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New York


New York is a popular tourist destination in new york state and one of the major centers of world culture.  A few years ago I was able to visit New York City and had a chance to see a number of the sights and cultural attractions.  One of the first things that you notice when you arrive in New York is just how big it actually is as you cross the bridge onto Manhattan Island.  The route I took was perhaps not the one that most people would take on a day to day basis or for those people coming from a long distance away.  Rather than flying into JFK airport or La Guardia in New Jersey, I instead took the Amtrak train into the city.  The train is a relatively peaceful way of getting places as you don’t have to worry as much about the stress of driving into one of the highest traffic areas in the United States and you don’t need to worry about any of the security concerns that you might associate with air travel.  One interesting thing about taking the train through New York state is that you aren’t travelling along the highway all of the time and are instead going through areas that have been frequented by people who spray graffiti tags on the walls that the trains pass by.  I suppose this must be an attractive place for people to put graffiti tags because there are not a lot of people around and as such there is more time to work on them.


Arriving in the city, I was able to have a look at Penn Station which when I was there about two years ago had a number of what looked to be military security of some sort.  I have to admit that I was not entirely used to this level of security as I live in a much quieter area.  It was also at this station that I tried to make myself acquainted with the New York subway system.  The subway can be complicated for those who are not familiar with subway systems or, like me, get easily lost.  One of the first things that you have to realise is that there are local trains and express trains.  So, if you get onto an express train you need to be sure that it will stop at the station that you want to go to or at the very least that you change over to a local train before you get to your station.  It took me a little while to figure this out because I wasn’t really paying attention to the instructions that the speaker system on the train gave and on top of that I am pretty bad with maps.  For most people you don’t even need a map when you visit New York because the street system makes so much sense.  All of the east to west streets, which are very close together, are all in numerical order.  All of the north to south avenues, which are further apart, are likewise in numerical order.  So it should be pretty easy.  However, I would always forget which number I had just came from when I was between streets, so I wouldn’t be sure where I was, then I would get disoriented and take a turn when I should have just gone straight and ended up walking all over the place.  This is not a good method if you are actually trying to get somewhere.  Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about that as I had no schedule and was happy just to wander around the city.


One of the neat things about wandering around New York City is that there are many things that you have seen on TV or in the movies and now get to see in real life.  So if you are a fan of the new york yankees, ever wanted to see the New York Stock Exchange or simply wondered what all of those “i love new york” t-shirts are all about, then walking about Manhattan can be an illuminating experience.  However, I wasn’t so interested in the stock exchange and I never did get to see a New York Yankees game.  Instead, what I was more interested in where the many cultural attractions in New York.  The neat thing about seeing cultural attractions in a museum is that in a way, for a tourist, the whole city is kind of a large cultural attraction, though in a less formal sense.  For example, most people might get just as much out of spending a day wandering around Central Park as they would spending a few days in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I wouldn’t know that for sure as I only spent half a day in Central Park and way longer in the Met.


The Met is one of the many museums and art galleries that are available on the east side of central park.  Another one that is quite famous is the Guggenheim museum as it has a number of famous paintings by Kandinsky.  However, one thing about the Guggenheim that I didn’t know when I went there is that it is less of an art gallery and more of an exhibition space.  As such, if you aren’t really into whatever the exhibition that they have on at the time you are visiting then you may not have as good a time as if there was an exhibition you were really into.  When I was there I saw one that was all these metal sculptures.  It was alright, but I don’t really know a lot about metal sculptures so I spent a lot of time wandering up the winding ramp that is the building with a quizzical look on my face trying to figure out what a welded assemblage of farm tools was all about.  Regardless, it was very cultural.  There is also apparently a lot of really great shopping in New York, which if you have a lot of money you could definitely go and do.  However, I then went back to the Met and got lost for a couple of days.  I know it doesn’t sound like maybe the most interesting of trips to New York, particularly since I didn’t go and see all of the more famous tourist attractions.  I did go the Museum of Modern Art though, and that was quite interesting.