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I recently made a trip up to New York for another National Geographic workshop, and stayed at the beautiful New York Marriott Downtown. If you are looking for a hotel in Lower Manhattan, then look no further.
The New York Marriott Downtown is located within walking distance from Battery Park, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and One World Observatory. The hotel is also situated near a few subway stations making it easy to get around the city and to your favorite sites.
My favorite part of this hotel is the view. Instead of getting views of a brick wall, the New York Marriott Downtown offers views of the Hudson River, New Jersey, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The hote also is home to Bill’s Bar & Burger, one of New York’s top burger joints, as well as Bill’s West Side Bar.
If you are looking for a comfortable hotel and affordable hotel in The Big Apple, then you need to book a stay at the New York Marriott Downtown.
When I was planning out my trips for the year, I never expected to attend another National Geographic Expeditions trip or head back to New York so soon, but it ended up working out perfectly. This trip to New York marked my third trip with National Geographic, and I decided to step it up a bit with the advanced level class. Our assignment for the weekend was to capture the people of New York experimenting with light and flash. This assignment was kind of a lot out of my comfort zone, but it really pushed me to try out things I had never considered before with this art.
Our first location was the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain in Central Park. This section of Central Park is considered the heart of the park. It provided the perfect backdrop for capturing tourists, locals and street performers. The best way to access this part of Central Park is from the 72nd Street Station, and just follow the path for Strawberry Fields and the Lennon Mosaic.
That evening, we headed to one of New York’s more iconic locations, Times Square, to continue our lesson on street portraits. Let me tell you it is no easy task to approach strangers for thier portraits. Additionally, Times Square is one of the more challenging locations to shoot due to all the bright and changing lights.
For our second day, it was unfortunately raining, but we made the most of it and headed to Grand Central Station to practice movement with people and light. Grand Central is one of my favorite places in New York. Not only does it make for some people watching, but it is a spectacular piece of architecture.
What are your favorite places to people watch in New York?
Home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, The Big Apple is consistently one of the top 10 US tourist destinations.
When a work trip presented me with an opportunity to tack on a three-day weekend I took it. The Tall Man and I spent two solid days playing mega tourists and checking off our NYC bucket list: Times Square, the Empire State Building, New York Public Library, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and more.
Our flights arrived into LaGuardia at 11:00 am on Friday, so we grabbed a cab, checked into our hotel and embarked on our first adventure. Prior to arriving in New York, we decided we would see the Vikings exhibit and the Star Wars exhibit at Discovery Times Square per recommendation of one of my coworkers. Our first exhibit was the Vikings exhibit. If you are a fan of the show, Vikings, or just the Norse culture then we recommend checking this exhibit out. It is very informative and has a ton of awesome artifacts.
From Discover Times Square we decided it was time for a late lunch. The Tall Man selected Virgil’s Barbecue. (I’m looking forward to introducing my man to some real southern barbecue the next time he comes to Atlanta.) After lunch, we wandered around Times Square for a bit before venturing onto the New York Public Library, which opened its doors on May 23, 1911. We were completely blown away by the intricate details inside the building and the architecture in general. I would totally go to my public library more if it looked like this building.
On Friday night, we headed to one of the most iconic buildings in New York—the Empire State Building. Construction on this massive yet beautiful structure finished on April 11, 1931, and it once held the title of tallest building in New York for 70 years. After purchasing tickets, you ride the elevator to the 60th floor where you can stroll through the small exhibit and the gift shop before riding the elevator to the 68th Floor Observation Deck. Take a second and walk through the exhibit. It’s pretty amazing the expense, time and expertise that went into building this iconic building. Lucky for us, the night was clear and we could see all the lights of New York.
We started our Saturday morning off with a lovely stroll down 5th Avenue to Central Park. One of our stops along 5th Avenue was Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which was completed in 1878. It is a spectacular piece of architecture. After reaching Central Park, we looped back to Times Square for the Star Wars Exhibit, which was is a very cool exhibit. Following the Star Wars exhibit, we explored Times Square a little more. We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling the streets of New York before enjoying a delicious dinner at Madison & Vine near our hotel followed by a delectable chocolate mousse at Benjamin Steakhouse.
Sunday morning we caught a cab and headed down to Lower Manhatten. We started with the 9/11 Memorial and a viewing of the Freedom Tower. We then proceeded to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. If you are looking for spectacular views of Manhatten, I suggest you take this hike—it is totally worth it in our opinion. Plus the bridge in and of itself is a pretty spectacular piece of work. Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridges in the United States. The Brooklyn Bridge also holds a special place for The Tall Man and myself since we crossed one of Roebling’s bridges in Cincinnati on our first date.
Once in Brooklyn, we headed to One Girl Cookies for a small treat and hot chocolate before heading back to Manhattan. Once back in Manhattan, we grabbed our New York Harbor tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Dedicated on October 28, 1886, Statue of Liberty has stood guard of the New York Harbor and welcomed immigrants during Ellis Island’s operations.
That evening, we walked back down to Central Park for a stroll in the snow flurries. Central Park was established in 1857, and today it is an 843 acres park in middle-upper Manhattan area. It was surprising to me how this space makes you forget you are surrounded by a concrete jungle, your only reminder is the honking of passing cars.
Have you ever been to New York City? What is on your New York City bucket list?