We left Hudson and went to New York City by train-edging the Hudson River, watching the numerous shades of yellow, orange, and red take over the landscape-since taking the RV there would be suicidal…Anyways, I never had been to New York before, and I cannot imagine having a better experience, thanks to Tanaé and Cláudio, who kindly let us stay in their apartment. Now, I haven´t been to a more beautiful apartment in my entire life, the view from the 88th floor is simply jaw-dropping-I could see the Empire State, which each night was illuminated in different colors, Brooklyn and its bridge, both rivers that embraced Manhattan, the UN headquarters and endless streets dotted in yellow cabs. I never got tired of staring at that endless concrete jungle, it was too beautiful to get tired of. As I sat by the window each morning during breakfast, the landscape was an ever changing picture-peaceful but yet chaotic, colorful but yet entirely made of concrete, and the sky was never the same-and I could see a million things racing on the streets but I could hear no noise for I was way too high up. But the best part about our stay was meeting some amazing people, all Brazilians that had moved to the United States-Luciana, Gislaine, and Jo-who made us feel so welcomed. Also, the owners-Tanaé and Cláudio-were exceedingly cordial towards my family, and I would like to thank them so much for everything.
Phantom of the Opera is an AMAZING show!! I guess it´s one of, if not the most, popular production and with a reason! As soon as we arrived in NYC and settled in our friend´s apartment, we were off to watch the jaw-dropping show. If I were you I would definitely buy the tickets a few weeks beforehand, for they get sold out fast and you also want to make sure the seats are good. The Phantom of the Opera is more of a classic and profound production, so my little sister didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest of the family did (so if you have kids you might want to consider other type of shows).
Aladdin was also great! More of a lighter, fun atmosphere-also quite funny-which is the perfect option for children but everyone can enjoy it really(: This production wasn’t as long as the other we attended to (about 1:30?) so, again, perfect for kids!
Wicked was between the Phantom of the Opera and Aladdin-not too serious nor too childish. It was extremely funny and the main characters had gorgeous voices! This production was a bit longer than Aladdin; nevertheless, you barely notice the time ticking by. Wicked is definitely an all-kind-of-public show and I simply loved it!
If you visit NYC, please, go watch as many shows as you can-it is SO worth the money! They were definitely a highlight of my visit to the city and the productions are simply amazing(:
PS: Broadway is not a single place…it’s a street (just saying because I thought it was a theatre hehe).
Let´s be honest, who doesn’t LOVE Italian food? Pasta, Pizza, Gelato, and everything that says “made in Italy” on its label pretty much tastes like heaven! Eataly is a combination of many Italian restaurants in one single place (aka. Best place on earth), but you gotta watch out for the lines and waiting lists-they may take a couple of hours. There are lots of products that are imported from Italy, but others are crafted right before your eyes. When I went there, we had pasta (the pistachio one is amazing) and in one of the corners, a Nutella shop offers simply the best desserts! They have traditional Italian baked goods, all with Nutella, as well as drinks but if you are like me, lighter options are also available-fruit bowls drizzled with Nutella(:
Only went there once, but I really enjoyed it! We rented bikes nearby and took a lap around the park (around 6 miles/10 km) and it´s crazy to see how crowded it is with tourists and locals too. There are many others activities that can be done there: soccer, running, football, and etc…I strongly suggest renting a bike near the park (they are easy to find), for you can cover much more of Central Park on wheel vs. on foot.
Keep in mind that there are other parks in NYC, which are quite pretty!
9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center
The memorial is such a great place to visit. It was really sad to see the testimonies, photos, and videos but at the same time it´s a really good experience. Something that I immediately noticed was the silence-no one spoke much. They offer a couple of videos to watch and then you walk downstairs to read and watch what really happened in 9/11. The memorial is right under where the Twin Towers once stood-now the One World Trade Center. Make sure to go with plenty of time and there are a lot of lines too (right around 9:30 AM is the emptiest time to visit).
Right by the memorial, the One World Trade Center stands-100-and-something floors. The view is beautiful-endless concrete buildings and streets surrounded by water are stretched on top of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and Staten Island can be seen too. We went up quickly-right before the sunset, which is the best time to visit-so we caught a little glimpse of the baby-blue sky turning into a pink and golden-yellow.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Such a fun tour!! Well, I´m guessing you can´t get any more touristy after visiting Lady Liberty…but that´s okay(: Just make sure you eat before you get in the boats…they don’t let you bring your own food-or you can totally visit their cafeteria in the island, which is actually pretty decent. Anyway, there are a few types of tours offered in the island-the ones you get closer to the Statue of Liberty, even climb her, or the ones which you stay further away. Lady Liberty is the symbol of freedom, and a quite impressive sight from far away and even more when you´re up close to her!
But I must confess that my favorite part wasn´t seeing or taking pictures with the Statue, but to visit Ellis Island-where millions of immigrants had to go through in order to arrive in America. I thought it was extremely interesting, since I kinda qualify myself as an immigrant… The huge museum has a few videos about the settlers, many rooms full of intriguing photos and information about those people. It´s funny because there were barely any Americans there-all foreigners or immigrants-who were, maybe, reading and looking at their ancestors and people just like them, but only from many decades ago. If you enjoy history, you must go to Ellis Island (the same boat that takes you to the Statue of Liberty will take you to the island).
Another must-go when in NYC! But I highly recommend going at night-MUCH prettier and glamorous-and is quite close to Broadway. All of the vibrant billboards, noise, sky-high buildings, and people from diverse countries in one stretch of concrete (from West 42nd to West 47th street). I simply loved the vibrancy Times Square radiates-so many cultural restaurants and cafes, gift stores and street food, billboards brighter and bigger than you have ever seen before, and the crowed of people taking over every corner, every available space.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Right on Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art if the perfect destination for those rainy days! It has got a huge variety of art, sculptures, and artifacts of all centuries-classical Greece and Rome, the golden era of the Incas to modern art-plus one or two cafes. The vast rooms are filled with history and exotic pieces, some rooms embraced the eras-an Italian Patio, Greek and Roman dining rooms-which made the museum even more captivating.
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
On our second or third day in NYC-Paulo Cezar da Silva gave us a remarkable tour of the entire city through Turismony-we got to see some of the most popular places of New York, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine being one of them. The cathedral is jaw-dropping. Even though it is unfinished, the church is humongous! Inside is even more impressive-sky-high ceilings, multicolored stained glasses displaying images of saints and important historical events, on the sides of the vast room, smaller rooms displayed unique interiors, and marble caskets held the bodies of important priests. The highest part of the ceiling cannot be seeing for it becomes too dark-if I´m correct, it is supposed to represent the heavens and how there´s no separation between earth and the firmament. I simply loved visiting St. John, and the cathedral is another perfect place to visit on rainy days.
To celebrate our reunion with our beloved friends, Tanaé and Cláudio, we all went to Petrossian Caviar-a French restaurant. The restaurant is superb-perfect for celebrations. Now, if you are a caviar lover, or a first-timer like me, you should pay a visit to Petrossian (182 West 58th St, New York). They have many exotic and excellent plates to choose from; I bet you will love it as much as I did!
Thank you Tanaé and Cláudio for this unforgettable dinner and time(:
If you are looking for a good sermon and excellent worship, the Brooklyn Tabernacle is the place to go! It can be easily accessed by subway, and it is simply beautiful. Make sure to arrive in time for worship (probably one of the best I´ve ever heard).
We didn´t have time to walk around Brooklyn too much (it was raining) but it´s definitely an awesome place to explore(:
Probably one of the most touristy spots, the 5th is great for those who like high-end and famous designer stores: Chanel, Prada, Armani, and etc…It has some pretty cathedrals along the way and it leads straight to Central Park.
NYC High Line
If you are planning to take a stroll up on the elevated gardens, go before sunset. The gardens are so pretty, extra gorgeous with a nice setting sun, and there are chairs where one can lay down and chill; additionally, there are a few cafes along the way. The garden is definitely a must-go, I mean…you would be seeing NYC with a different perspective while walking in a peaceful place (something you don´t get much in big cities.)