Since Sheetal’s stay in US was just for a month, going arround few places in US before she leaves was quite necessary. The first thing that we visited in US was the New York City. This was also a first time experience for us to go out on our own, catch a train , book a cab etc. So we tried to be little extra causious in planning it. But then we found that its actually very easy, the cab guy was dot on time, buying the tickets was as easy as pressing few buttons and swiping your credit card.
Train was off course much better than the Mumbai local trains. Even these people seem to have built their train infrastructure quite early in 1980s and seemed to be quite well maintained. The ticket checker was more like conductor in BEST buses and walks down to every passenger to check the tickets. We were quite curious and looking out for different stations and silently comparing with Indian stations. The noth corridor line seems to be directly connecting Trenten to New York. Being a Mumbaite, I did try to remember all those station names , here are those names, starting from woodbridge we got Rahway,Linden,Elizabeth,Newark Libery Airport, Newark Penn, Secaucus and lastly New York Penn.
We booked a day long trip through gotobus.com. This chinese operated travel company seem to have lots of different kinds of tours, to different cities in US. The fare is quiet reasonable and they try their best to give a first hand experience of the place. Probably this hardworking ability is their inherent characteristic. Althogh sometimes their pronounciation is quite different than ours, they make up for this by arranging the trip in a Englishman style, disciplined,very timely and organized. The tour started from 89 Bowery Hester Street Cinatown Manhattan quite on time.
New York seems to be a city of sky scrappers and it strikes your attention as soon as you step out of the New Yrok Penn station. One dinstinct thing about New York is here you have ample taxis as public transport, which is missing in the interiors of the new jersey.
The sky walk view from the Empire tower seems to be the biggest attraction in the City. The lift in the Empire estate building operates with amazing speed and in no time the lift takes you to the 80th floor. The jouney from the 80th floor to 86th floor propbably takes much more time , because of the queue and again you have to climb those 6 floors and you actaully start panting after a while.The panoramic view from the 86th floor of the New York City and the Jersey City is mesmerising. The tiny looking hudson river and even tinier bridges , the ships sailing in the river, empire tower actually dwarfs all the other taller buildings arround and everybody seems to be trying to catch that view and store it permanently in their memory.
The Rockfeller Tower and Central Park were two other interesting spots that we covered. Central Park is actually situated at the heart of the city near columbus circle and having such a lush green and beautiful park is ideal getaway for the health lovers in New York. People cycling, jogging and practicing baseball is a common sight in this park.
The two hours of circle line cruise experience through hudson river, was one of my memorable experiences. It gives you a complete view of New York as it is today and the tour guide taking you through his memory lanes, explains the history of New York. The statue of liberty stands tall and guides every american to follow the principles of Liberty and Democracy and this truly is evident here. So many people, from different countries, following different religions, having very different cultures, but all of them work together and contribute to the prosperity of this great nation.
The brides across hudson river are again some of the architectural wonders and there are number of such bridges, the Manhattan Bridge, the famous Brooklyn bridge, George Washington Bridge, Troy-Waterford Bridge, Green Island Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and so on. New Yorkers have tried to connect the two banks of the river with number of ways. Apart from this numerous bridges they have the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the PATH and Pennsylvania Railroad tubes, making sure that the ever developing and expanding city has ample ways for commutation and transportation.
Times square has its own glitter and buzz and its evident as soon as you enter this area. It has ample joints for Italian Pizza’s to authentic Chinese food joints.The Mushroom pizza that we had at Pax Pizza and Salad Center was amazing and we wereagain ready for the other half of the tour. Our next attraction was Madam Tussad Museum right in the middle of times square. The tour company guyz from differrent tour companies try to catch hold of you to sell their exclusive sight seeing package at the best, rate just for you :-).
A huge statue of Hulk welcomes you as you climb the stairs for Madam Tussad museum. The museum is a tribute to a lady who came down from France to London and started making these statues as a hobby. Now we have Madam Tussad museum in London, New York and Shanghai. This museum gives great opportunity for those who have the fancy of photographing themselves, standing close to their favourite heros. I took this oppotunity to get a snap with Bill Gates and Julia Roberts. There were statues of so many diffrerent personalities, right from Elvis Pisley,Charlie Chaplin, Leonardo De Caprio,Diana,Orphrah Winfry,Julia Roberts to Lincoln, Bill Cinton, Hillary Clinton, George Bush, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Gandhi .
The last stop left us speechless and lot to think about. There was some strange calm and ambience in this United Nations building. You can see the artwork of people from different nations. Some pictures turn you introvert and you start thinking about the disparity in the world. The living conditions in the african nations, the draught affected villagers, nations destroyed by prolonged wars, all this start stirring in just one question in your mind "Why is this kind of disparity, why is that few are so prosporous and few so poor". Probably one of the missions with which United Nations came into existance was to reduce this disparity and give better life for everyone.
Click here for my New York Snaps