New York, the city that never sleeps

Panoramic view of Manhattan taken from Staten Island ferry
New York is certainly the city that never sleeps!  It is a crazy yet vibrant city. One of the city’s most spectacular and leading attractions is Time Square. This isn’t my first time to visit Time Square but every time I get here I always stare in awe at the colossal billboards with their flashing and neon lights, the towering hotels, the Broadway theatres and the souvenir shops. Time Square is definitely the liveliest part of the city. I am looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York. I have heard that Time Square is the famous place to be to witness the New Year’s Eve countdown celebration and ball-dropping. 


When the night falls, Time Square even becomes more energetic and dynamic. The sheer energy of the neighbourhood gets more exciting and the sidewalks more packed.  Time Square is just worth of a visit but staying in and around the area is one thing I would never consider – it is very touristy!

The nights in New York keep me going. And I realized that I have not been really able to hit the sack earlier than midnight since I arrived. For some reason, I really missed my own bed last night.  I probably just need a real good night sleep and I need some form of remedy for this.  Any suggestions?

On September 15, following the days of endless walk, I decided to give myself a day off and stayed in the apartment all day long.  I didn’t explore the city until the afternoon of Thursday.

Friday, 17 September, after 44 blocks of walking and gazing, my friend Sam and I ended at the Flatiron District. Flatiron District is a small neighbourhood in the south-central part Midtown Manhattan and is often referred to as “Midtown South.” The district was named after the Flatiron Building at 23rd Street, Broadway and Fifth Avenue. The neighborhood is becoming popular among professionals and medical students from nearby NYU Medical school because of its newer high-rise apartment.

While wandering around Flatiron District I noticed this shop which looked packed and busy inside. At first, the place appeared to be a coffee/gelato shop.  I asked my friend Sam, to take a peek and have a quick gelato break.  As we walked in, I realized that the place was more than just a coffee or gelato. It was a mad house. Welcome to ‘Eataly’ the world of delectable fine and fresh produce foods, all in one roof, a 50,000 square feet high-end marketplace.   It’s indeed a one stop shop to get fresh pasta, canned goods, cheeses, wine, fresh bread, pizza. – name it – everything under the sun that you can think of Italian. The place is too much to absorb at once.

There were curious people, like me, trying to get in a taste of everything. We circled around and took lots of photos, and I totally fell in love with the place.  A glass of wine on your hand whilst shopping is a common practice in this place and that’s exactly what we did, two hours later we walked out with 4 bagful of food and beverages.

Saturday, 18 September we were joined by 3 more friends from Melbourne, Travis, Susan & Michelle.  On their first night we took a chance of going to Blue Ribbon Sushi.  The place is so popular that the wait can be maddening.  To escape from the chaos, we decided to literally have a late dinner – at 1:00am. If we had gone any earlier, it would have been impossible to get a table for 5.  Blue Ribbon Sushi is located on Sullivan Street in Soho district. What a fantastic little place in a great location.  The quality of sushi was far the best.  My favorite was the mouth-watering cured black cod.  I must say, I thought I would blow my budget that night but I was surprised when we got the bill. It was fairly reasonably priced.  Why go to ‘Nobu’ when the service and the quality of food at Blue Ribbon isu equally good!

Sunday, 19 September we visited B&H, an electronic store on 420 9th Avenue, nearby Hell’s Kitchen district. If you have ever been in NY and need to purchase any electronic gadgets, this is the place to go.  The place is the counterpart of the “Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory” for electronic lovers. It’s an electro-fantasy land for me. The salespersons and staff were nice and from what we’ve purchased, the prices are definitely competitive or could even be the cheapest.

I am more impressed with their payment system.  Once you have decided what item to get, you then proceed to a counter to collect a receipt.  The items are then placed in a cart and put on the conveyer belt systems.  You go downstairs and have a choice to either queue for a cash or credit card line to pay for your items.  You will then be given a pick-up receipt and then you can proceed to the pick up section.  If you get hydrated, just go downstairs and look for a table lined with cups of waters or soda complimentary for patrons.

Tip for the week:  B&H is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish holidays so make sure you check the dates.

From B&H, we took a subway to Chinatown.  On Sundays, this place is buzzing and absolutely crowded.  I didn’t particularly enjoy walking through the crowd but it was an experience.  If you’re looking for good bargains like imitations of signature handbags, watches, etc. then this is the place for you.  They got some amazing deals, and it was fun to witness the price haggling going on between sellers and buyers everywhere.

Italian way of cooking bbq at the festival in Little Italy

A few blocks away from Chinatown is Little Italy. After experiencing the gruffness and crowd of Chinatown, walking through Little Italy was a bit of a relief. Little Italy and Chinatown are adjacent neighbourhoods on Manhattan’s lower east side. While in Little Italy, I witnessed the Annual Feast of San Gennaro which is celebrated in the last two weeks of September.  It is recorded as the biggest and longest-running religious feast in the US.  It was very crowded but I have enjoyed the stroll and watching the buzzing food stalls.  If you want a quick food fix, I recommend not eating at the restaurants as you will be waiting for your food for a long time.  It was nearly an hour before we got our meal.

While Little Italy provides you the most authentic Italian dining experiences, someone told me that Little Italy may not be able to offer you the best. There are much better Italian restaurants elsewhere in the city. I may have to prove this as I continue to explore the city.

Just like many other American cities they have neighbourhoods called Little Italy or Chinatown. New York City definitely hosts one of the largest and most famous.

I was told that you could get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and witness beautiful landscapes of Lower Manhattan from a free ferry ride that connects between Manhattan and Staten Island.  This is exactly what we did on the sunny afternoon of Monday, 20 September.  The ferry operates every 30 minutes which gives you a great opportunity to take lots of photos of the sights of one of the iconic landmarks in American history.  From the ferry terminal, you can take a nice stroll along Battery Park then towards Wall Street, the centre of the financial universe.

Foyer of the building above the Wall Street subway

NYC was twice as busy during the past few weeks. The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring was held in NY for a week last week. There was also the US Open Tennis at the start of September.  And this week is the U.N. General Assembly meeting.  Nearby streets are being barricaded and high security measures are tightened. The Police chief of NY said on the news today the security is expensive.  The estimated spend is up to $7M per U.N. session.

So, it is going to be an interesting week – which reminds me to have my ID and camera with me at all times just in case I get interrogated and at the same time bumped into a famous figure and dignitaries wandering around the city.

Comments courtesy of

Posted by Kim 25 Sep 2010 6:05:01 AM
I love the article!


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