I’ve been up to New York close to a dozen times in the past couple of years. Ever since I discovered the amazing cheapness of Megabus I’ve used just about any flimsy pretext to head up there and visit.
Even so, most of my visits to New York have mainly involved partying it up with friends, eating out and getting lost for hours in the Strand. The closest I usually get to sightseeing is walking through Central Park or maybe catching a Broadway show on the cheap.
I much prefer experiencing New York like a local, but maybe there is something fundamentally important about seeing the attractions of a city. Some insight to be gained. So I was kind of excited when, as part of our TBEX swag, the NYC tourism bureau offered each of us a City Pass- a kind of Golden Ticket to New York’s top attractions. Here was my chance to finally see some of New York on the cheap.
Unfortunately, with all the excitement and various plans going on with the conference, my sightseeing time was whittled down to one afternoon. One very hung-over afternoon, it turned out, after the PREBEX celebrations of the night before. My brilliant sightseeing plan amounted to an exhausted wander around the MoMA and a more exciting trip up to the Top of the Rock.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, in addition to being the home of my FAVORITE TV show, has an epic observation deck. The view is supposed to be similar to that of the Empire State Building with the huge advantage that you can actually SEE the Empire State Building.
I’ve been to New York countless times but the view up on the 70th floor was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The view stretched from one end of Manhattan to the other. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the George Washington. Up here the skyscrapers looked like orderly building blocks, and Central Park was a rich oasis. The rivers that outline the island gleamed silvery in the bright sun. Downtown the Statue of Liberty twinkled in miniature.
I wandered around on the observation deck for a good long while, taking in New York from every possible angle. It was like seeing a new side of an old friend, “New York, I didn’t know you were so pretty!”
This was the kind of thing I would probably never, ever have dropped $21 to do under my own steam: it’s too gimmicky, too flashy. But it turns out I actually LIKED it, quite a bit. It was a new and different way of looking at New York, a wide-angle view that really demonstrated how impressive and vast the city really is.
In the end the greatest stuff I saw and did last weekend was with the brilliant travel bloggers at TBEX. Still, it was great- and actually insightful, to play tourist, even just for one sweltering hung-over afternoon.