Boasting a global city and natural attractions, New York is a tourism empire.
New York State has one of the world’s premier cities in NYC. It’s a global, powerful, cosmopolitan giant with ample influence. In fact, most visions of America from outside the country may be of New York City. Yes, the city is uber important and such a large tourist destination, but it only represents a small area of the state. The rest of the state is full of more outdoor activities, such as Great Lakes, Lake George, the Catskill Mountains, and Niagara Falls. I have been to New York several times in my life, visiting NYC in June, and Niagara Falls most recently in 2017. Here’s what I like about the Empire State:
New York City
This is an obvious choice, and it would be a disgrace if I didn’t have it on this list. NYC is everything a global metropolitan center should have: shopping, dining, sightseeing, ethnic enclaves, nightlife, sports, culture, history, you get the point. I visited NYC on one June day in a group, and exploring the entire city was simply not possible, so we stuck to the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.
New York offers historical attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, symbols of immigrants coming into America to achieve the American Dream. Looking up at the Statue of Liberty on its own tiny island, however, was amazing and staring into New York’s skyline in the distance was surreal. I felt even tinier when submerged inside the city.
Once I was finally in the city I had seen in so many movies and TV shows, New York City was booming on that Saturday evening, and Central Park was no exception. Horse carriages, bikes, tourists, and myself were all living that New York life. We ventured into the large park, through the thick woods, and the park seemed endless. Finally, we reached the expansive lawn space that was an oasis in this large city for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.
Central Park was only the first stop on our walk-through in Manhattan. As we ventured south towards Times Square, I saw 99 cent pizza, food carts, and unique dining, all representative of New York’s diverse cuisine. We stopped and ate at IndiKitch, an Indian version of Chipotle, with curry wraps and rice & curry bowls among the options.
The real NYC experience is best at night, as I saw. Herds of people everywhere we looked, and I felt it increased as it got later. I had never seen a downtown so vibrant at night, it’s the city that never sleeps after all. The highlights of my walk included seeing the towering Empire State Building with terrific lighting, visiting the Rockefeller Center (no ice skating rink during summertime), seeing Radio City Music Hall, and the alluring Madison Square Garden. But the best was saved for last. From the distance, I could see the bright flashing lights, and walking along 7th Street, there it was: Times Square. A New York icon, home to the New Year’s ball drop, and the place to be in the New York moment, Times Square is the massive display of screens and heavy advertising, in the heart of the city. Herds of people were letting it all sink in, billboards with flashing lights, all the ads, and news clips. Though this was Midtown Manhattan, and the center of the city, the moment was so surreal, I felt like I was in the center of the world. My group sat on a bench, just taking it all in. The honks, street rap battles, streams of NYC taxis, and the bustle and chatter people did not stop me from basking in an icon that I wanted to visit so badly. It was in those moments I realized why the Big Apple is the best city in the U.S.
Niagara Falls is also a New York attraction that garners visitors from all over the world. When I first saw the falls at night, they were illuminated with different colors, making the water seem so colorful.
The area around Niagara Falls is wonderful. It’s tourist-friendly with plenty of souvenirs (I had to buy an I love NY shirt) and great food. My family tried New York pizza here, and I loved the long, thin slices that don’t make you too full.
As for the Falls, gallons of water endlessly pouring into a small river is such a natural phenomenon. Our Maid of the Mist boat traversed the wavy water with finesse, only to show the most amazing part of the visit, looking at the Falls directly from a safe distance. With the sheer volume of water dropping and remnants drenching our raincoats, it was the best experience for seeing the Falls. The loud noise of water pounding the river was crazy, and the ripple effects of the water falling created semi-large waves.
I left New York with picture-perfect memories.