Empire State Building

Travel review: New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made

26 Jun 2019

Ahlan! jetted to New York City to see iconic landmarks, dine like Marilyn Monroe, and stay where the stars hang out

With countless cultural hotspots nestled between recognisable skyscrapers that are visible from just about anywhere in town, working your way around New York city can be an overwhelming prospect. Grabbing a CityPass is your best option. Discover Manhattan with ease as the booklet provides tickets for the best of the famous sites, allowing you to skip queues and avoid the hefty price tag of paying admission on an individual basis. It’ll provide more time for munching your way around the Big Apple before falling into a food coma back at your celebrity-studded hotel.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Travel review: New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made

What better way to start a trip to the land of the free than with a welcome from Lady Liberty herself? Hop on the ferry for a quick trip to Liberty Island where you see the green statue up close and not only get some of the coolest selfies of her looming above you, but also a gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline for some serious picture envy. Next stop is Ellis Island where US immigrants arrived. Listen to the voices and musical sounds of various countries that that have each made their mark on the States, then answer questions to see if you’d pass the test to become a citizen. There’s even a library zone where you can search computer archives for any ancestors who started a new life in America.

Museums and galleries

Travel review: New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made

Channel your inner Gossip Girl and stop for a yoghurt on the steps of The Met like the Upper East Side’s Blair and Serena. If you’re feeling more Anna Wintour, throw on your finest gown and head on inside the gallery to imagine being at the most fashionable night of the year, The Met Ball. A girl can dream! Even if you’re not an art gallery fan, this one is just too iconic to miss.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum can be a sobering experience, best visited before some reflection time at the memorial site’s water fountain where the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers once stood and the names of those lost are etched. Inside the museum are core exhibits that focus on the history of the tragic 2001 event, remember those who died on September 11 and in the 1993 bombing, plus show images captured in the days following 9/11. As well as artifacts and archives, there are also interactive exhibitions including a recording booth where visitors can say how their life changed after the day, that has never been forgotten.

Hit the (observation) deck

Travel review: New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made

Want to be a part of it like the Frank Sinatra song says? The best way to view New York is to climb to Top of the Rock during the day where floors 67 to 70 of 30 Rockerfeller Plaza - also known as 30 Rock, home of NBC Universal - allows for breathtaking photos thanks to its transparent parameter guards.

By contrast, the Empire State Building is fenced in. So you don’t want a fence in your photos of the iconic skyline you’ll have to angle your camera through a gap and there’s no getting around it for selfies. Still, it’s worth a visit due to its rich history told through images and text on the walls as guests make their way up through the floors on the way to the top.

Serendipity 3

Ask for the booth where Marilyn Monroe sat to enjoy one of their famous frozen hot chocolates (go for the s’mores option for some Instagram-worthy blowtorch action). The cosy two-level restaurant, adorned with floral lampshades and Andy Warhol-style portraits of the actress herself (the artist was also a regular there too), serves up all your favorite typical American comfort food — think creamy Mac ‘n’ cheese and salmon with buttery mashed potatoes. The menu at this 70-year-old restaurant even features a section for their Guinness World Record-breaking items, which include a $1,000 golden sundae and a foot-long hot dog. Grab some memorabilia from the gift shop on the way out to remember your experience at the spot best known from the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity starring Kate Beckinsale.