Who has never heard of one of the biggest cosmopolitan cities that is New York?! One of the many things my best friend Tara and I have in common is our love for New York City. From the first time we visited the Big Apple, it captured our hearts. The big buildings, modern architecture, the multiculturalism, great food and the social and political environment that shapes NYC left a considerable impact on us to a certain extent that we hope to spend a period of our lives there. We will share our experiences and tips through this travel log.
A New York State of Mind
Growing up in a Western and Americanised society, our tv screens are plastered with images of the City. This attraction is what made me curious about the City. My first visit to NYC was for holiday purposes. However, what increasingly attracts me is its history. New York, previously named New Amsterdam was a settlement/colony of the Netherlands. It was named New York in 1667 when the Dutch left. Being from the Netherlands, there is an obvious initial connection – for all the wrong reasons. (Dutch colonialism; what else is new?)
Moving on from colonialism to racism and civil rights, New York was home to influential individuals such as Malcolm X: an amazing role model who stood for human rights, equality, community and overall progress. There is the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center on Broadway which serves to educate people on the issues Malcolm and Betty fought against that are unfortunately still relevant today: discrimination and inequality (amongst other things).
And of course, fast forward a few decades to 9/11 and the impact it left on the world and the drama that ensued: increase in terrorism (due to the US’ self-fulfilling prophecy of the war on terror), xenophobia and Islamophobia. However, let’s not get into politics but celebrate the energy and diversity of the City that Never Sleeps.
If I can make it there, I’m gonna make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
My second trip to NYC was this past March/April (2016) for a Model United Nations Conference. I had the opportunity to explore the City, engage in an intellectual platform on sexual and gender-based violence (a topic dear to my heart and my graduating thesis) and what if has to offer on a professional level but also got to play the tourist and visit sites that I previously did not see such as the Central Park Zoo, the MET Museum and sinful bakery shops. To explore all of NYC, I believe you would need at least two weeks. Nevertheless, there is so much to do that I am confident that a trip to this special city will leave you hungry for more (I say this based on experience!). Below you will find a list of sites to visit and food places to eat at!
Tara’s Story – Sky is the Limit
After she graduated high school, Tara decided to take a little break from school. She always wanted to travel around the world, but realised that was not realistic for her (yet). After some research she went abroad to New York City and studied at an International Private School called Education First for nine months. Traditionally, she stayed there at a campus next to the school, which was perfect. What made the experience a bit more extra and international were the people. For example, she shared a big room with three other international students from Venezuela, Peru and France. At the beginning, naturally she was very nervous, since she had never been to New York City before – let alone move there. Nevertheless, it was absolutely the best experience in her life. She met a lot of people in New York City and made a lot of International friends who she’s still in contact with.
If you have the chance to go to New York City we would definitely recommend you to go there. Try to stay there for two weeks, so you can really see and taste the Big Apple. New York City changed us a lot in terms of ambition, growth and dreams.
Zerza, Dos Caminos, Rosella’s Pizza, Levain Bakery (amazing cookies), Eately, Shake Shack, Dough (everything cookie dough), Dominique Ansel Bakery (for the famous cronut: mix between a croissant and donut), Paris Baguette, Doughnut Plant, The Doughnut Project, Georgetown Cupcakes, Crumbs Bake Shop, Schmackery’s (also great cookies), Sweet Corner Bakeshop (for Nutella red velvet cookies).
Now, pictures are worth more than a thousand words, right?
SOHO, 42nd Street, Central Park, Governors Island, the Upper East Side, Brooklyn (DUMBO for views), Financial District, the Standard High Line rooftop, High Line Park, the Sky Terrace at the Hudson Hotel, Rockefeller Center; Top of the Rock (for super views), Metropolitan Museum of Art, Little Italy: Italian American Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Malcolm X Memorial Center, Guggenheim, Jewis Museum, Pierpont Morgan Library, Gotham Comedy Club and of course, Broadway and Times Square.