2014 wouldn’t have been complete without one last trip in December. I’ve become obsessed with visiting cities at Christmas because I just love how they transform into something a tiny bit magical. And honestly, the real driving factor for my weekend trip to NYC was the fact that I had set a goal of flying at least once during every month of 2014 (business trips excluded) and I was one month away from accomplishing that. I’m not entirely sure why I set my sight on NYC but I’m so glad that I did!
Side note: I will be getting back to posting about my trip to Europe shortly but I wanted to post about NYC before the holidays were over. Stay tuned for more about England & Paris coming soon!
I’ve been to NYC once before but this was my first time visiting at Christmas. Being able to visit Rockefeller Center and seeing various parts of the city all lit up for Christmas was really special. I’d never been to the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building so I knew I wanted to do one of them on this trip. I ended up choosing the Top of the Rock and bought a ticket that allows you to go up once during the day and once at night. I had an absolutely fantastic experience with that and I’m going to write a full review in a separate post.
This was also my first trip to NYC since they finished the 9/11 Memorial so I finally got a chance to see that. Due to lack of time I didn’t purchase a ticket to the museum but I hope to be able to go back and visit that in the future. If you’re ever in NYC and short on time I’d still recommend checking out the memorials as they’re fantastic. As I was walking from the subway station to the memorials I tried to picture what those streets must have looked like on 9/11. It’s an emotion that I think all Americans (or anyone) should take the time to experience.
I wanted to take a picture of the NYC skyline and I’d read on another blog that Brooklyn Bridge Park is a fantastic place to do so. I ended up not making it over there until after the sun had set so it turned out to be the perfect opportunity to start figuring out night photography. Getting better at night shots is something I’ve been wanting to do so I was happy to try to figure it out.
I highly, highly recommend the Brooklyn Bridge Park for taking pictures of the NYC skyline. Not only is it a great vantage point it’s also just a nice park to hang out at in general. Next time I go back to NYC I want to go during the day to get some day shots and to just enjoy hanging out in the park itself. I’d never ventured over to Brooklyn before and I really liked it! I ended up getting pizza at a cute little place and all of the streets that I walked down had nice shops and restaurants. If I ever had to live in NYC I think Brooklyn would be something I’d look into.
One major perk to this park is that the railings are thick and have huge flat surfaces that you can place your DSLR on. Since I didn’t have a tripod (unlike a dozen other people who were apparently there for the same reason I was) the railings were essential for being able to use a longer shutter speed.
I learned a lot about different shutter speeds from this little photo shoot. While I haven’t mastered it yet I think I’ve got a better idea of how to figure out what shutter speed I need and I look forward to getting to try it again.
I ended my only full day in NYC by going back for my second Top of the Rock visit. It was pretty cold up there at this point so I didn’t stay for too long but seeing the city from that vantage point at night was simply stunning. Even though it can be pricey to do one of these buildings I recommend that everyone do it at least once.
My time to explore on Sunday ended up being pretty short because I just plain didn’t feel like waking up that morning. I eventually dragged myself out of bed and took the subway over to Central Park. My hostel was actually within walking distance but towards the top of Central Park. The bike rental place I had planned on going to was at the south end of the park. I ended up not renting a bike from a regular bike rental place due to being short on time so I instead rented a Citi Bike (NYC’s bike share system). Citi Bikes only have docking stations in the bottom half of Manhatten so I had to take the subway down a few stops in order to get to where I could rent one. And I do love a good bike share system so I was pretty excited to get to try out NYC’s.
Even if you don’t rent a bike I highly recommend spending some time in Central Park when you go to NYC. There’s a lot of ground to cover so being on bike helps a lot (although be warned, there are some hills) but just taking a stroll would be fantastic as well. There’s so much to see that you could spend hours wondering around inside the park.
And a big recommendation for any trip to NYC would be to always give yourself more time than you think you need for getting to the airport. Whether it’s a subway delay or the AirTrain at JFK being shut down for maintenance there always seems to be something that slows things down in NYC.
I’m excited to make it back out to NYC again in the future! Any suggestions for what I should do next time I go?
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