Start spreadin’ the news, I took a recent trip to New York City for both a medical conference and fun. The little town blues coming from Denver certainly melted away in New York, New York.
I was actually more concerned about safety in NYC compared to some of the other places I have visited given news reports of overflowing illegal migrants, homelessness, and street crime, but was pleasantly surprised to find things no worse, and perhaps better than downtown Denver.
Ellen and I arrived at LaGuardia airport. After a recent upgrade, the airport has been transformed from a dump to a clean shining airport, the type one sees in many other countries. A short Uber ride got us to our hotel in midtown on the east side, just a short walk from Fifth Avenue and Central Park.
My conference was interesting, but the fun was exploring NYC. I grew up across the Hudson River in New Jersey, so this was a bit of a homecoming.
Highlights included lunch at Katz’s Deli on Houston Street on the Lower East Side. Katz’s was featured in a classic scene from the film “When Harry Met Sally” and their pastrami sandwiches are to die for, a must visit for deli fans visiting NYC.
We also sampled several varieties of New York style pizza, enjoyed Thai food in Hell’s Kitchen and some delicious pasta and tiramisu in Little Italy. The NYC subways are an easy way to hop around town and the Google Maps app on my phone provided reliable subway options to get from here to there.
Fifth Avenue shopping was fun, visiting all the fancy (and expensive) stores including iconic Bergdorf-Goodman. Rockefeller Center is picturesque, but we were too early for the big Christmas tree.
Strolling through Central Park was a treat. It was clean and safe, far different from my high school days when we were warned to stay out or else bad things would happen.
The highlight was a visit to 9/11 Ground Zero. We took a guided tour of the area, reminding us of much we forgot or never knew about that fateful day 22 years ago. The 9/11 museum was a sad journey through events of that day with photos, videos, and artifacts.
We rode to the top of Freedom Tower, now known as One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the US and the seventh tallest in the world. From the top-level observatory one can see all of New York City including nearby Liberty and Ellis Islands.
We left NYC for a drive to Ridgewood, New Jersey where I grew up, then to Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore for a day before flying home from disorganized and chaotic Newark Airport.
Despite the bad press, NYC is truly “Top of the list, King of the hill, A number one” and well worth a visit!