Just walking the city will give you an appreciation for why so many people love NYC. I am far too much of an introvert to live there long-term, but even I was nearly transfixed by the energy, the vibe, the multicultural feel. There are tourists everywhere and there are locals everywhere. There are NYPD officers who will point you toward the best slice of cheesecake and store clerks who are happy to banter with each other to help you find the rail station you are seeking. At one point I recall looking upward (I did a lot of that) and saw a sheet of newspaper drifting toward the open sky. I've seen that only in movies. I did not think it was reality, but I saw it again later, this time surrounded by falling leaves and I thought, "Whoa! There are trees here?"
Our next stop was Rockefeller Center for a trip to the top. We chose the “Top of the Rock” over the Empire State Building because we wanted to see the Empire State Building instead of being in it. Kevin made our reservation for late afternoon so we could watch sunset and get good night shots as the city lights came alive. It was not disappointing.
After we came down from the tower and had some dinner in the small food plaza on the ground level we sort of stumbled upon another iconic New York experience: the Rockefeller Plaza ice rink. None of us skates well (or at all, really) and we were not up to shelling out the dough for that, but watching it was fun. The tree was behind scaffolding and undergoing preparations for its holiday unveiling but there is still a festive Christmas atmosphere here.
Our final stop for the evening was Times Square, a place that defies description unless you are cool with the extreme understatement, “It has a lot of people and advertisements that light up.” I mean, the advertisements are lit up, but I would not have put it past a few of the visitors either.
As a tourist in the city you spend a lot of time walking around looking up. It is almost brain-overload when you add in all there is to see and feel at eye-level.
Tomorrow’s adventures: Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and cheesecake.