New York city featured image times square at night

New York – the City That Never Sleeps

The Big Apple. New Amsterdam. The Capital of the World. Gotham. The City So Nice They Named it Twice. New York – a city of superlatives.

I remember the first time when I saw the skyscrapers of the New York Times (I remember it so vividly because it was the first real skyscraper I have seen). I had to bend my neck in order to see the top of this steel gargantuan. Some of the buildings around it seemed oddly familiar because I had seen them on many TV shows, movies, and/or photos. Yet, New York City is much more than just a bunch of lined skyscrapers.

After our adventure in Miami, we arrived late in the evening and rushed to check in the hostel before midnight. That proved to be impossible as there was a horde of people trying to do the same thing. A little disheartened by this queue, we were calmly waiting and suddenly we saw three friends, whom we had not seen for ages, from our hometown. They were standing outside the hostel. What a small world! We immersed into a quick chat and planned a day of exploring with them. After a couple of hundred minutes waiting and a few rounds of “diplomatic negotiations” at the reception, we got admitted and immediately hit the beds as we had less than three days to explore probably the most cosmopolitan city in the world.

Day 1 – the American Museum of National History and Central Park

My friends were not too happy because it started raining in the morning of our first day of roaming around New York, but I could not care less. If there was a place where I would be happy to be rained upon, that place would be New York City. While we were gaily marching the large boulevards and avenues that crisscross Manhattan, we were amazed by the architecture around.

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A slight, refreshing rain welcomed us in New York City.
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Brownstone houses somewhere near the American Museum of National History.

The American Museum of National History

I do not know how we had decided that we would devote time for museum visits, but the first stop of our short journey was the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Back in 2007, our group was not the wittiest in the world, I would have to admit, and even though we spent more than 3 hours of quick glancing at museum exhibits, we were not able to cover even a third of the AMNH, which is one of the largest museums in the world. At least, we managed to take some great photos.

New York City, AMNH, Weight on the Sun
My weight on the Sun compared to…
New York City, AMNH, Weight on the Moon
… my weight on the Moon
New York City, AMNH, Museum Animals, Deer
Beautiful deers.
New York City_AMNH_MuseumAnimalsRams
Dodge Ram? 🙂
New York City_AMNH_MuseumAnimalsWolves
I especially like this one. Dance with the wolves, wrestle with the pit-bulls.
New York City, AMNH, Tiger vs Svet
According to the Chinese calendar, I was born in the year of the tiger. Rawr
New York City, AMNH, Night at the Museum, The Movie
Did you know that “Night at the Museum” was shot in the AMNH? Somewhere around this “baby”.
New York City, AMNH, Lucy, the First Human Australopithecus
Lucy, the first human (Australopithecus).
New York City, AMNH, Titanosaur, Skeleton
Panoramic view of the skeleton of Titanosaur.

Central Park – the Lungs of Manhattan

If you only have 2 days in New York City, I would not recommend spending almost a third of a day in exploring a museum – it is very exhausting. Not only that the number of exhibits is enormous, but the information at one point becomes overwhelming. It was time to immerse ourselves into the beautiful Central Park, also known as “The Lungs of Manhattan”.

It has been maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organisation since 1980, and is the most frequently visited park in the United States with more than 42 million visits. Central Park’s length spans from 59th Street (Central Park South) to 110th Street (Central Park North) while its width of 0.5 miles stretches between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenues (also known as Central Park West).

We started the promenade in Shakespeare Garden, continued the stroll around a very picturesque duck pond, took a shot of the whole group with New York’s skyline, and exited the Park from the west.

New York City, Central Park, in front of the AMNH, Our Group
The Tourists
New York City, Central Park, Beautiful Shakespeare Garden
Entering the Garden(s) of Shakespeare in Central Park
New York City, Central Park, Mossy Duck Pond
The mossy pond looked so calm.
New York City, Central Park, the Group, Manhattan Skyline
Our group in Central Park with Manhattan’s skyline in the background.
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Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (also called the Angel of the Waters). You have seen it in numerous movies, haven’t you? 🙂
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Exiting the Park from the West.

A Night Walk around Times Square and the Rockefeller Center

After Central Park, we clumsily headed to Times Square. “The Crossroads of the World”, one of its several other nicknames, is a famous intersection in Midtown Manhattan which stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. You will easily recognise it not only by the hundreds of billboards and advertisements around but also by the hordes of people, many of whom – tourists. At night, it is even more crowded – probably this is one of the reasons NYC is regarded as the “City That Never Sleeps”.

Times Square was followed by a walk around St. Patrick’s Cathedral which, at that time of the day, was closed, and the Rockefeller Center. I have to admit we did a silly thing. We were offered tickets for 18 USD to visit the observation deck and admire the Big Apple at night, but for some reason, we decided it is too much and did not take advantage of that. Oh, well, next time! : )

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Bend your necks.
New York City, Manhattan_ApproachingTimesSquare
On our way to Times Square.
New York City, Manhattan_RockefellerCenterBuilding_CloseShot_AmazingLights
A closer shot of the Rockefeller Center.
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St Patrick’s Cathedral, Neo-Gothic-style
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Across the Cathedral is the bronze statue of Atlas.
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Part of our group at Times Square.

Day 2 – Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Madame Tussauds

Wall Street – The Battle Between Bears and Bulls

Our second day, the march started by a walk around the “notorious” Wall Street. It is also the place where the New York Stock Exchange is located. Most of the banks there are open every day. Of course, we did not miss a chance to tuck our hands in the Charging Bull’s buttocks. It is believed that doing that gives you luck. It proved to be quite difficult because of the streaming throngs of tourists ready to satisfy their, gingerly put, “bronze-bull-touching” fetishes. : )

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First glimpse of Wall Street.
New York City, LowerManhattan_WallStreet_NewYorkStockExchange
The New York Stock Exchange. The world’s biggest stock exchange by market capitalisation of its listed companies at US$19.69 trillion as of May 2015. The daily trading value was estimated at around US$169 billion in 2013.
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Some (or all) of the banks on Wall Street work every day.
New York City_LowerManhattan_WallStreet_ChargingBull_WallStreetBull
The Charging Bull or the Wall Street Bull is a symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity.
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The gorgeous Battery Park.
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Lower Manhattan’s Skyline as seen from Battery Park.
New York City_LowerManhattan_QueuelineforStatueofLiberty_BatteryPark
The long queue line was cheered by a street performer. Admittedly, he was quite noisy.

Before we proceeded to the gorgeous Battery Park and took the boat to the Statue of Liberty, we had already purchased a New York City Pass. It is a great way to save money, but you also have to be quite organised so as to visit as many attractions as possible. At the time (2007), it cost only 65 USD.

The Statue of Liberty – the Symbol of Freedom

Our first visit was the Statue of Liberty which was given to the U.S. by France and was built by the same person who had also built the Eiffel Tower – Gustave Eiffel. The Statue of Liberty, representing the Roman Goddess, Libertas, is one of the largest statues in the world and is a symbol of freedom.

If it was not for the magnificent view of Manhattan from there, I’d say it was a bit of a waste of time, especially when you have a tight schedule. I am not saying that you should not visit one of the most famous landmarks in New York, but bear in mind that it takes a lot of time (the whole trip was around 3 hours).

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The Pleven Group on its way to the Statue of Liberty.
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Leaving New York’s Harbour, Manhattan shimmers in the distance
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Ellis Island. We stopped for a second so that some people can get off there.
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Approaching the Statue of Liberty.
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The shimmering Manhattan’s Skyline as seen from Statue of Liberty’s island. Well worth the visit.

The Empire State Building – One of the Best Views of New York City

Out of the metro in Midtown Manhattan, we headed to, yes, you guessed right, the Empire State Building. Its name comes from the nickname for New York – the Empire State. The building has 102 stories and is located on Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets.

An American culture icon, it was finished back in 1931 and stood as the world’s tallest building for nearly 40 years. A must-visit place in NYC! Take a look at the breath-taking photos I took from the observatory which is located on the 86th floor.

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On our way to the Empire State Building, we passed by the New York City Library.
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This may slightly resemble the Empire State Building and we were almost…
New York City_MiddleManhattan_EmpireStateBuilding_CloseShot_Grandeur
Well, no, this is much larger.
New York City_EmpireStateBuildingObservatory_ViewofCentralPark_UpperManhattan
View of Central Park, Middle Manhattan, and Upper Manhattan from the 86th floor.
New York City_Closer shot of Central Park
Closer shot of Central Park.
New York City_EmpireStateBuildingObservatory_ViewofMiddleManhattan_Metlife_ChryslerBuilding
The Skyline. Some of the buildings (Metlife) are not the prettiest in the world, he-he.
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Lower Manhattan with the famous Flatiron (Fuller) Building somewhere in the centre.
New York City_EmpireStateBuildingObservatory_ViewofMiddleManhattan_NiceBuildings
NYC’s skyline

Madame Tussauds New York – Meet Your Favourite Celebrities…in Wax

Our tour continued with the Madame Tussauds wax museum. It is located at the very heart of Times Square. It was founded by the sculptor – Marie Tussaud. The process of making the figures, which are of very famous celebrities, royal and historical figures, is very long (around 4 months) and costs around 300,000 USD per figure.

Madame Tussauds Museum is present in many cities around the world – Berlin, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna, Wuhan, Tokyo, and many more. I took many photos inside the museum, but I intend not to bore with you more than a couple.

New York City_MadameTussaudMuseum_WillSmithvsSvet
Who is stronger? Prettier? Alright, Will, you win!
New York City_MadameTussaudMuseum_FamousCelebrities_Castro
I look quite ill-at-ease for some reason between those two.

Madison Square Garden – the Mecca of Sports

Our last stop was the Madison Square Garden. It is situated on top of Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets. Madison Square is a multi-purpose indoor arena. We did not see any venues as it was quite late but had a peek inside.

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Entering the Madison Square Garden.
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“The Knicks Rule” – Joey.
New York City_Macy's_TheWorldsLargestSotre
On our way back to the hostel, we stopped for a while at Macy’s.

I have not heard of anybody who has been neutral about his or her visit to New York City – they either love it or hate it. The Big Apple is much more than just skyscrapers and avenues. It is a city of many contradictions and contrasts. It is the charm that every big city carries. It is the people that march its streets every day – be it locals, commuters or tourists. It is a fashion capital, an Alpha++ City, a financial and trade centre. Everybody has seen it on TV, but to fully feel its magnetism you have to explore it on yourself. Go ahead – immerse yourself into this vibrant megalopolis and share with me your story.

“Imagine all the people – living for today”
John Lennon

New York City_Central Park_John Lennon Memorial


Have you been trotting through the Big Apple? Did it drizzle on you?

51 comments on “New York – the City That Never Sleeps

  1. omtripsblog

    I really enjoy your blog post! For two days, you did a great job! Such a great memories!

    My experience seeing the Statue of Liberty was the same like yours. Yes, it’s one of the largest statues in the world, but please, when I saw it with my own eyes, it looks very small to me, don’t you think? I also think that the Liberty Island is a waste of time, but I really enjoy the Ellis Island. What about you? Did you have enough time to visit the museum there?

    • Svet

      Hey, thanks for your comment! Yeah, Liberty Island was (almost) a waste of time. I was not able to visit Ellis Island, although now I believe it would have been a better idea. Well, I hope next time 🙂

  2. Eloise – MyFavouriteEscapes.com

    All this in two days?! Well done! I guess if the city never sleeps it gives you more time to explore!

    I’d love to see New York. I was impressed by Sydney’s skyline so I can’t imagine the feeling I’ll have when I’ll see these skyscrapers…!

    • Svet

      Yeah, we did cover a lot of ground, but much more could be done in two days, I am sure. Our walks were until around midnight, but back in 2007 we were not the most wanderlust people, hehe. Yeah, NYC’s skyline is exemplary, especially now with the newly-erected Freedom Tower!

  3. Dave (Silverbackpacker)

    I had a stop over in NY back in 1980…… yes a long time ago. We covered much the same itinerary as you in our 3 days there. A couple of things i remember …….. I felt so small walking around, like an ant, because of all the tall buildings so close together and secondly…. its the only city i have been to that when i asked someone the time they ran away from me………..dont know if its still the same these days.

    • Svet

      Wow, that is quite a long time ago. The skyscraper craze was still at its boom. Though, after having been to China, I am not impressed anymore.

      They ran away? haha, silly bast.. That is quite odd, but I guess in cities like these, there are people and people. I do not remember anyone running away from me, though.

  4. sara

    I love NYC! I’ve been there two times and I can’t wait to go again. I’ve done lots of things there but I never get tired of it, there’s always something new to try out! 🙂 I’m sure you had lots of fun judging by the beautiful pics!

    • Svet

      I absolutely love it too! I have been only once and I am dying to go again! We did have fun, but so much more needs to be explored!

  5. Vicki Garside

    What a packed itinerary for only 2 days! Sorry to hear you didn’t get to Ellis Island, the museum is really good! But like you say – maybe next time!

    • Svet

      Yeah, it was packed, but I believe we could have arranged it in a better way even! Yeah, people told me the museum there is great (also liked what I saw in the “Hitch” movie) :))

  6. Sabine

    2 days in New York is by far not enough, but you managed to see a whole lot of things. I’ve never been there, I’d love to go. And maybe the museum is not worth going when you only have 2 days, since it’s so big, but it looks like nevertheless a wonderful museum that’s worth going to.

    • Svet

      You got my point perfectly, Sabine! Museum visits are not for 2 days and they are certainly not enough for any big city, especially NYC 🙂

  7. wyldfamilytravel

    sounds like an excellent trip to the big apple. We have never been to America but one day maybe. Seems you ticked off all the good sights. Madison square gardens always reminds me of watching wrestling when i was kids. Just need Hulk Hogan in the middle and it would be complete. Great pictures good read

    • Svet

      Indeed it was an excellent trip. We were able to visit some great sights for 2 days, but so much more needs to be explored. Hehe, yeah, go Hulk Hogan!

  8. anneklien

    Wow NYC is on my list , id love to explore it for a week, hmmm you did well to cramp it all up in a couple of days.

  9. Jack Jack Henry

    I’ve only really seen New York in TV shows and movies. It would be surreal to visit World Square and see New York from the altitudes you did. Did you take all those shots from the Empire State Building?

    • Svet

      Yeah, I did take all the altitude shots from the Empire State Building 🙂 I am sure the Freedom Tower today offers an even better view of the city. And of course – the Top of the Rock at night.

  10. the-worldwide

    New York – the City That Never Sleeps perfect title. I loved the sky-view of the city.

  11. TheBohoChica

    I’ve never been to New York, so thank you for showing me a city that still remains on my bucket list. Also, I think the statue of Atlas is totally cool!

  12. Travelog with Jem

    Wow, NYC! I have never been to the US but that statue of Liberty is sure in my short list. If this took place in 2007 how could you have remembered everything you did? Thanks for the photos, they do help perpetuate the memory.

    • Svet

      Hehe, well, I got some of information from the photos and some thanks to Google. Most of the information I remembered vividly as it was a piece of unforgettable experience! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  13. elizabeth

    Good to see you got some great weather as well! Hey a book you might enjoy is “Time and Again” by Jack Finney. It is a novel that takes you back in time to the settlement of New Amsterdam. It is fascinating!

    • Svet

      Yeah, the weather was absolutely marvellous! Oh, thank you very much for sharing, I will definitely look it up! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  14. Nina

    I’ve been to NYC many times and it’s still one of my favourite places to visit! Admittedly though, while I’ve been to a few of their spectacular art museums I still haven’t been to the Natural Museum of History – I should change that!

  15. Sarah from Tales From a Fork

    I’m from NYC! I’m glad the rain didn’t bother you, and I agree about museums. It can be so exhausting. Hope you have time to visit NYC again soon. There’s way too much to see for a short trip.

    • Svet

      Hey, Sarah! Nope, these rains are very refreshing and exhilarating. I totally agree that 3 days are not enough to see a lot, but we managed to cover some ground, didn´t we? 🙂 I hope to visit it again soon!

  16. hrollings

    Wow, did you need a holiday to get over your holiday? Haha! You did so much in the space of two days! So many iconic locations. One thing to improve your writing… because I’m a native English speaker and I found it a bit distracting… You switch tenses very often, and sometimes in the middle of sentences, e.g. “My friends are not too happy because it started raining”, here you switched from present to past tense. Just something to keep an eye on 😉 Other than that I found it a good read!

    • Svet

      Hehe, yes, we needed a holiday especially because we travelled to Bulgaria after that so jetlag kicked in 🙂 We did cover some ground, but I am sure we could have covered more.

      Oh, yes, I remember writing it in the present tense and then decided I would rewrite it in the past. Seems that I have not checked it thoroughly. Thank you very much for the heads up! Much appreciated!

  17. nycgingeronthego

    I love NYC. You definitely hit some of the highlights. I love AMNH and despite being there 100+ times, I still haven’t seen it all, and the exhibits are always changing…just like out skyline. You have to visit the new downtown again soon. The new transit hub is amazing and new buildings are going up!

    • Svet

      I love NYC too! Yes, the highlights are always attractive for newbie tourists as we were then. Yeah, I would love to further explore the AMNH and also the new skyscrapers! Cannot wait! 🙂

  18. aberkholtz

    Good lord that’s a lot of walking!!! Was just in town and pretty much only managed to sit and eat 🙂

    • Svet

      Haha, that is true! Well, if NYC is close to you or you can visit it without a visa, then I can perfectly understand you 🙂

  19. Amandas_Wanderlust

    I have never been to NYC but it looks great – I particularly like the look of Central Park. It always amazes me that there is such an amazing green space smack bang in the middle of the city.

    • Svet

      Haha, yeah, Central Park is really amazing. It is regarded as the lungs of NY. I love it from the inside. Looks much than the rectangle from air 🙂

  20. Patricia

    Wow! You saw a lot! I worked just off of Wall Street for four years, and I’m pretty sure you saw more of the city than I did. I rarely get back, but I’d like to return to indulge in some great food and maybe a show or two (if I could get tickets).

    • Svet

      Judging by all previous comments, it seems that we really covered a lot. I thought we had not been able to see that much, but I am almost always critical to myself 🙂 I guess when you live in a city, things are much different. No, I am sure. I have lived in Sofia, Bulgaria, for more than 10 years, and I have not been to most museums. I should really do that!

  21. Cassie

    As someone who lived in NYC it’s always fascinating to see it through the eyes of a tourist! A nice reminder that places I sometimes avoided (Times Square!) can be wonderful 🙂

    • Svet

      Yes, that is very true. We tend to neglect things which we take for granted or we pass by each day. I guess that applies to the majority of people.

  22. Suma Jain

    Visiting NYC is like a life long dream for me. It’s so cool that you spent just 2 days in the city and managed to visit most of the must visit places. 🙂

  23. Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear]

    Remember how you were telling me you were working on an e-book for giveaways? You can make this into such an e-book. Add a little bit more attractions to the list and it’s a perfect guide for first comers to New York… 🙂

  24. The Adventure List

    Wow I can’t believe how much you did in 2 days. I’ve only visited the Natural History museum and Times Square. Have you been back since this visit?

  25. The Thought Card

    I’m a New Yorker and I haven’t done half the things that you have. Good stuff!

    • Svet

      Hehe, having watched “Friends” several times, I remember the one where Chandler took Erica around NYC and he loved it although he had been quite sceptical before that :)) I would love to take you around your own city when I am there, ha-ha 🙂

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