After two years of long and hesitant wait, a plan for a New York City Day Trip was finally on the table. I will admit that this year, 2017, has been a very dry year when it comes to my travel. The fall was settling in already and hibernation of winter was knocking the door. We did not make many trips at all this summer. The craving to go out and travel somewhere was ringing the bell in my brain every passing weekend 🙂 🙂 … Finally, just a day before the 23rd September weekend, the plan for New York City Day Trip was tossed on the table and quickly sealed. Deepti checked with a couple of more families in the neighborhood and they also agreed to join us.
We had more partners in crime now 🙂 … Everyone was excited to witness the traffic, tall high rises, the Manhattan skyline and the massive crowd in the New York City 😉 😉 … Deepti was all excited as the long-awaited trip to New York City was finally going to happen. In fact, ironically, we landed in the United States in New York only and stayed for a week. However, we did not see or roam around much due to jet lag, office work pressure, freezing cold and insecurity of being away from home in India for the first time. To be frank enough, I am never fascinated by places without much nature, peace, and especially mountains but I believe now that’s the way of life going forward 🙂 🙂 … Hence, for me, it was just like a family outing in New Delhi without the skyscrapers, lighting and waterfronts 😛 😆 …
About New York City
Before I dive into the travel tale of our day trip to New York City, let’s first know some quick things about the city of lights and dreams. New York City or NYC is the most densely populated city in the United States. It is located on one of the largest natural harbors in the world known as the New York Harbour. Lying on the far down southern corner of New York state, the New York City consists of five boroughs known by the names Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and the Staten Island. The life in New York City is so fast that it characterizes a common term, “New York Minute“. The term is meant to be an instant or a flash describing you getting a horn from the driver in New York City as soon as the signal turning to green from red 🙂 🙂 … In New York City, you will find ample of diversities in people, culture, cuisines, languages, opportunities, and entertainment. Hosting three of the top 10 most visited attractions in the world, no wonder why people call New York City as one of the most popular and most photographed tourist destinations in the world. You will need months to explore every aspect of the New York City. We knew this fact and hence, we kept our plan simple and straight. You can read much more about New York city in detail at the wiki link here.
New York City Day Trip from Lansdale, PA
Coming back to the story, the plan was set to leave at 7.30 AM but we did a fair job of leaving at 8.20 AM from our home at Lansdale. We had eggs for the breakfast and Satya also brought up some Donuts from Dunkins. The weather was sunny and very pleasant. The drive from Lansdale to New York City is about 102 miles via I-276 E and I-95. However, our plan was to drive to Exchange Place metro station at New Jersey, park the car nearby and then take the metro train (PATH) to reach the world trade center metro station in Manhattan, NYC. It is just one station away and helps you beat the mad traffic of New York. So, if you are like me, who stays away from roads full of traffic, it is one of the best ways to reach New York. Over the weekend, you can also find free parking slots as well on the street between the Colgate clock and Exchange place station. However, since there were a couple of families with us, we had booked our parking already at the Trump Tower for $10 for the whole day. Trump tower was just 10 minutes walk from Exchange Place PATH station.
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Apnesh and Satya led the pack as we had to pick up water and fruits from Wegmans on the way as well. The drive over the highways are usually plain and boring with nothing exciting than talking among ourselves. After a couple of hrs at 10.50 AM, we were at the parking as Satya and Apnesh families were already waiting for us to arrive. Once all three kids met, it was all mayhem 😆 … Everyone ate Idlis brought by Apnesh family and we started the walk towards Exchange Place metro station. Well, when you visit Exchange Place metro station, you can also reach the waterfront it is connected with NYC by an underwater tunnel by the PATH metro. So, we spent some time there at the waterfront to enjoy the beautiful view of NYC downtown skyline. There is a big Colgate Clock as well just five minutes walk from there but we decided to skip it.
After clicking some pictures, it was time to head to the main attraction of the day, the New York City. We purchased the Metro card at the PATH station that would help us commuting the Subway (metro train) within New York City as well. Initially, we purchased only two metro cards and wanted to use them one by one to get all nine of us entries. However, it did not work out. It worked for 2-3 times but then it did not let more pass through even after having enough amount in it. It was very confusing and then Apnesh got another card and came through. Frankly speaking, I found the metro stations of New Delhi are far more informational than NYC but then I guess you have to get used to it. We worked out our way to correct trains by some help from folks around. Well, the train was fully loaded and I was just squeezed in by the closing doors in the packed crowd. At one time, I felt of giving up and catching the other train. As it was just one station apart, it took no time for us to reach the world trade center station at NYC.
As we reached the upper level from the station, WOW was the first word coming out of mouth 🙂 🙂 … The design of the station and interior was a sight to fathom the excellence of people who designed and built it. It was whiteness galore, purely simple and superb as if plucked from Apple designs 🙂 … There was a funny incident happened as we were coming out of the turnstiles, Srisha put the kid’s stroller in it and it got stuck and the fire alarm was also set off in parallel 😥 😀 . We tried a lot of option but it was completely stuck. Finally, Satya came and he knew the way to collapse it, then some power and aahh, finally it came out. It was a sigh of relief 😀 😀 … A good welcome and start to the trip, I shall say !!
As we came out of the world trade center PATH station, we went to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza built for paying a tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future. It was a humbling to see the names of all those who had perished in the tragedy been honored in bronze around the waterfalls. We skipped seeing the museum as there was a big queue. Took some pictures and carried on ahead. The marathon walk in New York had just begun and my Fitbit Charge 2 tracker had already clocked 5K steps. I was pretty sure I am gonna beat the 20K mark today 😀 … We planned to stay around Battery Park area of Manhattan downtown, covering the World Trade Center memorials, Charging Bull of Wallstreet, Staten Island Ferry Ride and finally the twilight cruise tour of New York City followed by the walk at the Times Square, Broadway Street.
The first spot was the disappointing condition of the charging bull, pretty much buried under the pressure of people clicking the pictures of it from all corners. My son was earlier excited to know about the bull but seeing the rush, he kept mum and said let’s continue the walk dad 😀 … Like father, like son 😉 😉 .. We bought some street food as egg rolls and falafel with rice and ate it at Staten Island Ferry station. It was becoming harder and harder to keep a check on the kids and their naughtiness. The Staten Island ferry is free and runs every 30 minutes. A good ride I will say and also offer a distant view of Statue of Liberty and nice with of Manhattan downtown skyline while it rides away from it. We did not go out on the Staten Island and just hopped on the next ferry leaving the island. While coming back, we got the view of Statue of Liberty as we were on the left side of the ferry this time. So, while leaving New York, you should be on the right-hand side and on the left-hand side while coming back, preferably on the 2nd floor 🙂 … I will suggest the Staten Island Ferry ride for everyone visiting the New York City and not interested in spending money on paid tours. It was good time spent and kids enjoyed the ride too.
After reaching back, the exhaustion was on the faces of everyone so we decided to skip the twilight cruise tour of New York City and head straight to 42nd Street at Times Square and then walk around to reach Broadway Street. The Subway station is just outside the Staten Island Ferry station, we took the subway to 42nd Street. This time the card swipes worked better as we got the trick of waiting for some time before swiping for next person. Also, three cards helped as well to even out the load 🙂 … It took about 15 minutes to reach the 42nd street. It was a long way up and out from the station to came to the ground.
Times Square, located at the cross-section of Broadway and 7th Avenue in New York City, is one of the most popular and busiest a tourist destination in the world. It draws about a whopping 50 million visitors every year 😯 . As you might have read at the Wikipedia link as well, Times Square is sometimes referred to as “The Crossroads of the World”,”The Center of the Universe”,”the heart of The Great White Way”, and the “heart of the world” 🙂 🙂 … Spanning over from 42nd West Street to 47th West Street, Times Square weaves a blanket of brightly illuminated billboards and flashing advertisements. It also acts as a major center for the world’s entertainment industry and hub for the famous Broadway Theater District. Once you reach the cross-section, you will be confused and bedazzled by the fast pace of life running around you. It feels like life has suddenly come into a fast forward mode as everything is moving around you at the drop of a hat 😀 😀 … The aura of the place will simply sweep you by your feet.
After roaming for around 2-2.5 hrs around Times Square, it was time to take the subway back to World Trade Center and then take the PATH back to exchange place. It was a smooth transit this time except the train going to World Trade Center was not working and we had to take another train that dropped us around half a mile before it. We walked back to PATH station from there and took the train back to Exchange Place. Well, for the first time in last two years of my stay in the United States, I felt a bit uneasy in a public place. Thanks to some arrogant young desis, who were high enough with their youths not to respect the families and children around them. But, you can’t blame the tantrum of their young age when youth is at its peak. Do you?? 😉
Thankfully the ride was for just about 5-7 minutes and we reached the Exchange Place to pick up our cars from the parking. This time the night view across the Hudson River of Manhattan skyline, twinkling in the night, was worth watching from Exchange Place. I will say, that you should not miss the night view across the river on any New York city trip. In fact, for a much better mid-town night view of Manhattan, you should go to Hoboken as well. We were running out of time as the plan was to reach Edison Indian Street for some Indian food at dinner, so we skipped going to Hoboken. Unfortunately, we could not even leave in time to reach Edison as well before the restaurants close down there too. Hence, we skipped our dinner and drove non-stop to our home. Of course, on the way back we ate some fruits in the car as the kiddo slept in the seat. We reached at 12.00 AM at home and just crashed on the bed. It was a long, long day trip to New York City.
In The End
The trip was bloody tiring and exhausting but it was equally much fun too in the end. It was one of those trips where you smell about a place which will be visited more often in time to come… Next time onward we will be making more focused trips to New York City. Those trips could be like trying Indian cuisines in Indian restaurants or indulge in specific activities like twilight cruise tour of NYC, going on the top floor of World One observatory or Empire State Building, check out Madame Tussauds museum, etc.. to name a few. Hence, the stories of New York trips on my blog will keep coming :)… Have you been to New York City? If you have any suggestions or tips for me or other travelers planning their day trips to New York City, please share them in the comments section of the article below.
Are you traveling in USA and love beaches? Well, did you get a chance to read my travel tale on Family Road Trip to Outer Banks – Nags Head, NC.