway from hotels to the Newport PATH station. The mall is only open generally from 10AM-9:30PM.

Before, the mall did not have a sit-down, table-service restaurant. Now it has fewer typical food court vendors but it has several table service offerings. It’s amazing how much it has grown and how classy it is. In addition to the PATH station that was always across the street, there is now a light rail station right on the property.

This mall is not too small and not too big in my mind! There are the huge department stores like Macy‘s or Kohl‘s, but also stores like G-Star, which is one of my favorite brands, or Hollister and many many more. As in almost every mall in the U.S., there are a lot of dining options.

So we sat down in a restaurant in the Newport Centre, that is the famous The Cheesecake Factory!

You can sit somewhere and browse through a very elaborate menu. We got our seats, and ordered green salad and chicken soup. Yummy! The steak/chicken madera combo was great! We were not disappointed with the taste of each dish. All ingredients were tasty, full of flavour and fresh. Lemonade and chocolate shake to drink. And cheesecake with banana cream to polish the meal off. Tasty grub, wholesome and American. Quick service. Great taste. If you are in the vicinity do go there. Highly recommended.

Staff here are super friendly, helped with all our questions about the food we had which was amazing. The waiter that served us was attentive and friendly. The only small criticism I have is that he came over a bit too often when we were still deciding our meals. Also, I would recommend popping in for an afternoon treat.

Early in the morning, we visited Chick-Fil-A. Stopped in for a quick lunch and as with other locations, felt at home right away. Very crowded but still food came out very quickly and no mistakes in our order. If you’re looking for a quick tasty meal before seeing a Broadway show, this is the place. Despite it being crowded we found a seat for all 4 of us right away. Food tasted great too! Perfect for a quick budget meal in the city.

It lives up to the hype, the chicken sandwiches are great. So too are the shakes! The staff are the friendliest in all of New York city. They treat you like a family member and are friendly from the moment you walk in to the moment you leave. I wish I could name individual team members here but everyone I encountered was good and went above and beyond. They were very organized when the crowds were there and were very conscientious about getting orders correct. I’ve also heard that there’s an app for mobile ordering and it lets you skip the line which can be long at times.

This location is like all chick’s clean- fast and the food is what you would expect. This one is well organized to handle the crowds. Quality of high standard. Recommended by families and proved to be a good choice for a quick, easy, and inexpensive meal.

I have wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty my whole life and finally made it! I booked in a few days ahead so I wasn’t able to get the Crown tickets. The website only allowed me to purchase a max of 4 tickets at a time and said that was the limit per credit card.

You check in with your printed paperwork inside the circular Clinton Castle in Battery Park then go through security nearby to board the ferry. You pass through airport type security before you get on the boat. You can get great photos on the ferry. The boat ride pulls away and you get a get view of the Manhattan skyline. The boat circles around giving you good view of Lady Liberty. As you disembark the gift shop and cafe are to your front.

We stopped at the National Park office to get the Junior Ranger program booklets. Then we went through security again to get in the pedestal. Unfortunately everything in the museum, including the original torch, was moved over to the new museum building which hasn’t opened yet.

We had tickets to the pedestal. You have to put any bags in lockers. We moved through airport type security again. You can see the museum or head up to the pedestal. Oh and you can look straight up and see the inside. I’m glad we did the pedestal. The views are great and the climb wasn’t bad. Getting up was surprisingly easier than coming down the spiral staircase. We also enjoyed our walk around the statue. We listened to some of the audio tour.

You can hang around for a while or see it quickly and move on to the next stop Ellis Island.

After visiting the Statue of Liberty, you could walk around Battery Park since its just where you disembark. But, there’s not much to see in Battery Park to be honest.

We then visited another park, known as the gem of the city, Central Park!

As everyone knows central park is a must when in New York. Huge park with so much to do. Walking, cycling, listening to street performers, drinking in the boat house and taking some really nice pictures of the scenery all around us. Spent a couple of hours wandering around central park. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the crazy city. Easy to get lost, but if you have nowhere to be, but it doesn’t matter. Highly recommend when in NYC.

This park has so many Yankees and multinationals just visiting, jogging, playing music instruments, surfing boards and singing. It’s a best place to go with kids, stand-alone huge green place in New York. It’s huge! In its naked glory it was still a magnificent place to wander through. A delight to see all the dogs out walking.

We then stopped for the famous New York dessert, Lady M!

We spent an hour walking around the Central Terminal Station to take photos of the painting, the limestone walls, the many little kiosks, and the terminals to all parts of New York. If you look closely in the limestone, there are small fossil remnants. It was such an inspiring place and definitely a hub of the City. Good to watch during rush hour.

This beautiful train station was a great stop. Of course you don’t want to miss the great hall and the beautiful ceiling and clock over the information booth. You must also visit the area at the bottom of the ramps on the way to the dining area. When you whisper in the corner facing the wall the people on the diagonal corner can hear you. The building and all the details are beautiful! There were lots of delicious dining options, great for a lunch stop. The bathrooms were also clean.

If you wish to watch The Phantom of the Opera in Broadway, please do reserve tickets beforehand! This play is the longest running play on Broadway for good reason! It is phenomenal and well worth the time, money, and effort. Seeing Phantom on Broadway should be a bucket list item for all. Amazing voices, amazing stage, amazing music, and just an all around classic. If you can only see one play, this should be it.

This show was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The orchestra were brilliant, costumes were fabulous and staging was breathtaking. The cast were all incredible and it made an amazing experience from start to finish. Do not hesitate if you’re thinking of seeing it. All seats seemed to have a good view so don’t be put off if you can’t get exactly what you want. You will still enjoy the experience.

At night, we visited Applebee’s Grill and Bar. The food here was absolutely amazing from the buffalo wings to the steak the mac and cheese it was a lovely. The staff here were so helpful. The food was amazing and they had outstanding customer service and I can’t wait to go back.

There is a variety of the food and drinks, the restaurant has an awesome decor and atmosphere we really enjoyed. There is also an upstairs area to dine which is also great. Top location right near cinema, Times Square and Ripleys. Reasonably priced. Tip not part of the bill and discretionary. I’ve also heard that the blueberry muffins with maple syrup for breakfast is an excellent choice. Quesadilla with wine for tea, really good.

Early morning, we got some donuts!

Although the Corning Museum of Glass is located quite far away from New York city but I have to say the the museum absolutely blew me away. I never expected to encounter a collection that offers history, science, commerce, homewares, fine art, through the vision of practical and artisan glassmakers in such a dazzling display. Nearly every piece clearly and boldly proclaimed the vision of the maker.

I highly recommend attending the demonstrations, not only are they incredibly informative but they will help you have an appreciation of the works that you see throughout the museum. I attended two of the hot glass demos and they were excellent! I learned so much! I decided to participate in a workshop to make my own tumbler and it was absolutely worth it. I am so happy yo have a wonderful reminder of the experience. Also a bonus, the cafe was quite reasonably priced and the fresh salad was very nice.

So many amazing things about this collection. The architecture of the building is amazing, skylights and huge windows in all areas but the older historical glass collections set off the glass to maximum advantage. The arrangement of rooms designed to allow many people to flow through and see the glass displays from multiple angles. The sight lines through the galleries are tantalizing, just couldn’t wait to visit that next space. I appreciated the way the work was described, one usually larger board explained, in interesting narrative, about the history or innovation of the genre (paperweights for example, or Tiffany glass) and credited the primary innovators and artists. Then the individual items on display are labeled with numbers that match to a listing giving the provenance, name/style of the piece, and artist/company. This clean presentation in sufficiently large, consistent fonts made it easy to grasp quickly the main elements of each exhibit, or to delve in and learn about each piece. I noticed several parents with young children who were able to glance through the text and point out special features to their children. And to that point, the children I saw were absolutely mesmerized at the colors, shapes, and light – there were plenty of whimsical pieces to capture the imagination even as the adults pondered the craftsmanship.

There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the collections and reasonably priced cafe with tasty and healthy options. There are glass making demonstrations, which were wonderfully narrated in person while the workers created the piece and answered questions on the fly. The pieces that are finished are on display, and at the end of each demo session, one is given away to a lucky winner. The museum store carries the work of many local and regional artists, as well as a myriad of decorative glass from around the world, glass based games, and even a showroom of Corningware that is outlet-priced.

The 35 centuries of glass ranged from the ancient through modern. The pre-Roman, Roman, and Islamic collections in this section were superior to anything I have seen in Washington DC for conservation quality, range, and variety. The Glass Innovation Center covers the development of everything from television vacuum tubes to plexiglass windshields to optical fiber and beyond. But far from being the dry placard descriptions typical in the “science-y” exhibits in DC, the stories of these inventions are fascinatingly presented, and as often as not the result of a lucky accident or plain hard work and collaboration. There are more hands on activities in this section than I had time for, but they were highly interactive and set in among the innovations, which are arranged so that a visitor strolls among them. I really enjoyed that the “how this works” descriptions were put in terms that a non scientist like me could readily understand.

Given the easy access to the parking area, the drop off zone at the entrance, and the series of wide hallways and ramps connecting the collections, it seems that a lot of thought was given to making the facility accessible. With easy access to I-86 and I-99, the Corning Museum of Glass is an easy side trip on the way to or from the Finger Lakes Region. There is a AAA discount as well as several others that can save a few dollars.

Before leaving New York, we visited China Town. We had Japanese noodles since it was quite cold when we went so we wanted to warm ourselves up, and it has been quite a while since we had Asian food.

Overall, New York was not what I had expected, but I believe it was a decent place to visit despite the dirty subway and sometimes crowded streets.

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