Day two took us to Gregorys Coffee, my new favourite American coffee chain because of its super smooth coffee. After our pit stop we headed to Central Park, the enormity of which cannot be comprehended.
It was a grey day and the snow from the week previous was still heavy on the ground. Upon entering the bottom of the park, just off of 5th Avenue we aimed to walk along the only straight path, 65th St Transverse. This is where statues of Christopher Columbus and Shakespeare can be found. We also happened to stumble upon an ice sculpture of Alice in Wonderland before we came across the actual statue itself. I imagine that Central Park is full of plenty of surprises like this.
The unending greenery has plenty to offer in all seasons. Although the snowy ground made for a quieter and brisker stroll around one corner of the park (nonetheless a 10k walk), it is still a great place to escape the at times, daunting high rise and to shelter from the humdrum of the city’s traffic.
After exhausting ourselves and managing to find an exit we headed to Shake Shack for infamous burgers and cheesy fries. This gave us strength enough to take on The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met has always been described as huge, little did we know how much was crammed into three museum floors. Picking and choosing areas of interest we browsed the Egyptian artefacts, spent a lengthy amount of time in the Modern Art wing – an unformed interest of mine, and also perused the American, Medieval and Arms and Armour wings.
The MET isn’t free, but there is a payment contribution system where you are able to pay what you feel is worthy for entry into the museum. This will provide you with a personal label that enables you to wander around without question.
It is best to go with an idea of what you would like to see before entering the doors to this museum, however, if you are not forward planning like us, you can always sit in the fascinating courtyard (pictured above) and pinpoint a map before you get lost in the maze of information. You can find Van Gogh’s The Potato Peeler and Monet’s Water Lilies in the European Paintings section. Washington Crossing the Delaware can be found in the American Paintings and Sculpture section, and Charles Demuth’s I Saw the Figure of Five in Gold is also worth seeing in the Modern and Contemporary Art section.
Although engrossing, after four exhausting hours our minds were packed full of knowledge and ready to leave. We headed for Printers Alley, a southern style restaurant with the decor of an American sports bar. We tasted cornbread for the first time, had fried chicken and pulled pork sandwiches as large as our heads and soaked in live southern country style music, as it was too loud to talk over.
The Upper East Side showcases apartment blocks and localised shops amongst chains. The bustling streets provide little time for being a tourist and the coffee shops are not made for stopping – small enough to seat only persistent locals. However, it is worth stepping into the Upper East Side in order to experience another part of New York’s diversity.
The last stop of our day was just one street over and a few blocks away from Printers Alley on 42nd Street, Grand Central Station. This famous setting for many a film lived up to its expectations. The ceiling is covered in constellations, which makes for a romanticised travel destination and everything is acutely symmetrical, the iconic clock nestled in the centre of the station faces all four marble archways. Give yourself a good half an hour in this station to appreciate its architecture and to root yourself amongst many hurrying travellers. There is something spectacular about being still amongst a rush.
Our final day in New York took us on a trip for bagels, Chelsea Market and the High Line…