Travelling

Orasul care nu doarme niciodata: New York, New York

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New York, Brooklyn Bridge

Visam la orasul de mica, de cand ma uitam la seriale! si am ajuns, finally!

E o emotie puternica atunci cand pui piciorul pe asa mult asteptatul pamant American!

EN: I’ve been dreaming about this city since I was a little girl, when I used to watch TV series about it. And I finally got to New York!

Stepping foot on American land was a dream come true!

Ca sa ajungi in New York din Bucuresti e clar ca vei face o escala. Noi am optat pentru escala in Germania, pe atunci de teama atacurilor teroriste din Franta, Anglia, Belgia…Am zburat cu Luftansa la dus (conditii decente) si ne-am intors cu escala prin Frankfurt calatorind cu Swiss (conditii excelente).

Usor obositi dupa orele de zbor (by the way, zbor lin, fara turbulente – perfect), ne-am lasat amprentele la check out si am tulit-o de nerabardare spre iesire!

Cand aterizezi in New York, te astepti sa fii precum Kevin din Singur acasa 2, sa vezi sky scrapers, insa esti destul de aproape de un cartier care e destul de gri (Queens) cu cladiri mici si inca nu realizezi ca esti in f***** New York!

Strazile sunt foarte aglomerate, nu iti recomanda nimeni sa iei taxiul. Am apelat, cu un bon de ordine in functie de numele hotelului, la un microbus care grupa 6-8 oameni care aveau hotelurile pretty close. Am platit in jur de 10 $ / persoana, iar calatoria a durat 40 minute.

EN: In order to get to New York from Bucharest, it is pretty obvious that you’ll have a layover. We decided to the flight with the layover in Germany, because, at the time, we were scared of the terrorist attacks from France, England and Belgium… We flew by Luftansa one way (decent conditions) and, on the way back, we had a layover in Frankfurt, flying by Swiss (excellent conditions).

A bit tired after flying for so long (by the way, we had a smooth flight, we had no turbulences- it was perfect), we left our fingerprints at check-out and headed excitedly to the exit!

When you land in New York, you expect to be like Kevin from Home Alone 2, to see sky scrapers, but, in fact , you’re pretty close to a dull neighbourhood (Queens), with small buildings and you are yet to realise that you are in f***** New York!

The streets are really crowded, no one advises you to call a cab. Using a ticket from our hotel, we ended up going by a small bus, which took 6-8 people in order to get them to their hotels. We payed around 10$ per person and the trip lasted for 40 minutes.

Dupa ce am trecut de Queens, ne-am lipit nasurile (la propriu) de ferestrele autobuzului – totul era fix, dar fix ca in filme, cladiri immense, totul parea desenat, agitatie (chiar ca orasul ce nu doarme niciodata), multe yellow cabs, super aglomeratie, dar happy people! Disparuse tot somnul!

EN: After we passed Queens, we couldn’t take our eyes of the windows of the bus- everything was exactly like in the movies, huge buildings, everything seemed rather drawn than real, restlessness (fitting for the city that never sleeps), a lot of yellow cabs, very crowded, but, overall, happy people! We didn’t even feel sleepy anymore!

Unde am stat in New York:

Well, am zis ca fie ce-o fi, noi stam in down town. Am tot cautat pe Airbnb cu care mergem mai mereu, insa nu am gasit ceva care sa ne placa si pe la 100$ maxim / noapte si am gasit pe Booking.com un hotel fix in Times Square, pretty decent cu 110$ / noapte: Econo Lodge Times Square

Mă simțeam ca în filme cu scara de incendiu la geam :))

Din acest loc am mers aproape peste tot pe jos, gaseam foarte usor obiectivele turistice si doar de vreo 2x am luat metroul! So highly recommended – cazare langa Times Square.

EN: Where Did We Stay at in New York:

Well, we decided that regardless of anything, we’d stay in the down town. We looked and looked on Airbnb, which we most often use, for something that we liked, but we couldn’t find anything within our 100 $ max per night budget, so we ended up booking a hotel right near Times Square, for 110 $ a night, so pretty decent: Econo Lodge Times Square

I felt just like in the movies having the fire escape right next to our window!

From this place we walked almost everywhere, we were able to easily find the touristic spots and we only took the metro two times! So highly recommended- accommodation near Times Square

Ce am trait?

Nu aveam rabdare sa dormim, evident! Ne-am lasat bagajele si am si iesit din hotel!

Ziua 1 – Pierduti in New York!

Pur si simplu ne-am plimbat prin Times Square (toate luminile stradale, reclamele te acapareaza, o forfota pe care o asteptam si de care nu ne saturam). Nu intelegeam unde isi fac toti oamenii poze in Times Square astfel incat sa se vada aproape toate cladirile imprejur – este amenajata o panta pe care te uiti si dai drumul la selfie-uri J . La cateva strazi mai incolo, dai de The New York Times building (mai ai un pic si cazi de cat te lasi pe spate sa poti vedea varful cladirii 🙂

Am facut un check la teatrele de pe Broadway – in ultima seara am fost la Majestic – teatrul la care se joaca The Phantom of the Opera; povestesc mai incolo

EN: What Did We Experience?

We didn’t have the patience to sleep, obviously! We left our bags and ran out of the hotel!

Day 1- Lost in New York!

We basically took a walk through Times Square (all the street lights and the ads steal your eyes, a type of restlessness that we had been waiting for and we couldn’t get enough of). We couldn’t understand how people managed to take pics so that all the buildings behind them would show- there’s a special ramp to take selfies from. A few streets down the road, you can find the famous The New York Times building (you can also almost fall from going back so much in order to see its top) 

We checked out the Broadway theatres- we went to Majestic during the last night- where “The Phantom of the Opera” plays; I’ll talk about this experience later

Ziua 2 – New York de sus, de sus!

 Tot cu emotie si nerabdare ne-am trezit de pe la 6 a.m in New York si am pornit pe strazi (nici nu spuneai ca e asa dimineata, era o forfota continua)

Am mers la Rockfeller Center – inca era patinoarul (am mers la sfarsit de Martie) si apoi la National Public Library (trebuie neaparat vazuta) – cea de-a doua cea mai frumoasa biblioteca din lume, dupa cea din Praga.

EN: Day 2- New York from Above!

We woke up with the same excitement as the first day, at around 6 a.m. and we started wandering on the streets (you couldn’t even tell that it was so early in the morning, it was a continuous restlessness)

We went to Rockfeller Center- the rink was still there (we went at the end of March) and then at the National Public Library (it’s a must see)- it’s the second most beautiful library in the world, after the one in Prague

National Public Library, New York

Am mers sa mancam la un super restaurant local (mai mereu cautam unde mananca localnicii). Mihai gaseste mereu super restaurant autentice. Se numeste Five Napkin Burger, absolut delicious, tipic American, in celebrul cartier Hell’s Kitchen (abia atunci am realizat ca hotelul nostru apartinea acestui cartier :))

Ne-am tot plimbat prin Hell’s Kitchen si cand am ajuns intr-un magazine de antichitati, aproape ca imi venea sa nu mai ies de acolo (super obiecte vintage, frumoase, ieftine; asta e super tare in NY – iti iei haine misto  si obiecte super ieftine, platesti mult la restaurant (in jur de 100-120 dolari/cuplu; atentie la tips: mereu se asteapta la minim 20% din nota si ti-l calculeaza ei pe bon ca recomandare) si pe cazare J

Apoi, ne-am tot intrebat, ce sa facem, in ce turn sa urcam pentru a vedea tot orasul. Evident ca oriunde citeai, toti iti recomandau sa urci in Empire State Building. Pe langa faptul ca era super scump, cum sa nu vezi Empire State Building alaturi de panorama orasului, fiind deja in el? Asa ca, am optat sa urcam in Rockfeller Center top (34$ / adult)  si astfel, am putut vedea tot NY-ul, including Empire State Building 🙂

EN: We ate at an amazing local restaurant (we almost always look for places where locals eat). Mihai always manages to find amazing authentic restaurants. It’s called Five Napkin Burger, absolutely delicious, an American classic, in the famous Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood (it was at that moment that we realised that our hotel was from that neighbourhood also :))

We took a walk through Hell’s Kitchen and, when we arrived at an antiques shop, I almost did not want to leave that place (amazing vintage objects, beautiful and cheap; this is the amazing thing about New York- you can buy really nice clothes and objecs for very cheap, but you have to pay more at restaurants (around 100-120 $ for a couple; be careful about the tips: they always expect around 20% of the bill and they even do the maths for you on the check as a recommendation) and for accommodation

We kept asking ourselves what should we do next, to what sky scraper to go to in order to see the whole city. Of course that everywhere you looked, everyone suggested you to go to The Empire State Building. Besides the fact that it was really expensive, how could you see the Empire State Building next to the panoramic view of the city, if you were already in it? So we decided to visit the Rockfeller Center Top (34 $ per adult) and, this way, we could see the whole New York, including the Empire State Building 

Ziua 3: Elis Island si Statuia Libertatii!

Ne-am incumetat sa luam metroul, care e destul de complicat pana il intelegi…sunt trenuri care te iau din punctul x si te duc direct in punctul y fara sa opreasca in statii, altele normale, dar la metrou sunt tot felul de harti interactive

Am luat metroul pentru a ajunge in portul din care pleca vaporul pentru a vizita Statuia Libertatii si Elis Island. Mai multe info aici

Noi ni le-am luat online pentru a evita aglomeratia si mai ales sa nu mergi degeaba si locurile sa fie deja ocupate in ziua respectiva. Am luat un tur care include si Elis Island (25$, including ferryboat)

Ai un sentiment genial pe masura ce te indepartezi de Manhattan  si te apropii de Statuie..

Elis Island a pastrat mult din ce a fost odinioara si gasim aici si portretul unui taran roman care a emigrat in USA. Mi-a trecut prin minte imaginea din Nasul II in care il regasim pe Don Corleone trecand granita spre New York.

Satui de atata mancare Americana, am decis sa vizitam si cartierele Little Italy si Chinatown (nu il recomand pe cel din urma, destul de periculos, iti strica buna dispozitie). In schimb, Little Italy, chiar e Little Italy (stradute frumos decorate, fara sky scrapers, aer italienesc la tot pasul, rstaurante bune). Am mancat la Pepe Roso Sociale

EN: Day 3: Elis Island and The Statue of Liberty!

We decided to take the subway, which is pretty complicated until you understand it… there are trains that pick you up from an X point and take you to an Y point without stopping in stations, others that are normal, but there are different kinds of interactive maps there

We took the subway in order to get to the seaport that a ship was leaving from, so as to visit The Statue of Liberty and Elis Island. More info here

We booked the tickets online in order to stay away from the crowd and also not to uselessly go there if the places are already sold out for the day. We booked a tour that includes Elis Island also (25 $, including the ferryboat)

You get an amazing feeling once you go further of Manhattan and you get closer to the Statue…

Elis Island kept a lot of the authentic vibe that once was during the golden times and there also is a portrait of a Romanian countryman who emigrated in the USA. I had flashbacks from The Godfather II, where it portrays Don Corleone crossing the border to New York.

Sick of all the American food, we decided to visit The Little Italy and Chinatown neighbourhoods (I don’t advise you to go to the last one, it’s pretty dangerous and it kills the good mood). On the other hand, Little Italy is actually Little Italy (nicely decorated streets, with no sky scrapers, an Italian vibe at every step of the way and good food). We ate at Pepe Roso Sociale

Little Italy, New York

Ziua 4 – Dorinte de copii!

Mi-am dorit sa vizitez acel cartier care are cladirile emblematice din Sex and the City, East Village, iar Mihai m-a dus direct la apartamentul lui Carrey Bradshaw din Sex and the City 1 🙂 Nu am putut intra, insa l-am vazut de afara 🙂

EN: Day 4- Childish Desires!

I really wanted to visit that neighbourhood that has all the emblematic buildings from Sex and the City, East Village, so Mihai took me directly to the apartament of Carry Bradshaw from Sex and the City 1 🙂We couldn’t get in, but we admired it from the outside

West Village, New York

Apoi, am pornit spre Brooklyn Bridge, pe care l-am parcurs pe jos in 40 minute. La capatul podului se afla celebra cafenea The River Café  care iti ofera cea mai frumoasa priveliste a New York-ului – highly recommended

EN: We then headed to the Brooklyn Bridge, that we covered by foot in 40 minutes. At the end of the bridge there was the famous The River Café that promises to bring you the most beautiful view of New York-highly recommended

Ziua s-a incheiat cu inchirierea unei biciclete in tandem prin Central Park, care este imens si ar trebui sa iti aloci vreo 3 ore pentru a-l parcurge. Am trecut, bineinteles, si pe la piciorul podului in care Kevin (Singur Acasa 2) i-a daruit turturelele cersetoarei in semn de prietenie 🙂 Magic memories

Iarrrr, seara s-a incheiat cu magical show de la Teatrul Majestic, The Phantom of the Opera – o capodopera, sala de o frumusete rara. Ne-am achizitionat biletele de aici (60 $ / persoana) cu vreo 2 luni inainte

EN: We ended the day by renting a tandem bycicle in Central Park, which is huge so you should spend at least 3 hours to go through it. Of course, we passed by the foot of the bridge where Kevin (Home Alone 2) gifted the beggar woman some turtle doves as a friendship sign. Magic memories

The night then ended with a magical show at the Majestic Theatre, The Phantom of the Opera- a masterpiece, the hall was of an astonishing beauty. We purchased the tickets from here (60 $ per person) about 2 months prior to the show

Broadway, New York

Ziua 5 – Jiu Jitsu?

Mihai e pasionat de Jiu Jitsu Brazilian si evident ca ne-am interesat de o sala la care sa participe pentru un antrenament. Am gasit-o pe a marelui Renzo Gracie. So, cine e pasionat, highly recommended, zice sotul J:)

EN: Day 5- Jiu Jitsu?

Mihai is passionate about Brasilian Jiu Jitsu and of course we had to search for a sports club so he could take part in a training. We found the one of the famous Renzo Gracie. So, for everyone who’s passionate about this sport, highly recommended, as my husband says 🙂

Câteva ponturi aici:

  • Visul American merita trait de toti, chiar si in calitate de turist – iti va ramane in suflet pentru ca ai crescut cu filmele lor, muzica lor
  • Mergi in orice anotimp – noi am mers primavara, a fost destul de frig, dar vremea chiar nu mai conteaza, esti in New York!!!

EN: Some Tips:

  • The American Dream should be lived by everybody, even as a tourist- it’s going to stick with you because you grew up with their movies, their music
  • You can go in any season- we went during Spring, it was pretty chilly, but the weather doesn’t ultimately matter, you’re in New York!!!

Daca ti-a spus cineva ca e greu sa iti iei viza, te-a pacalit.

  • E super usor atata vreme cat citesti cu atentie informatiile de pe site-ul ambasadei, nu minti in formularul de inscriere si esti super sincer la interviu; pe scurt aici se explica pas cu pas ce trebuie sa faci
  • Noi am obtinut-o rapid, a contat ca lucram in multinationala, am fost onesti si am spus ca mergem in vacanta (honeymoon), nu am avut nicio problema;
  • Se recomanda foarte clar sa nu iti iei biletul de avion inainte, cazare, etc! Asa ca evita orice situatie neplacuta!

EN: If someone told you that it was hard to get a visa, they lied to you.

  • It’s really easy as long as you read all the information provided on the Embassy’s website carefully, you don’t lie in the sign up form and you’re really honest during the interview; on a whole, everything is explained step by step here
  • We got it quickly, it also mattered that we were working at a multinational company, we were honest and said that we were going on vacantion (honeymoon), so we had no problem with it;
  • They clearly advise you not to book  anything like plane tickets or accommodation before getting the visa! So stay out of any unpleasant situations!

Yummy taste in New York

  • Mananca la restautantele localnicilor in cartiere faine, precum Hell’s Kitchen (vezi sugestii in articol)
  • Bacsisul minim e 10%, maxim si 30% – chelnerii nu il includ in nota, insa ti-l scriu ca recomandare la sfarsitul notei, iti calculeaza ei cat reprezinta 10%, cat 30%, stai fara grija! Ideea e ca mereu asteapta bacsis, se si intorc la tine dupa ce ti-au dat restul
  • Orice cumperi, cere small pentru ca o cafea medie pentru ei inseamna ca iti dau una la 300-400 ml!
  • Aperitivul inseamna cat o masa normala la noi – eu am luat aripioare as appetizer si m-am trezit cu 13 aripi in farfurie si 4 sosuri
  • Celebrele restaurant TGI Friday’s , Hard Rock, Mc Donald’s, etc sunt considerate restaurantele oamenilor strazii, iar mancarea nu-i chiar asa buna..
  • Nu opta pentru mic dejun la hotel – e destul de anost, extrem de procesat; mai bine ia-l in oras
  • Ia-ti macar intr-o dimineata o gogoasa si o cafea de la Starbuck, aproape 98% dintre humans of New York umbla asa pe strada; e atat de misto incat intr-o dimineata mi-am luat si eu si m-am simtit de-a lor
  • Cazarea, mancarea sunt scumpe (100-120$ masa pentru 2 pers la restaurant), hainele sunt ieftine, obiectivele turistice destul de piperate, iar transportul medium

EN: Yummy taste in New York

  • Eat at the locals’ restaurants in nice neighbourhoods, like Hell’s Kitchen (check our recommendations in the article)
  • The minimum tip is 10% and the maximum is 30%- the waiters don’t include it in the bill, but they put it  at the end of the check, they calculate how much 10% or 30% means, so don’t worry about it! The idea is that they always expect a tip, they even come to you after they bring back your change
  • Regardless of what you buy, ask for a small coffee because a medium one means around 300-400 ml!
  • The appetizer is just like a regular meal from our contry- I asked for wings as an appetizer and I received 13 wings and 4 sauces
  • The famous restaurants TGI Friday’s , Hard Rock, Mc Donald’s, etc are considered to be the restaurants of the homeless people and the food isn’t that great…
  • Don’t have breakfast at the hotel- it’s pretty dull, extremely processed, get it from a takeaway
  • Get for at least one morning a donut and coffee from Starbucks, almost 98% from the humans of New York have these, it’s so awesome that one morning I decided to buy those myself and felt like one of them
  • The accommodation, the food are expensive (100-120 $ for a 2 people meal at a restaurant), the clothes are cheap, the touristic spots are pretty pricey too, and the public transportation is medium

Mandatory to see in New York

  • Studiaza cu atentie harta metrourilor din New York, este mega complicat in prima faza
  • Mergi neaparat la cel putin un spectacol pe Broadway (afla mai multe din articol)
  • Viziteaza Statuia Libertatii si Elis Island
  • Plimba-te pe strazi – e un oras foarte logic, iar strazile sunt construite perpendicular, nu te pierzi
  • Apeleaza mereu la politisti – sunt la tot pasul, sunt extrem de amabili (nu degeaba se spune ca in America s-a inventat customer service-ul)
  • Cumpara-ti in avans biletele la obiectivele turistice (vezi in articol ce ti-am recomandat pentru top view)
  • Mergi in cartiere alaturate
  • Daca poti, luati-va o calatorie cu elicopterul deaspura orasului – amazing; noi nu am apucat, dar cand revenim, e pe primul loc.

EN: Mandatory to see in New York

  • Study carefully the map of the subway from New York, it’s really complicated in the first place
  • Go to at least one Broadway show (find out more about this in the article)
  • Visit the Statue of Libertyand Elis Island
  • Go for walks- it’s a very logical city, the streets are perpendicular, you can’t get lost
  • Always ask the cops- they’re everywhere and they are really nice (it’s for a good reason people say that customer service was invented in America)
  • Try to book your tickets before going to the tourisic spots (look for the top view spots in the article)
  • Go into adjoining neighbourhoods
  • If you can, book a helicopter trip over the city- amazing, we couldn’t do it, but when we come back, it’s on top of our list.

Others

  • Fereste-te de oamenii strazii, sunt intr-adevari extrem de agresivi si drogati – mereu e in preajma un politist care ii pune la punct, but still freste-te
  • Nu folosi taxi-ul – e scump si strazile sunt mereu pline
  • Noi nu suntem fani city pass-uri, dar it’s your choice
  • Ca buget, planifica-ti cam 350$ / zi (mancare, vizite, shopping, transport); la avion sunt atatea deal-uri, totusi iti recomand Germania ca escala (fara intarzieri); Daca poti calatoreste cu Swiss – swiss elegance 🙂
  • Poarta mereu pasaportul la tine – nu cumperi nicio bautura fara sa nu ti-l ceara; ei isi pot pierde locul de munca si dreptul de a mai munci 5 ani daca sunt prinsi ca nu verifica pasaportul sau evident ca dau batura celor sub 21 ani; Mihai are 35 ani si a patit-o, nu i-au vandut cele 5 beri alese  pentru ca nu avea pasaportul la el

EN: Others

  • Stay away from homeless people, they are really aggressive -there’s always a cop to put them in their place, but it’s better to keep your distance
  • Don’t use the cab- it’s expensive and the streets are always crowded
  • We’re not fans of city passes, but it’s your choice
  • As a matter of budgeting, you spend around 350$ a day (for food, visits,shopping and transport); there are many deals for the flight, but I suggest you flying to Germany for the layover (no delays); Travel with Swiss if you can- swiss elegance 
  • Always have your passport on hand- you can’t buy any alcoholic beverages without being asked for it, the bartenders could lose their jobs and the right to work for up to 5 years if they don’t check your passport or if they obviously sell drinks to underage people; Mihai is 35 years old and he couldn’t purchase the 5 beers he wanted because he didn’t have his passport with him

Oh Doamne, vrem sa revenim – asta ne-am spus! New York, esti minunat!

EN: Oh my God, we want to come back- this is what we told ourselves! New York, you’re wonderful!

Author: Roxana Bodoc
Translation credits: to the very talented Daria Bratu

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