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September 30, 2014

My father, brother and I landed in Montreal and drove through the night to Niagara Falls. Early in the morning, we went through the bridge splitting apart the Canadian side (Canadian version of Las Vegas) and the American side (way more intimate and a closer sight spot) of the falls. After waiting for 2 hours stuck in traffic between Canadian trucks and fancy Hamptons cars, we finally arrived to American customs. To be short, we waited for 4 hours in the customs officers waiting and exam room with a lot of other foreigners. When they finally admitted us and after shaking hands with us with a welcoming smile, we drove straight to New York. 6 hours later, I opened my eyes dazzled by Times Square lights glowing in the nights.


We went to the hotel 2 blocks away from Times Square, in Midtown, practically halfway through everything in New York. We chose this hotel for the location of course but also for the look of it. It really did match the conception of a modern city always on the move, a worldly known place where a lot begins and that does never sleeps.

DAY 1:

8 AM: First breakfast in New York. We were craving bagels, a real American bagel, not the one we have at Carrefour. 2 steps away we felt nose to nose with the place of our dreams, where the magic was going to happen.


10 AM: We walked all the way to the MoMa (Museum Of Modern Art). I was really surprised by the variety of art there, from paintings to sculpture and photography; It is a very colorful museum with a lot to discover and crazy stuff around the corner.



11h30 AM: We went to Top of the Rock (situated in Rockefeller Center). The elevator going to the top lasts for 15 seconds and it is retracing the history of New York. Once arrived, we access an awesome view showing NY from Brooklyn to the Statue of Liberty.


1h20 PM: Back to reality, we decided to go for a walk and wander in Central Park. We walked through it trying to find the Guggenheim museum. We finally reached the white UFO, but did not get inside because of the crazy and endless queue.


2 PM: Back on Broadway St, we took the subway, completely lost by inbound and outbound, red and blue lines, but we eventually made it to Chelsea. The High Line is the new place to be, accessing a new higher perspective on the city, on what used to be railways.


5 PM: Tired and most of all hungry, we had our first typical New York hot dog before heading back to the hotel.


8 PM: We went back outside because staying in for a first night in New York is depressing. We were looking without looking around when we found this ice bar. It is a bar that is –5 F° and is greatly appreciated in the suffocating heat of NY. So they give you coats, scarves, and gloves (you can also ask for a trapper hat) and you get a 40 minutes entry in the bar; everything inside is carved in huge blocks of ice. They made tables, shoals, a real bar, carved the New York City map in walls and served you alcoholic cocktails made of vodka or without-alcohol adjusted version of the famous Cosmopolitans and Mojitos in glasses also made of ice! It is a really fun experience and it feels really comfy with the furs spread all over. An igloo within a factory!


DAY 2:

10 AM: We decided to be real tourists and took the sightseeing buses that we can see pacing the city. The tour took us from Times Square to Downtown New York showing us the famous sights and telling us anecdotes about the Big Apple. We got to see Soho and Chelsea. Both neighborhoods have a real European influence and appear like a city within the city. We got a brief glimpse at the settings of Friends and Sex and the City.


12 PM: We got off the bus at Wall Street. Wall Street is just buildings close together like we can admire in all New York but the people you walk by there are not the same obviously. We saw the Wall Street bull, whose balls you are supposed to rub to bring luck and wealth in your life.


2 PM: After getting our tickets to go to Ellis Island at Battery Park, we went to the World Trade Center. The 9/11 memorial is so great: how peaceful the monuments are showing all the names of the victims of both planes and towers. The city of New York is honoring the people that died by putting white roses on their birthdates. Every drop of water gathering at the bottom is representing one victim. The 9/11 museum is quite moving too. It retraces everything from the D-day and what happened on the planes to the organization between volunteers and troops. It also relates a little the war against terrorism and the hunt triggered afterwards.


Around 5 PM: We were exhausted but New York without a bit shopping would be a little bit of a waste so we took the bus back to Times Square ascending 2 third of New York main street Broadway. We hopped off the bus when we crossed Union Square Street where all the shops and big malls are. Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s but also Century 21, a big mess of clothes, bags, perfumes, cosmetics, house furniture is piled up and where I got yelled at for taking the last wallet. Yes, the scenes we can see in The Devil Wears Prada and Confessions of a Shopaholic are actually true. We went back to the hotel eating Frozen Yoghourt this crazy concept that we don’t have in France but that we should: self-serving ice cream with a bunch of toppings that you can put on top and you pay by the weight of your cup full of candies, fruit, chocolate, caramel…


DAY 3:


6 AM: Harsh wake up but we have our tickets for 8 at Ellis Island so we need to hurry. The cab dropped us right at the entry and after passing through the many security checks like in an airport, we finally got admitted. After a 20 minutes ride to Ellis Island and some background information given by the captain, we arrived at Liberty Island. Everybody got off the boat but we decided to stay on it to go directly to Ellis Island. We took our time to visit each part of the museum and hear the numerous testimonies recorded there. It is a great place to go to because it is exactly as it was for the immigrants showing all the steps of the process of admission with photographic documentation. We did not go onto Liberty Island because from the boat we had a great close up and we saw the crowd rushing in we thought it would be really long.


11 AM: Back in Downtown New York, after having a superb panoramic view of the skyscrapers, we found ourselves in the middle on some giants trying to find our way to Chinatown. Chinatown is really a strange place to be at, because it doesn’t feel like New York at all! I mean, when you raise your eyes and try to look at the sky you definitely are, but it is constituted of little houses and shops where Chinese is the only way of communicating. Noting is anglicized and it really feels like China which is awesome. We went to a restaurant there, they all look kind of crappy but they are actually serving good quality food. And it is really cheap to eat there.


1 PM: So after a lot of shrimps, fried rice, noodles and peas, we walked to Little Italy to knock off two items on our to-do list at one. A few blocks away, we found Little Italy, only made off one single street when it used to be a lot more, with a couple of restaurants and caterers. It is really disappointing because the “Italian” shopkeepers are being bought back by Chinese investors, surrounding them from all over the place.


3 PM: We had to be back to Times Square by 3 PM for the opening of the TKTS counter, for half-price are really, really cool discounts on Broadway tickets for the evening. We got there right in time and bought tickets at a very affordable price for the Motown Broadway show! What a great way to end our journey in New York City.


8 PM: Dressed up, but far from being as dressed up as some Americans, we entered the theatre and waited for the show to begin. My brother was scared of not understanding anything but Broadway shows are mostly music and dancing. The show was beyond amazing, it has nothing to do with ours with overloads of lights, costumes, glitters, dance… It was about the Motown recording company started by Berry Gordy who first produced Diana Ross & The Supremes, Michael Jackson & The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, all black famous and talented singers that he discovered before they got really famous.



And it was the end of our 3 days in New York, we ended up more tired than when we came but spent some magic time in a city that has so much to offer. It is an unforgettable 3-day trip with so many things done in such a short time span.

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