…the city that never sleeps
I must confess that I am not really a city girl. If I had to choose between living in the countryside or in the city, I would choose the former; big wide open spaces, fresh air and being alone in nature appeals to me.
So it’s no surprise that the first time I went to New York, I was completely overwhelmed. I stayed with a family friend in Queens, and the only thing I saw previously about Queens was Eddie Murphy’s movie Coming to America. That and the huge city skyscapers, the traffic, overbearing billboards and naked cowboy (!) made me want to run and hide in the nearest quiet space I could find.
But then, in a matter of days, something about New York began to appeal to me, began to impress me even, and it was purely this: New York’s investment in art, history and culture is phenomenal.
Here are some of my fond memories of New York:
1. Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET): This museum has a fantastic selection of modern, classical and ancient art, much like the Lourve or Orsay in Paris. It’s perfect for a rainy day when you want to hang out with the legendary greats (I really like their collection of Van Gogh, Degas and the other impressionistic masters). New Yorkers are fortunate to have artworks of such calibre on their doorstep. In Sydney, by comparison, we have to wait till such collections go on tour downunder; the most recent exhibition was about 6 hours away in Canberra which attracted huge crowds and enormous queues.
The other great thing about the MET is that you determine the entry fee you want to pay, depending on what you can afford. Which means you can pay as little as a penny (1 cent) if you wish, though it’s well worth what most patrons were paying (around $20).
For more information about the MET, go to http://www.metmuseum.org/
2. Statue of Liberty: Is it an obvious tourist attraction? Yes. Does it attract huge crowds and painfully long queues? Absolutely. But is it worth going to see up close? Definitely. She is beautiful to photograph and the exhibition inside the statute is well crafted. I liked the positive values that the exhibition and the statute promote, like freedom, liberty and a new beginning.
3. Brooklyn Bridge: On my last evening in New York (May 24), the Brooklyn Bridge was having a 125th birthday party. The atmosphere on the night was extremely exciting; the bridge was illuminated with beautiful lights, the Mayor of New York gave a speech and we were treated to a huge fireworks display.
Of course, there is so much more to see and do; if you love a big, vibrant city you will definitely have a ball in New York. My traveling tip is get to the main attractions as early as possible in the morning (before 9am) to avoid those long queues.
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