We arrived in New York City five days before the first class at Pace University. To be acclimatized to the city, we decided to create a four days program to discover as much as possible this enormous city. Here was our condensed touristic program:
Day 1: Upper West Side, Central Park and Midtown
We dedicated our first morning to explore Central Park where we could admire the flock of buildings all around the greenery (less impressive in winter when it isn’t snowing). We began at Columbus Circle, and then we went to the zoo, the Bethesda Fountain, the pond of Conservatory Water and the Strawberry Fields garden. Visiting the American Museum of Natural History can also be a good idea if you want to see big skeletons of dinosaur (among other things)
In the afternoon, we decided to go Downtown to discover the architectural marvels such as the Grand Central Terminal train station, the Chrysler Building, the New-York Public Library or the Rockefeller Centre. We finished this afternoon by visiting the famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
We passed the night under the thousand lights of Broadway. If you have time, you could choose between seeing a blockbuster and seeing an avant garde show at Playwrights Horizons or at Signature Theatre. On our side, we decided to walk in Times Square and the 5th Avenue until the Empire State Building.
DAY 2: UPPER WEST/EAST SIDE, SOHO AND CHINATOWN
For the second day, we woke up early (due to the jetlag). We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side. The museum offers a unique blend of world-famous art collection. Each floor has his own feeling. It goes from impressionist art to Egyptian art. Then, we went to the Neue Galerie, which is in a gorgeous house built in 1914.
After lunch, we went to Chinatown and to Soho. Before visiting the famous Chinatown and its Buddhist temple, we chilled and shopped in Spring St, Mulberry St (Soho) where fruits and vegetables are very cheap. On our way, we went on the Manhattan Bridge where we had a gorgeous view on Chinatown and the financial district.
Finally, we had diner at the Shake Shack fast food. It is the best US fast food chain. Please enjoy French fries with cheddar and the Shake burger!
DAY 3: BROOKLYN
On the third day, we took the East River Ferry until Dumbo to admire, from the new and luxuriant Brooklyn Bridge Park, the beautiful view on Manhattan. Next, we strolled a little bit in the paved streets of the district to discover the bookstores, the shops, the cafés… There are beautiful views since the Jane’s Carousel and the Empire Fulton Ferry Park.
We also visited the Brooklyn Museum to have a look at the fascinating collections of Africa, America and ancient Egypt. Next, we went to Prospect Park to do a small walk in it.
At the end of the Afternoon, we visited Coney Island with its long beautiful beach, its amusement park (close in winter) and its predominant Eastern Europe and Russian community.
In the evening, we visited the bohemian and effervescent district of Williamsburg and went on the rooftop called Ides bar which offers a fantastic view on the city.
DAY 4: LOWER MANHATTAN AND FINANCIAL DISTRICT
We took the ferry to Staten Island. There is a gorgeous view on the New York skyscrapers. Staten Island is also the most rural part of New York. When we were back in Manhattan, we decided to go to ground zero. Around the memorial, the atmosphere is strange. Everyone knows about the tragedy, but everyone is focusing on the future. We went to the One World Observatory, the highest view of NYC. Then, we visited the 9/11 museumand then went back to the fountains situated in the foundation of the twin towers.
In the afternoon, we went to West Village and Chelsea. Close to the Museum of American Art, stairs will conduct you to the high Line. It is a former railway in which you can get a coffee and eat some delicious cake, with an amazing view and low streets.
At the end of the day, we went to the “Village Vanguard” for a jazz experience and then we moved to the “Employees Only”, a very good place with handmade cocktails ($16 and you have to add Taxes+Tips).
Four days are not enough to visit the whole city, but we spent 4 amazing days. Now, we know and better understand this fabulous city before beginning the classes at Pace University. We suggest you to do the same, even if you stay for a longer period. The 4 days offered us an overview of the city. During the next month, we will take time to discover more precisely each part of the city.
By Sébastien Hoarau and Maxence Lempereur