New York: Inside the Concrete Jungle

1:00 AM

New York is all about the energy. I can feel the vibe as I was walking along Times Square, with ‘Welcome to New York’ by Taylor Swift as my soundtrack, and the vibrant billboards as my backdrop.

It has been 15 years since I last went to New York City. The memory of this city they call THE CONCRETE JUNGLE was just a blurred picture, and yet, I still remember the flashy bright lights and the noisy streets of New York City.

It is, indeed, a beautiful chaos.

The city that never sleeps

Maneuvering around New York City is very difficult, especially when travelling with your parents. But on the other hand, I get to stay in one the finest hotels in NYC -- Marriott Marquis, where I can see the busy Times Square on my window. Every time I look down below, the streets were always packed with people and cars.

We arrived in NYC a day before Thanksgiving. The very first thing we did upon arrival was that we searched for an Asian Cuisine Restaurant. I highly recommend the Thai Restaurant in 8th Avenue – Chai Thai Kitchen. It was so good, that I forgot to take photos of the food and the place.

After dinner, we went to Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas tree.

Radio City, along 6th Avenue.

The Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center was not finished then when we went there.

The light show at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Thanksgiving in NYC

The next day, we woke up around 5:00 am to prepare for the thanksgiving parade. The parade started at 9:00am. But before that, we went down to witness a less crowded Times Square.

View from our room in Marriott Marquis at 5:00am.

Thanks to my jetlag, my body clock was so jammed.

6th Avenue was packed with people, as the parade brightens the sky with colorful floats of Hello Kitty, Sponge Bob, Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

We endured the cold, windy weather just to witness the Thanksgiving parade.

Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas Season.

Right after having our turkey, we went to Bryant Park for some outdoor Ice Skating. The original plan was to skate in Rockefeller Center but it was too crowded.

It was my first time to skate on an outdoor skating rink. As a Filipino skater who grew up in a skating rink inside a mall, the feeling was very liberating. I can see the Empire State Building while skating on an open space. I love the feeling of gliding on smooth ice while under the stars.

For the first time since we arrived in the US, I did not feel cold. It actually felt warm despite being on the ice. On top of that, it was drizzling. But I didn’t mind; it actually made the experience more worthwhile. 

Rekindling with my first love: Ice Skating

The Land of the Free

The next day, we went to see the Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Our New York trip would not be complete without seeing Lady Liberty. 

The tour costs $18 per person, which includes boat transportation from Battery Park to both islands.

With Mommy. Bought a liberty headband in Battery Park for $3.

Ellis Island.

View from Ellis Island. The day is about to end.

While riding a boat going back to Manhattan. 

As we head down back to Manhattan, the city’s energy was just starting to rise. It’s not the kind of energy that will leave you restless on the following day; it’s the kind of energy that will boost your spirit for years. While others would call it the Big Apple, Empire City, Gotham or The City that never Sleeps, I would like to stick to its nickname – The Concrete Jungle. As Alicia Keys would say, it is where dreams are made of, where the people’s ambitions are as high as the buildings of New York.

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