Recently Three Region has been traveling. We've visited towns and cities near and far to North Carolina and decided that we needed a place to showcase these trips. While we love North Carolina and will continue to represent the culture this great state has to offer we also want to give you the opportunity to see and learn about things that are a little farther away.
Thus, Three Region On The Road was born.
For our first installment I took a day trip to NYC! I had been to the city once before when I was 13 and remember walking around aimlessly, ending up in Chinatown, taking a taxi back to Grand Central, standing in a three hour line to go to the top of the Empire State building. So when I went up again this year I had a plan, or so I thought.
We decided to stay at an Air BnB in Point Pleasant NJ, a decision that was based on a friend staying in the area. While it was my first time using Air BnB I know it won't be my last. The great thing about it is the ability to find accommodations almost anywhere for much cheaper than a hotel (for the most part). It was much nicer than a hotel and I actually felt comfortable sleeping in the bedrooms. Our host was very nice, and although I only saw her for about 2 seconds when we arrived, that was mostly due to us never being in the room. If you're planning a trip to the shore, or want to take a train to NYC - check out her place here.
From there we headed to Point Pleasant Beach Train Station, taking the 2-hr train into New York Penn Station (which is not to be confused with Newark Penn Station) and arrived in the heart of the city. Even if you don't want to look touristy I encourage purchasing a map or a NYC travel book. Your phones will die quickly and your data will drain, also being stuck between the buildings you may not get the greatest reception and end up going back and forth like we did.
Our first stop of course was coffee. And although we choose Culture Espresso, a shop highly recommended on both the Zagat guide and Pinterest we were mildly disappointed. The whole coffee experience was much different than we were used to and the fast paced means quality and presentation suffer. While we were really hoping to be close to a Durham-native Counter Culture shop - we are very curious if the standards are different due to the volume of customers.
After our mild caffeine fix we headed to 30 Rock! Rockefeller Center offers a very similar experience as to that of the Empire State building with much shorter lines. They also have a combination ticket called Rock the MoMA which combines admission to the Museum of Modern Art and Top of the Rock. This will save you a few dollars and add items to your itinerary.
My favorite part about MoMA that we got to see (one and a half floors were closed due to exhibit installments) was the Warhol exhibit and the art from 1980-now. Here are a few of my favorites from the trip.
And although Van Gogh's Starry Night was on display, the crowd around it was so thick it was hard to get a good image.
There was also interactive exhibits, including this one that allowed participants to play a coded game on a large screen.
With the combination ticket you have to visit MoMA first, then head to Rockefeller down the road. From here you enter a waiting room at your designated ticket time, take an obligatory "Top of the Rock" photo (which costs $50 to download) and head into an elevator to the top.
One of the best parts about the Top of the Rock is the ability to see The Empire State Building, The Brooklyn Bridge, and The Statue of Liberty. Although some of them are small, it's still a very humbling and fun experience to see them all from one rooftop.
Although we ran out of time, I highly suggest taking the FREE ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island to get your up close and personal experience of Lady Liberty!
From there we were starved and found the closest and best rated Chinese Restaurant in the city, Hunan Manor. The main dishes during the lunch special were delicious, although the side dishes and appetizers were cold. Here was my General Tso.
Next on our agenda were attractions close by - The New York Public Library and St. Patrick's Cathedral. It seemed that almost everything in NY was either under construction, going through renovations, or closed off, so I will have to admit that our experiences were not 100% due to these factors.
Here are a few images I snagged throughout.
After meeting up with a friend at Bryant Park and heading to a Korean Coffeeshop our last stop of the day was Times Square. Again there was construction and renovation in the middle of the square and on the side walks, making walking difficult.
If I ever return to NY I will most likely visit Brooklyn or similar cities within NY. My overall recommendation is wear comfy shoes, bring a map (touristy or not), and take some time to find a place to be still. The hustle and bustle can really get to you in the city and one of my favorite moments was people watching in Bryant Park.
Although I can say I'm happy to be back in North Carolina - I'll definitely be out and about soon enough for another installment of Three Region on the Road.