My Top 5 Favourite Things About NYC

If you read my Love & Hate blog about New York City, you’d think I extremely hate the place but I don’t. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say ‘I left my heart in NYC’.

So here are my Top 5 favourite things about the Big Apple.

Love & Hate Relationship with the Concrete Jungle: https://belliontravels.com/2017/01/26/usa-love-hate-relationship-with-the-concrete-jungle/ 

  1. Museums:

Museum Hopping Blog:

The amount of museums the city has got is incredible. They’ve got variations of Arts, Science, History, Nature, SEX lol and many more. You can learn a lot and I wish we had this amount of institutions here in UAE.

Although Tim and I went Museum Hopping there were a lot more to learn. If I lived in NYC, I’d be hanging out in Museums a lot. In addition, if I was ever lost, you will find me in the New York Public Library.

One of my favourite place I’ve visited and really affected my mood was Ellis Island. Yes, it was depressing and disturbing but I’ve learned a lot about what the immigrants have gone through. Especially that my great granddad was one of them, I had a personal connection to it. By far my favourite place of course is Statue of Liberty.

Below are links to my blog about Museum Hopping and Ellis Island.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island https://belliontravels.com/2017/02/04/usa-visiting-the-statue-of-liberty-and-ellis-island/ 

Museum Hopping in New York City https://bellionstravels.com/17/02/11/usa-museum-hopping-in-new-york-city/

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2. Broadway & Time Square:

Out of all the shows that were showing on Broadway, Tim and I had to pick one because we didn’t have enough time.

After struggling on selecting a show, we finally settled for ‘The Lion King’. I don’t regret it even a bit. It was spectacular, incredible and startling. Mufasa’s death still makes me cry and I had a great time singing along to our childhood movie. Broadway is Art and I would so go back and watch other shows such as Chicago, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

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3. Street Food and Food in General

New York is very similar to London and Dubai when it comes to restaurants and dining however street food is one most awesome thing about New York because its cheap, its fast service and its HALAL.

Tim and I ate a lot in New York from street food, to diners and to Asian fusion restaurants. We dined at a Japanese restaurant in Time Square and they served the best seaweed salad EVER. We also had the most delicious Ethiopian food in Harlem.

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4. Central Park

Man!! that park is HUGE. It’s so lovely too. We went for a stroll and sat on the swings and enjoyed people watching but we had to leave as soon as possible when our romantic outing turned into a nightmare when I saw a huge EFFIN RAT. I made Tim carry me on his back.

*For people who don’t know me, I’m really scared of rats.

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5. Brooklyn 

If ever I live in New York, I’d pick Brooklyn. I don’t know why but I love love loveee the ambiance and the urban hipster looking place. It’s also got awesome coffee shops everywhere to try.

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Guys, I really don’t hate New York and I do recommend you to visit it but personally it isn’t the place for me.

USA – Museum Hopping in New York City

USA – Museum Hopping in New York City

Well I bet yall heard of island hopping but did you ever hear about Museum hopping. LOL well Tim and I dedicated a whole day just to visit museums and we achieved visiting 3 of them in a day. It was tiring but also fun. There are loads of museums in the city to see but we went to the ones which were included in the City Pass which are also the main attractions.

American Museum of Natural History

As soon as we got there, the first stop was SPACE and SCIENCE. Yup! Tim’s stuff. I felt like a Kardashian but I did make an effort to learn and allow Tim to explain space stuff to me. It was like he was Sheldon and I was Penny. It did exhaust my brain but it was worth it because it’s taught in a simple friendly way.

We later visited other sections of the museum and the best part was visiting the dinosaurs remains and fossils. I had a great time learning about nature and history of humankind

The museum is huge and there are a lot to see and as you may know the movie ‘Night at the Museum’ was filmed there. We saw a teenage girl showing the security guard and the information desk a picture of Owen Wilson and asking where was he located. They kept telling her ‘Girl, he ain’t here. He is filming in LA’ lol

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

Yup! My kind of museum. Art & Culture is what I love. It has a mix of cultural, historical and modern art. Any art lover will enjoy. So much to see and the best place for artists to be inspired.

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Guggenheim Museum

Funny story. So we had 2 options to pick either Guggenheim Museum OR Rockefeller. I really wanted to go to Rockefeller but Tim insisted for the Guggenheim. As we got there, the ticket lady informed us that half of the museum was being renovated and we can pay half the price instead of wasting the City Pass voucher. So we did as we were told and we were glad we did that because the artworks that were being displayed were not that impressive, otherwise the bldg. was amazing.

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In addition we visited Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and Museum of Sex on a separate day.

https://www.intrepidmuseum.org/ 

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Sorry guys I can’t post more than the picture above. Visit the Museum and see it for yourself LOL.

 

 

 

USA – Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

USA – Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Tim and I purchased the New York City Pass for only $100 each and managed to visit a lot of touristic attractions and one of them included the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island.

Now that was the highlight of our trip. I personally enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. So we started our tour by getting on a cruise to be dropped off to the lady herself. As we were approaching the statue, we took out our cameras and got ready to head to the island. The view of the city was spectacular and seeing the statue up close was surreal. You could purchase an extra ticket on the island to climb the statue and have access to the museum however Tim and I just had lunch there before heading to Ellis Island. I personally was more interested to visit that island and check out the Ellis museum.

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Here’s why I was keen to visit Ellis Island. Have you ever watched the movie Hitch by Will Smith? Well, there was this scene where Will Smith wanted to impress Eva Mendes so he took her to Ellis Island to find her great grandfathers name on the list of immigrants and she burst into tears. I told myself that hopefully someday I get to visit the island and search for my great grandfather’s name.

Here is the scene from the movie ‘Hitch’.

*Burp* We finished our lunch and got on the cruise to be dropped off to Ellis Island. Tim and I purchased the head set to learn about the history in detail. As we walked in the museum, I got Goosebumps by looking at the immigrant’s luggage’s and cases. As a child, I knew how America was built with violence and blood but I did not expect this much heartless treatment was given to immigrants and having them as slaves. The worst facts I read at the museum is how they treated the Native Americans. It is not a topic I would like to blog about because of many reasons and mainly because it’s displeasing. So Ellis Island is where the immigrants arrived to America and were given areas on where they would settle. They had the old telephones displayed in the middle of each room where you can listen to the interview of the immigrants and how nervous and unhappy they sounded.

As I approach the list of names, my heart pounded while going through it. I found lots of names that could be my great grandfather from Austria-Hungary and found Tim’s surname from France. I merely felt distressed but I managed to learn a lot about the history of America and I hope this racism does not continue there or anywhere in this world. It hurts my heart just typing this.

Nevertheless, at the end of our tour, we stopped at a souvenir shop and bought some items and in addition bought a Palestinian and British flags to have in our house.

Although the end of our trip was upsetting, we did learn a lot more about the history of immigrants in America. I hope you visit the Island too.

Hint: If you book the tour from New York City the tour will be packed with people however if you book it from New Jersey then you will have a peaceful tour with not a lot tourists.

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Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

 

 

USA – Empire State VS Rockefeller

USA – Empire State VS Rockefeller

Tim and I purchased a CityPASS booklet and in that booklet included tickets to the Empire State and Rockefeller Observation Deck. We were a bit hesitant on which one to go to because we expected to see an equivalent view of the city. However, there is a difference. In this blog, I will state the Pros & Cons and accordingly you select which building you’d be interested in visiting.

Although the Empire State being an iconic building and all, we personally liked the Rockefeller. Below are my opinions of both skyscrapers.

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Empire State:

Pros:

  • Iconic & Historical New York City Tower
  • Main Deck 86th Floor & the Top Highest Deck is 102nd floor
  • Empire State has an Exhibit on the 80th floor
  • Taller than Rockefeller

Cons:

  • Queue is long
  • You’ll have to pay extra for the Top Deck – The Ticket Prices are: Main is $34 and Top Deck + Main costs $54.
  • Top Deck is a small area. So if you are claustrophobic I do not recommend the 102nd

 

Funny Incident: While waiting for the lift to get to the 102nd floor, the female guide asked us where we’re from. So this is how our conversation went

 

Female Guide: Where are you from?

Me: Dubai

Female Guide: OH WOW! AMAZING! Dubai has the tallest tower in the world. Have you been there?

Me: Yes. I actually work for the developer and I’m in the tower almost every day.

Female Guide: What’s the highest floor you’ve visited?

Me: HAHAHAHA 151st

Female Guide: OMG! What are you doing here? *Laughing Hysterically*

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Rockefeller:

Pros:

  • An amazing view of the Empire State
  • No long queue
  • $34 for the observation deck
  • Might run into Jimmy Fallon but we didn’t

Cons:

  • Located on the 70th Floor
  • Not as iconic as the Empire State

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USA- Love & Hate Relationship with the Concrete Jungle

Love & Hate Relationship with the Concrete Jungle

While listening to Charlie Puth on the plane, I got interrupted by the air-hostess announcement asking the passengers to buckle up as we will be landing to JFK shortly.

So I thought well WUHU NEW YORK HERE WE COME … my view of New York City was over the expectation so frankly speaking I wasn’t impressed by the concrete jungle. Sorry to everyone who loves New York City but that’s how I feel. Now I might sound a bit irritating but it’s just my point of view. First, sadly the airport is not well maintained and the immigration line was a chaos.

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As soon as we got out, we hopped into a van to get to our hotel located at the Upper West Side of Manhattan and on our way we passed by the Bronx and Harlem which to me looked very interesting because it’s not a part of New York that they show in Hollywood movies. The people of Harlem have the passion for arts and music. I personally did not like the Bronx, I felt a negative vibe. Of course I’m not tough enough to be able to live there but shout out to anyone who did and who are living there.

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Fortunately, and Unfortunately we arrived to NYC on Fashion Week which means the hotel rates were like triple their standard prices. Tim helped me try to look for Gigi Hadid at the fashion district and I was following her and her sister’s updates on Instagram. Anyway we didn’t manage to see her. Being half Palestinian, I’m proud that there’s a famous Palestinian celebrity who accomplished this much fame in the western world. GO GIGI

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This blog is just me typing whatever comes to my mind and about my view of the city. I was deeply upset to see how people live in New York and how lots of people struggle to be able to live. I enjoyed watching the people pass by and there’s more to that city than just Manhattan.

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If I ever want to live in New York City, I’d pick Brooklyn. Yes, it is industrial and all but for some reason my heart has chosen it. I liked the people, the area and the feel of it.

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Besides the fact that New York City is filled with homeless, aroma of pee and lots of crime. The city still has its positives such as it’s a cosmopolitan city, subway connection is reliable, lots of fascinating restaurants to try, BROAD WAY, museums, LIBRARY, BROAD WAY AGAIN, its fashion, historical touristic attraction and last but not least BROAD WAY.

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Tim and I encountered two incidents in NYC, once at  the Bronx and the other time somewhere between Harlem and the Upper Westside. We were on our way back to the hotel and took the wrong train and ended up in the Bronx. We had to get out of the subway and walk 20 minutes to the other side to get on the right train so while walking I made eye contact with one of the guys and he pulled out a gun. Thankfully nothing happened we just continued walking to the subway that had blood all over the floor. The other incident was when my childhood friend Marwah, Tim and I were having dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant and a guy who was on drugs just randomly walked in shouting and then smashed the window behind Tim and kept hitting my side of the window with a wooden board. Marwah wasn’t shocked and said things like that happens a lot. She moved to NYC after living in UAE for 20 years. Anyway so the restaurant called the cops and we had to give a statement since we knew how the attacker looked like.

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I have mix feelings of LOVE & HATE for New York City but would I visit again. Yes, I would but for a short period of time and maybe visit the New York state itself rather than just the city.

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