Some trips are planned to the last detail with multiple reviews of the same action items and things to do at the destination, this was definitely not one of them. Going into this trip the excitement was high and relatively unnerving. We chose to go with the flow as there was no other way to match the energy of the place we were about to visit. Suggestions and recommendations around travel modes, places to eat and stay, how to commute and most importantly safety began pouring in. It was a business-pleasure trip and we had to cover the business part first before it actually began. All we had managed to do was book a decent place to stay that ensured we had a bed to plonk at the end of each day. And finally on September 16 at 08:45 am it was touchdown at Liberty International Airport, NY. New York has been on every travelers list including mine. Three days in New York is what we got as a bargain to continue our journey post the business trip. We accepted it gladly.
Penning down my thoughts at the departure gate at the Liberty International Airport in New York, a quick flashback of the past 3 days in NY beamed in front of me. From touchdown to bidding goodbye to NYC has been enthralling to no extent. We arrived into New York on a very early morning flight from Cleveland touching down at Liberty International Airport, Newark.
“Distance from the airport to the center of the city or beyond is easily over twenty to thirty kilometers depending on where you would like to go.”
First half of Day One was spent in chalking out plans for the next three days and we found the perfect cozy corner at a McDonalds outlet nearby. First on the notes was to get a Metrocard that would help us get around NYC saving us the hassles of buying tickets for our travels on board Metros, Buses (except express) and trams. A convenient means of transfer the Metro runs on six major routes demarcated clearly on maps that are available on any Subway station. Grabbing our gear we stepped out to explore the hustle and bustle of the city making our first stop at the Grand Central Terminal.
The word Grand does magnanimous justice to the grandeur of the structure. Looking around in awe, the first thing that we noticed were the beautiful arches at both ends of the terminal. The architectural beauty grew in magnitude because of the dimly lit setting. Arches distinctly separate easily over forty feet tall backed with tinted color glass allowing light in just enough to add an appeal to the beautiful visuals.
Built in 1903, the main concourse is often used as a meeting point for locals and hugely popular as a photo-op stop among tourists. The Grand Central terminal has close to 100 tracks and 44 platforms (most for any terminal in the world) that connect to various parts of the city and beyond. We stood there admiring the beautiful architecture that defined the amount of detail that went in to designing it. At the center of the concourse sits a beautiful golden clock with four faces. Apart from just displaying the time this clock acts as an effective rendezvous. Grand Central Terminal has both monumental spaces and meticulously crafted detail, especially on its facade. The Main Concourse has an elaborately decorated ceiling. The starry ceiling is astronomically inaccurate in a way. When you look at it closely, it looks complicated with some of the stars within some constellations appear correctly as they would from earth, other constellations are strangely reversed left-to-right, just as the overall arrangement of the constellations on the ceiling. We spent sometime gazing at the green ceiling before reality hit us and we decided to move on to the next place on plan.
Gasp in awe is what we did when we stepped out of the Times Square subway station. Glancing at my watch in disbelief to reconfirm that it was indeed 8:30 pm I turned my head all around to soak in the lights and displays that lit up the square like it was midday. People, everywhere from all across the world could be seen smiling away with friends laughing and merrymaking. “Heart of the World” or “Crossroad of the World” is also how the Times Square is referred to.
Formerly known as the Longacre Square, it was renamed after NY Times moved its headquarters here in 1904. Famous for the New Years Eve Ball drop ritual that started on 31st December 1907 continues till date and attracts over a million visitors that day each year. On an average day approximately 300,000 visitors visit this beautiful place. It is said, if you stand on Times Square for three hours, in all likelihood, one person from each country would have crossed you.
As senses slowly prevailed, I stood in one corner of the square to look around the place. One thing that stood out was definitely the resplendence of the visuals on display, but the other thing that struck me hard was that it was people who made Times Square. Faces, expressions, family bonding, first dates, meetups, tourists, locals, gays, straights, friends, solo travelers, group tours, cops, performers, shoppers, all these people distinctly convert a simple crossing in one of the worlds busiest city into TIMES SQUARE.