New York is always a good idea.
Du 20 au 29 décembre 2013
10 jours
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I was chatting with a friend of mine last week, and she asked me to write an article about New York as she is heading there in April. I am staying in today - the weather is pretty depressing - so I thought; why not! 😀

Everything started in Canada. As you may - or may not - know, I spent a semester in Québec city for my Masters in 2013. It was a great moment of my life; I need to write about it as well. When I was there, I thought: I have to go to NYC! The city of dreams! I guess everyone agrees that NYC is a place to visit once in a lifetime. I had a look at the map, and noticed that Boston was "on the way". The funny thing is: I was in Ireland in summer 2013, where I met some lovely people from Boston. I sent them an email about my plan, and they invited me to spend a couple of days at their place! 😀 I was not a traveling master at the time, and therefore I bought a plane ticket from Québec to Boston with a connection in Toronto - which is stupid when you look at the map. Anyways. My first flight was very early on the 20th of December, and I remember I took a taxi from Université Laval to Québec airport at 3.00 am. I flew without problem to Toronto, but then discovered that my second flight was postponed due to snow storms by... 8 hours! :O I did not have a phone at that time and tried to contact my friends in Boston by email, but could not make sure if they received my news... It was very worrying and tiring for me. I remember Skyping with my mum from Starbucks (or probably from Tim Hortons! 😀) while waiting at Toronto airport. I eventually flew to Boston. Sarah, Christine and Mark's daughter, apparently received my email and Mark was waiting for me at the airport. Everything went well, I was relieved. He drove me to their house, a huge and pretty house in a nice neighbourhood. It was my first time in the United States of America. Christine and Mark had invited some friends over and prepared a great dinner for me; sadly I was completely exhausted and went to bed quite early. On the next day, Sarah had some plans but her parents showed me around Boston before catching my bus to New York City. They are lovely people, I hope I will meet them again some day! 😀

Christine and Mark treating me cupcake in Boston 

What I remember from Boston. I expected a huge city and it actually felt quite small to my eyes. It was all white with the snow but it felt warm to me - probably after being in Québec for so long! 😉 I am afraid I do not remember all the names of the places where we went because it was such a long time ago... 😥 But I will do my best! We started with Harvard University, not too bad! 😉 Harvard was established in 1636. It is a private Ivy League research university, and one of the world's most prestigious universities. Mark also showed me his office (I do not remember exactly where), which has a nice view on the city.

Harvard University 
Nice view from Mark's office 

After that, we headed to the city centre and went for a nice walk in the Public Garden. It attracts visitors from all over the world, and is famous for the Make Way for Ducklings statues. Make Way for Ducklings is actually a children's picture book, first published in 1941! The park was also full of squirrels - of course - and I could not resist trying to catch one or two...! 😉 PS: one can notice that I hold a coffee in my hand, it was the first (and last) time I had a take-away coffee while walking! 😀 I am French, dudes.

Boston's Public Garden 

After that, we went for my very first cupcake. We also wandered in the streets and shops, and ended up at Boston Public Library. It was founded in 1848, and contains about 19 million books!

Boston Public Library 

I do not remember where we went after that, whether it was a river or a lake, but it looked nice! 😉

Walk 

Mark and Christine then drove me to the coach station, where I caught a 4-hour bus to NYC. It was a fairly cheap but comfy bus, with some outlets and Wi-Fi, therefore the ride went quickly! 😀

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We started our exploration in Manhattan's Chinatown. It is home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western hemisphere. It is a big district, particularly when compared to London's Chinatown. There are, of course, a lot of Chinese people there, as well as shops and restaurants. Everything is written in Chinese characters, even on MacDonald's! 😉 What particularly surprised me in this area (and we found it very randomly) is Columbus Park. If you go there during the weekend, you are sure to find some Chinese-opera performers, some residents playing mah-jongg and cards, and some folks practising tai-chi. 😀

Chinatown, Manhattan 

From Chinatown, it is very easy to walk towards Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge. Completed in 1883, it is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the US. The Manhattan bridge is a suspension bridge. It opened to traffic in 1909. Both connect Lower Manhattan with Downtown Brooklyn spanning the East River. Tip: both bridges are walkable and are very different. Brooklyn Bridge is very crowded, but allows easy photography on the views of Lower Manhattan. Manhattan Bridge is less crowded, but photography is difficult because of the fencing.

Views on Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges 

This is apparently all for our first day! I guess we were tired from wandering, but NY has a lot more to show.

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If you have read about New York City, or if you have watched series or movies, you obviously know about Times Square. It is a major commercial intersection and touristic destination in Midtown Manhattan. This is where you can find M&M's World, Toys'R'Us and many other big shops. If you read my article about Iceland, you might have heard about my friend Courteney. Here I met her, two years later. (I apologise in advance but my pictures are very ugly! Some nice ones will come later on, I promise, so keep on reading! 😀)

Times Square 
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Our third day was also our first day of sunshine! 😀 Everyone looks a lot more beautiful in the sun, and it works for New York as well. I forgot to mention about our hotel, and more particularly breakfast... It was huge and delicious!!! lol We headed back to Times Square as we only saw it under the rain. I believe I promised you some nicer pictures... well, here they are! What do you think? 😀

Good morning New York! 
Times Square 

We then walked along the famous 5th Avenue towards Central Park. It is considered one of the most expensive and elegant streets in the world. Fancy, fancy... 😉

Along the 5th Avenue 

Central Park. Everybody has heard about Central Park. A 340 ha park in the middle of NYC. The most visited urban park in the US, and one of the most filmed location in the world. I love it! I probably took hundreds (thousands?) pictures of squirrels there. But the most interesting is the Angry Birds... lol

Central Park 

The subway took us back to Brooklyn Bridge; but, this time, we went on top of it for the sunset. One can notice loads of helicopters "in" the sunset: tourists choose this way to see the Statue of Liberty...

Brooklyn Bridge 

And this day was actually Christmas Eve! So we treated ourselves with a nice Chinese dinner in Chinatown. We were actually the only two White in the restaurant - it means it was good! 😉

Christmas Eve in Chinatown 
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On Christmas day, the sun was still with us and we took the ferry to Staten Island. Tip: if you want to see the Statue of Liberty, you can either pay for an expensive ticket OR take the Staten Island ferry for free. Yes, you read it right, for free. Guess what we did! 😉

From the Staten Island Ferry 

We then went to Brooklyn, the most populous borough of NYC (the others being Manhattan, Queens, Long Island and Staten Island) Brooklyn offers a nice view on the Manhattan's skyline.

Brooklyn 
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I will now talk to you about my favourite area in New York City: SoHo. It is also, funnily enough, my favourite area in London! 😉 SoHo (Manhattan) used to come to attention for being the location of many artists' lofts and art galleries. It is now better know for its variety of shops. Indeed, you can find absolutely anything and everything in SoHo. As a big fan of Converse, I - of course - went to the Converse store on Broadway. I wanted to buy everything but was sensible and only bought a tee-shirt and key chain! 😉

Converse store 

Do not forget to have a look at every single shop and museum in the area, you might be surprised. And end up spending a whole day there. I would love to go back some day! 😀 Another place that I loved in SoHo: the Housing Works Bookstore Café. Chilling in a café with a coffee and a cake? Possible there! 😀 You can notice on the pictures that I already started to wear my Converse tee-shirt haha.

Housing Works 

Did I mention that I was in NYC during Christmas time? I believe so! 😉 The city was probably even more magical. As you may know, there is always a huge tree and rink next to the Rockfeller Centre. Loads of people were ice-skating down there. I did not want to break myself a leg so I did not try! :P

Rockfeller 

If you watch American movies (Men in Black, Armageddon, Eternal Sunshine, Friends with Benefits...) or series, I am sure you have seen the Grand Central Terminal. It is a huge station with 44 platforms. Worth having a look and taking a couple of pictures where your favourite actors - or not - have stood! 😉

Grand Central 
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Just a cliche picture to start with. Why not! 😀

Times Square 

We headed to New York Public Library (NYPL). It is the second largest library in the US and the fourth one in the world. It was developed in the 19th century. Bryant Park is located right next to the library.

Public Library 

And a few more random pictures... Just for fun.

New York, New York 

Oh, another nice place to go, Grand Central Market! It (apparently) offers a "European-style gourmet shopping experience" (lol). As suggested by the name, it is located next to Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Market 

To end the day, I will repeat myself by saying that the world is small (tiny). My friend Pauline was in NYC with her parents and her brother as the same time than us, therefore we met in Central Park and then had dinner together, and ended up in a Jazz Club with Cosmopolitans. Such a cliche. 😀

Reunion 
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Our last day in New York city was sunny, thus we enjoyed the outdoors at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It is a 21 ha garden in the borough of Brooklyn, with a free entrance. You can enjoy some specialty gardens and collections there, such as cherry trees, a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and a water garden.

Botanic Garden 

Later in the day, we headed to JFK International Airport, where we discovered that our flight to Iceland was displayed and/or cancelled due to snow storms. I was quite stressed because we had a connection from Reykjavik to Paris, therefore we would not make it, and therefore we would be even more tired etc. But! 😀 We were very lucky and upgraded to a direct Air France flight! 😉

To conclude, I really enjoyed my stay in NYC. I think I would like to go again, to go back to SoHo and maybe to enjoy some more places. However, my favorite American city - so far - is New Orleans. I would really love to explore the West coast, particularly California. Some day! ^_^