We woke early realising it was our last day in New York. Why did our time in the Big Apple have to go so fast? We had a fantastic time in such a fantastic city, we’d seen a lot of the major sights, we’d seen two great sporting events, we’d seen an amazing show on Broadway and we had eaten a lot of (probably too much) yummy food. We had made the most of every second and we were determined to make the most of our last day. As I drew back the curtains I was so relieved to see that it wasn’t snowing and in fact the sun was poking out from behind the clouds. Perfect, as our plans for the day involved being outside quite a lot. Even though it wasn’t snowing, it still felt cold enough to, so we ensured we were wrapped up well to protect us from the elements and headed out into, for us, unchartered territory.
A Morning In Central Park
Having passed Central Park numerous times on each visit to New York, I had never actually been in it! Therefore, I didn’t really know what to expect. As it was January when we visited, there wasn’t that much going on, however there were still quite a lot of people going about their business – joggers, dog walkers, buskers and of course a guy urinating up the side of a fountain. We had some definite things that we wanted to see whilst in Central Park and with the aid of good old Google Maps we managed to see them all within our allotted time frame. We also got to see a number of other things whilst in the park that we had not planned or researched.
1. The Mall and Literary Walk
The Central Park Mall leads to Bethesda Fountain. We instantly recognised it from a number of movies. It was originally designed to accommodate horse-drawn carriages whereas nowadays you will only find pedestrians. Horse drawn carriages are still allowed to enter the park, but not The Mall. The elm trees that line the Mall are beautiful, I imagine in the summer months when they are lush and green, they are spectacular. With plenty of benches, why not take a moment to have a seat and watch the world go by?
2. Alice In Wonderland
This was the thing I wanted to visit the most in Central Park and it certainly did not disappoint. The bronze sculpture was constructed in 1959 by José de Creeft under the commission of philanthropist George Delacorte so that children could visit and experience the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s classic story. Standing at 11 feet tall, it’s not uncommon to find children clambering all over it, whereas on the day we visited in January, there was not another person in sight.
3. The Boating Lake
When we visited the lake was actually closed to boats, however it was still a lovely lake to have a walk around and admire the view. Just watch out for the geese, they are savages if they think you have food. I have added – hire a rowboat – to our list of things to do if we return to New York again when the weather is warmer, I imagine it to be very romantic. Rowboats: $15 per hour (cash only) + $3.00 for each add’l 15 minutes + $20 cash deposit. Holds up to 4 people.
4. The ‘Highlander’ Bridge
Its real name being Bow Bridge, named for its graceful shape. Crafted of cast iron, the first in the Park and the second oldest in America, it was designed with Classical Greek refinement during the mid 19th century by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. Mr ESLT really wanted to see this bridge as it features in the movie Highlander. I have never seen the movie but enjoyed seeing and taking a stroll across it regardless.
5. Strawberry Fields
Named after the title of the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” this area of Central Park is dedicated to John Lennon. In the centre of Strawberry Fields lays the iconic black and white Imagine mosaic, named after another famous song by John Lennon, “Imagine”. More than 120 countries have planted flowers in the area and donated cash for the upkeep. With the widow of John Lennon – Yoko Ono contributing over $1 million initially.
The American Museum of Natural History
After a great few hours in Central Park we headed across the road to The American Museum of Natural History, located in the Upper Westside, which was an option in our CityPASS booklet. We love the Natural History Museum in London so we had really high expectations for the New York museum. The museum complex comprises of 28 interconnected buildings and is one of the largest museums in the world. The museum owns so many artefacts that not all of them can be shown at one time. Deciding where to start what a tough decision to make, we decided to start at the bottom and work our way upwards. Our ticket also included admission into the 3D Wonders of The Arctic IMAX movie which gave a great insight into working and living in the arctic. Even though we did make it round all of the exhibitions we didn’t have time to look at every single item, I think if we had, we would have been their for months, if not years! One of my favourite movies is Night At The Museum (don’t judge) which is set in The American Museum of Natural History and dotted around the museum were posters advertising the fact that you could have your very own night at the museum. Unfortunately, the sleepovers are only open to children and their parents of course, but how cool would it be if they did an adults only night? I’m seriously going to email that suggestion to them. Not like I need an excuse to go back to New York, but what a great reason to. We spent a good few hours there which we really enjoyed but in reality we really needed a lot longer.
Top of The Rock at Sunset
As we left The American Museum of Natural History we realised that sunset was approaching and fast. We therefore jumped in a taxi and raced to the Rockefeller Centre, first we spent a bit of time at the The Rink (ice rink) before exchanging the last ticket in our CityPASS booklets for tickets to the Top of The Rock. Having been to Top of The Rock twice before on previous trips, we have never actually be up there for sunset and we wanted to end our trip to the Big Apple in a special way. As with all the big attractions in New York it’s important to remember that you have to pass through security. So if you too want to see the sun set from the top, allow extra time as this is one of the busiest times of the day. When we visited there wasn’t much of a queue at all so we made it to the top, 70 floors up, with plenty of time to spare. We think that the Top of The Rock offers the best views of New York, with the Empire State Building on one side and Central Park on the other. If you only have the time or the cash to visit one tall building for the views then we cannot recommend the Top of The Rock enough. The fact that the observation deck is outside means we got some great photographs without glass panels or windows being in the way. What a great way to spend our last evening in New York – watching the sun go down on one of the most amazing cities in the world.