Top Free Attractions In New York City

  1. Times Square

This colourful hub is an LED wonderland and also has most of the shops you could want to go to.

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Times Square

  1. Fifth Avenue

You don’t have to shop to check out this iconic street.

  1. Central Park

The greenest part of Manhattan and miles of iconic greenery from so many movies lies within Central Park.

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Central Park

  1. The High Line

As an elevated linear park, the High Line gives you an elevated view of the surrounding area.

  1. The Brooklyn Bridge

For a view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines as well as a view of the Hudson River and a distant view of the Statue of Liberty, a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge is a must.

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Brooklyn Bridge

  1. Macy’s/Santaland

Macy’s is awesome any time of year, but extra fun and festive at Christmas.

  1. Rockefeller Center

Watch the ice skating and check out the massive Christmas Tree and Rockefeller Center. It’s also a great place to see the light show on Saks at Christmastime.

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Rockefeller Center

  1. Bryant Park

For a bit of greenery with a nearby famous public library, check out Bryant Park.

  1. 9/11 Memorial

A beautiful and somber memorial where the Twin Towers once stood.

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

  1. Grand Central Station

This restored station is another icon and on the roof, you can see a tile they left to show the condition the station was previously in.

Please note, these attractions are in no particular order.

Happy Travels

Krystal xx

 

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Seeing Lady Liberty in the Flesh

A trip to New York is not complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty. But what is the best way to see this iconic monument?

IMG_3142I personally, think the best way to see it is up close and personally. But the only way you can do this is via a trip with Statue Cruises. Onsite, Statue Cruises are incredibly and lack customer service skills. The lines are long (3+ hours at the height of the season). Booking your tickets online will save you getting in line for tickets and may allow you to go up in the Statue where tickets are very limited.

After waiting in line for the boat for a rather long time. You will go through a security screening. They want people to remove hats, scarves, gloves etc. So expect to strip half your layers in winter.

The boats themselves are designed to have nearly everyone standing, with rails on the sides and hand holds from the ceiling. The windows provide an excellent view, but could benefit from being cleaned.IMG_3167

You arrive at the back of the statue, where there is a souvenir shop, toilets and a place to eat and drink. Following the path around to the front of the statue gives you a great view of both the statue and the end of Manhattan.

If this doesn’t sound like you, the Staten Island Ferry provides a free boat ride and passes by the Statue of Liberty and tour boats also pass by the statue. But Statue Cruises is the only one that will allow you to get up close and personal with the statue.

Happy Travels.
Krystal xx

Silence in NYC: An Infrequent Event

Silence is a moment of stillness or quiet. In New York that is fairly hard to come by and treasured when it does. Here are some moments of silence in the city that really does never sleep.

Silence is a quiet frozen stillness, like on this pond in Central Park.

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Silence is a respectful pause of reflection, like here at the 9/11 Memorial.

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Silence is when you finally get out of the crowds and no one is around, like this little corner behind a wall by Fox.

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Silence for a moment is golden, silence for a lifetime is bleak.

Krystal xx

Viewing Platforms In New York (Manhattan)

It’s been a while, I’ve been doing some exploring around the globe and spending more time writing content for other people than myself, but hopefully in this new year, I’ll be able to share all the latest with you.

Recently, I spent a fair bit of time in New York City and over the next little while I will give you all my tips and tricks to seeing New York. First, I’ll start off by talking about the different viewing platforms.

Empire State Building

If you’ve ever seen Sleepless in Seattle, you’ll have seen a sneak preview of what it is like up in the Empire State Building. But unless you’re first in the morning or there last thing at night like they were, it probably won’t be so empty. But that is ok, because with so many other attractions you have to line up for ages so you want to be there first thing in the morning. But with the Empire State Building, what really impressed me was their crowd control. When we went first thing in the morning, it was fairly quick to get in. When we went in the afternoon, the line was hallway around the bottom of the building. Yet the line moved quickly and there was a lot of staff making sure things were orderly and being available to provide information. They also kept spaces near doors clear for those going to other places. Then inside there was more moving through the line, going through security scanning and then finally up to the first inside viewing platform. But again the line did keep moving. The inside viewing platform is particularly great in winter (the time I was there) as it is warm. That is on the 80th floor. You can then either take the lift or the stairs up to the 86th floor to the outside viewing platform where they also have the famous binoculars. For a keen photographer like me this was the best place to get photos through the fencing. But going up there at night in winter like we did was pretty chilly. Both viewing platforms offer a good view of the city and particularly of the Freedom Tower.

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One World Observatory (Freedom Tower)

We had to check out One World as it was the newest, the tallest and offered a Winter Wonderland experience. The Winter Wonderland experience was a quick animation in the lift about how New York’s skyline has changed and virtual frosted windows which didn’t work the day we were there. For One World you have to line outside in the freezing cold with a line that doesn’t seen to move (especially if you’re in the voucher line like we were). There is one staff member on waving people through, a lack of information available and did I mention cold? Once you get inside to buy your tickets you can’t go straight up like you did in Empire, you have to come back at a certain time (so I’d recommend buying your tickets online for a set time if you can then just showing up 20 minutes before that time). Out the other side of the Freedom Tower is the Westfield mall and it is in here by the Subway that you line up at your time. It also means you can fill in time there out of the cold in winter until your timeslot. Lining up, the staff weren’t particularly helpful and got annoyed if people lined up too early. Once inside, you are taken up in a lift to floor 102 then run through a couple of presentations before you get to the viewing platform. The viewing platform is inside and at night very reflective. They also ran other presentation up on the viewing platform that you could choose to listen to which was very informative. The view here is the best of the bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River. You can also dine up there with a panoramic view.

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We choose not to do this platform in the end because it was near the Empire State Building, but it is best to do during the day as it offers a great view of Central Park. You can also see the classic Empire State Building. It looked like more of the lining up was done inside so it may also be a better winter venue.

So if you’re going to New York, these are all good spots to see the city from, but if I had to pick one, I’d definitely pick Empire State Building.

Krystal xx

Defining the age of term ‘Child’

In one of our family discussions over Christmas, it came up about child fares versus the legal term child.

In legal terms you are a child until you become an adult which is legally defined on average as somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21, depending on where you live. As a result, you are generally not legally allowed to live independently until this age or able to financially support yourself.

Yet if you are on a plan, you can only have a child ticket until you are about 12, at theme parks I have seen the child age limit range between 10 & 16, movie theatres often seem to classify a child somewhere between 13 & 15, and even public transport will only accept older children paying a child’s fare with a student ID. If they are 16 and don’t have one, tough luck.

But child support payments must be paid until children are legally adults, children most likely won’t be properly employed until they are legally adults. Many young adults these days still are not financially independent for a couple of years due to studying at university. So how is it that commercial places can get away with claiming 12 year olds aren’t children?

There are three ways it can be looked at. The first is to say that a child shouldn’t be classified as anything else until they are legally an adult. The second way to look at it is based on financial independence; the idea that a parent paid less for a dependant. The third way to look at it is based on size. On a plane for example, there can be a large 13 year old who is the same size as an adult female.

However, other than size there is no excuse for these commercial places to put the child age so low just to make extra money and even for a plane the size is a flimsy excuse, I doubt the plane would need more fuel just because it had a few taller children on it.

What do you think? Is this just another way to make money or is there a justified reason for the age of a child being ambiguous in commercial places.

Krystal xx

WPC: Names

When I read the Weekly Photo Challenge Names I immediately thought of signs that name locations, but are amusing or interest catching in some way.

To give a little context to a couple of these, C Beccaria is the name of a famous criminology theorist and the Broadway sign is in London.

Krystal xx

A Quick Break Down On What To Look For In A Suitcase

I am a suitcase person. I’ve got more suitcases than I need and I am very picky about what kind of suitcase I’ll use.

These days, suitcases usually have 2 or 4 wheels and are either a soft or a hard case. Although there are expectations, I will be focusing on these standard suitcases.

2 Wheeled Suitcases

These are the wheeled suitcases pretty much everybody has use. They have 2 wheels on the same side as the trolley system and you tilt your suitcase to move them. These wheels can often be slotted into the bottom of the suitcase to an extent because they don’t require 360-degree movement. These days, 2 wheels often seem to be on cheaper suitcases, but are sometimes offered on more premium brands. Often these wheels are considered to be in line skate wheels.

at_large_orange_24 Wheeled Suitcases

These are all the range today. These suitcases have a wheel on each corner and allow your suitcase to move in any direction. Often the wheels on these suitcases are considered to be spinner wheels or 360 degree wheels. They are essentially the same thing; wheels that can move at any angle. These wheels are more convenient as they allow a full range of motion and stand upright, rather than requiring you to drag the suitcase behind you. In general, you will be able to move faster with a loaded 4-wheel suitcase that you will with a loaded 2-wheel suitcase.

Soft Case

A soft case is often made of nylon or polyester and is usually lighter than a hard case. A soft case is also more likely to include an expander than a hard case. A soft case is also unusually rain resistant (this means your stuff won’t get wet in showers but it will in full on rain). A soft case is ultimately for someone who is not expecting a lot of rain and likes to pack as much as they can into their suitcase. The expander allows for that extra purchase to be shoved in, while the lighter weight means you can include slightly more in your suitcase before you hit the airlines weight allowance.

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A hard case can be made from several materials, but the best are made from materials such as polycarbonate or Polypropylene. Cheaper suitcases will use ABS or ABS mixed with stronger thermoplastics such as polycarbonate. A hard case is usually water proof and materials such as polycarbonate are also quite flexible and resistant to impact, making them more difficult to break. Hard cases are also often heavier, with polycarbonate being one of the heaviest and polypropylene one of the lightest.

What You Should Look For In A Suitcase

  • Strength
  • TSA Lock & cable locking system
  • 4 wheels
  • Flexible handle & handle that adjusts to multiple heights
  • Less outside compartments
  • A colour that easy to identify (so not black or grey)

Krystal xx