Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trip to New York - part 6

On May 3rd, hubby, his cousin, and I visited former World Trade Center site and Central Park. Then at about 5 pm we went to Times Square. It was raining on and off throughout the day. But by evening weather had improved and the rain stopped completely. So we decided to go for double-decker sightseeing bus tour of New York City. The tour was for about 2 hours and the bus returned back to Times Square. Later we did sightseeing of Times Square in the night time.

New York City downtown loop double-decker bus tour
New York downtown loop double-decker bus tour takes us to most of the major sightseeing spots of New York City. The neighborhoods on the downtown loop are some of the oldest and some of the newest in Manhattan area. This bus tour is a perfect introduction and a great way to get an overview and orientation of New York City. It is a guided and fully narrated tour. These double-decker tour buses operate daily from 8 am to 6 pm from Times Square (Broadway between 47th and 48th Streets), depart every 10-15 minutes, and return back to the same place. The tour ticket costs 44 dollars per person and is valid for 24 hours. The double-decker buses make many stops along the loop and provide us unlimited hop-on hop-off opportunities. At each brief stop, we can get off the bus and do sightseeing up close, then hop back on another double-decker bus at the same stop (or a different stop), and head to a different sightseeing location. Full loop takes about 2 hours without any hop-offs.
New York City double-decker sightseeing bus (we did not go by this bus but used a similar one)

Open-top double-decker sightseeing bus

We bought three tickets from a staff of the tour bus, and at about 6 pm we boarded the open-top double-decker bus. The guided bus tour started almost immediately. It was really fun to listen to the tour guide explaining about various famous sightseeing spots of New York City downtown area. We were thrilled to get a panoramic view of the best sights of downtown New York City. The bus started from Times Square 47th Street and passed through Broadway and Theater District. We saw multipurpose indoor arena Madison Square Garden, main office of New York City United States postal office, department store chain Macy’s, 102-storied Empire State Building, 22-storied Flatiron Building, H&M clothing store, and many more interesting places and buildings. We took several photos and videos during the sightseeing tour. The tour guide gave an excellent narration about various places and buildings, which made the bus tour very interesting. However, the guide’s explanation was not recorded properly and the video had a lot of background noise probably because it was a very windy day. So I have compiled the videos based on modern Japanese music.
One Times Square Building and digital advertisements

Times Square

Hubby’s cousin and I enjoying the views from the double-decker bus

Main office of New York City United States postal office

Macy’s and the Empire State Building

H&M store

The Empire State Building

A compiled video of our bus tour (part 1)

Next, the double-decker bus passed through Union Square shopping district and artsy Greenwich Village where the literary past comes alive and is home to many musician, artists, and writers. We also passed through SoHo which has a greatest collection of cast-iron architecture. We took a few photos and also compiled a video of these areas.
Hubby’s cousin and I enjoying New York City views

Hubby’s cousin busy taking photos

Another H&M store

A compiled video of our bus tour (part 2)

The bus then passed through ethnic Chinese enclave China Town and enchanting Little Italy that consists of Italian stores and restaurants. New York City Hall was also in the route of bus tour and we saw the City Hall Park. Next, the bus toured the Finance District which comprises of offices and headquarters of many of the major financial institutions of the city. Soon we reached the site of World Trade Center and then reached Battery Park at the departure point for Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island ferry. A few places were new to us but it was fun to see some of the places that we visited just 1-2 days ago. A few photos and a compiled video of these places are posted below.
Hubby enjoying city views from open-top double-decker bus

City Hall Park

Ongoing construction at the site of former World Trade Center

A compiled video of our bus tour (part 3)

The tour bus passed adjacent to Staten Island Ferry Terminal and one New York Plaza office building, and then made a brief stop at South Street Seaport which is a designated historic district. We saw a four-masted sailing ship named The Peking at the seaport. We could see the Brooklyn Bridge also but could not get a proper view. As the bus started moving, we got a beautiful view of the Manhattan Bridge and stone-covered archway beneath the bridge. The bus then passed through Lower East Side which has traditionally been an immigrant working class neighborhood but has undergone rapid socio-cultural changes in recent years. The Lower East Side is bordered in the south and west by Chinatown. Next, we passed though East Village, which is to the north of the Lower East Side. East Village is known for a diverse community, vibrant nightlife, and artistic sensibility, but in recent years this area has also undergone drastic socio-economic changes. After passing through East Village, the bus did not stop for a long time and we passed many residential areas. Then, the bus reached the United Nations Headquarters which is a distinctive complex and serves as the official headquarters of the United Nations. Here are a few photos and a compiled video of these places.
South Street Seaport

Sailing ship named The Peking at the seaport

Stone-covered archway beneath the Manhattan Bridge

Manhattan Bridge

A compiled video of our bus tour (part 4)

The building of United Nations Headquarters looks stunning. We saw Good Defeats Evil monument in the ground of UN Headquarters. As the bus moved forward, we saw the famous Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse restaurant at one corner of a street. Next, we passed through Rockefeller Center, which is a complex of 19 commercial buildings. We loved the rows of colorful flags in sunken Rockefeller Plaza. Next, the bus reached Central Park to the south, where we had done sightseeing just a couple of hours earlier. The bus then reached NYC & Company Visitor Information Center and finally returned back to the 47th Street of Times Square. Here are a few photos and a compiled video of these places.
Building of United Nations Headquarters

Good Defeats Evil monument in the ground of UN Headquarters

Smith and Wollensky Steakhouse restaurant

A compiled video of our bus tour (part 5)

We loved the New York City downtown loop double-decker bus tour. The wonderful explanation of the tour guide helped us to learn and get a lot of information about the history of many places and buildings of the city.

Times Square at night
It was about 8 pm when we returned back to Times Square after the double-decker bus tour. Next we went to a few shops in Times Square and purchased many souvenirs to give as gifts to friends, relatives, and colleagues in Japan. We also bought a few souvenirs for ourselves. Although we had been to Times Square during day time the previous day, we wished to see how the place looks at night. So after the shopping, we walked at the Times Square and were dazzled by the beautiful and colorful place. Times Square was crowded with tourists and locals, and the place radiated vibrant energy because of innumerable electronic neon displays and digital screens. The huge animated neon and LED signs and digital advertisement billboards are iconic images of Times Square, and contribute to the immense excitement and popularity of Times Square. The advertisements at the famous one Times Square Building were so bright and colorful that we had some difficulty in taking photos of them. We loved the place and almost went into a trance seeing all the colors and lights around us. Times Square is simply exciting. Hubby took a video of the place.
Times Square at night

Times Square at night

Hubby and I at Times Square

Hubby and I standing at Times Square with One Times Square Building in the background

Hubby’s cousin and I at Times Square

A compiled video of Times Square at night

New York City subway
We used the railway subway system a lot during the sightseeing of New York City. Travel by subways itself is a real New York experience. We loved travelling by New York City subway, which is considered to be rather efficient transport system in the world. Although we have travelled a lot in the subways of Tokyo which is much superior and extremely clean ultra modern system, but travel by New York City subway was a unique experience that we loved and enjoyed. Hubby compiled a video of our New York City subway travel.

Hubby’s cousin and I standing at a subway station next to a huge poster of the movie ‘Sex and the City-2’

A compiled video of New York City subway ride

Dinner at a deli
It was almost 10 pm when we finished sightseeing and shopping. We all were very hungry and had dinner at a deli near Times Square. It was a restaurant cum convenience store. We picked our dinner from the display of various prepared food items, packed them in take-out plastic packet containers, and paid for them by the weight of the packets. We had our dinner at the deli itself.

Deli dinner in take-out plastic packets

Hubby having dinner at the deli

Hubby’s cousin and I having dinner at the deli

We returned to Marrakech Hotel at about 11.30 pm. We were really tired due to sightseeing and shopping the entire day, so as we retired to bed soon afterwards.

Return to Japan
The next morning, on 4th May, we packed our baggage and checked out of the hotel at 8 am. Then we hired a taxi and reached the departure terminal of JFK international Airport at about 9 am. We had breakfast at a restaurant at the airport terminal. After completing the departure procedures like security check, customs, and passport control, we waited at the boarding area of our flight. The flight took off at about 2 pm.
Hubby’s cousin and I at the departure terminal in JFK International Airport

Waiting at the boarding area to enter the flight back home

After 14 hours of flight, we reached Narita Airport at about 5 pm (local time) on 5th May. From there we took a train to Tokyo railway station. At Tokyo we said goodbye to hubby’s cousin who took a train bound for Nagoya where she lives. Then hubby and I travelled by Akita Shinkansen train and reached Akita railway station at about 11.55 pm. After an hour of car ride, we finally reached our home at about 1.30 am on 6th May. Hubby and I were very tired due to the long time it took to travel back to Japan and our home, but we really loved our sightseeing trip to New York. We love New York!


chts99 said...

Hiiii... though I was bit irregular in reading your posts, but still enjoyed it. Your way of compiling and writing ideas are fabulous...

Kazuo Nagata said...

New York omorokatta.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks for your comment chts99. And thanks for reading the posts and liking them. Do visit the blog whenever you have time and keep your comments.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Yeah Kazuo, New York was so much fun!!