Empire State of Mind

New York. This absolutely amazing city managed to live up to my high expectations and I missed it as soon as we left. After all you've seen, heard and read about New York through the media, it is easy to feel at home, and their simple street system makes it even easier to navigate, without it becoming monotonous or boring. Besides that, the population along with all the tourists is a mix of all the people on earth. I simply love big cities, and I love New York. You just become a part of the city pulse, which consists of lots of different sounds, lights, smells and movements, and a million people with different final destinations.

We stayed at a hotel about five minutes walking distance from the Empire State Building, which was also the first thing we saw through our window when we woke up and the last before we fell asleep. The happiness I felt when I woke up five in the morning (jet lag) and realized where we were, and the first walk through the city is unforgettable.

Morning at Times Square, the only time of the day when this place is bearable. Otherwise it's just too much tourists and costumed people in the way. The first day we bought tickets for the hop-on-hop-off buses that start from here - a good thing to get an overview of the city, even though I already had studied the map properly. You see a lot in a short time and get to hear facts from the guide that is hard to find in the usual guidebooks.

We jumped off the first bus at the ferry terminal where we took the Staten Island Ferry back and forth for a view of Downtown and the Statue of Liberty. Then we explored the city on foot in a couple of hours' walk. Note to self: Never forget sneakers.

We also took the Uptown bus tour, which went through Harlem and the Upper East Side among else. It's strange how it differs so much between the one and the other, in such a short distance. One street separates the Spanish Harlem with the highest crime rate in Manhattan, and Upper East Side, the richest area.

Chipotle! This food chain was our salvation among all fried food. Chicken, rice, beans and vegetables in a mega burrito. Yum.

The last picture is the view from our hotel window and shows Empire State Building which was lit green two days during Eid. How nice!


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