For our first day we decided to do something pretty typical… Figure out public transit and go see the Statue of Liberty! Had to stop for a REAL New York City pretzel first, though! Seth loves pretzels, so it was pretty lucky that this was the first stand we saw when we walked out of Penn Station!
Learning the Subway System
First lesson in our transit adventure: Download Google maps to use offline!! The app is a HUGE help when navigating the subway system, BUT once you get to the platforms underground, the WiFi won’t reach! Downloading the NYC map meant I could at least view it while we were on the train. And I learned to take a screenshot of the itinerary, so we knew when we had to get off or switch trains.
At first, the platform system was SO confusing. We definitely went down a few wrong stairways! Once I got a bit of a grip on the system, me managed to get on the right train to South Ferry to catch the Staten Island Ferry. It may have taken a couple hours, but it was all part of the adventure!
Statue of Liberty
I did a few searches on how to best visit the Statue of Liberty. Most of them were too expensive for our low-budget plan. So we opted to take a ride on the free Staten Island Ferry the passed right beside her, and was said to give a nice view of Manhattan. We weren’t disappointed! It was a nice ride across the bay, with fantastic views of the city, Ellis Island and Governors Island.
After getting back to Manhattan, we headed over to Highline Park in Chelsea. It’s an old, elevated train track that was built in the 1930’s to move rail freight around the area. Once the trucking industry began to dominate the shipping network, it became obsolete, with the last freight delivery using the line in 1980 (Funny fact: the last shipment it carried was 3 cars full of frozen turkeys!). It reopened as a free public park and walkway in 2009.
I had read a bit online about the park, so wanted to take a walk along it. It was really neat! Almost like our Canadian greenbelt system, full of trees, greenery, places to relax, and nice walkways. It’s an odd contrast to be experiencing this in the middle of one of the busiest cities in North America! My favourite thing there was the views we got of some of the funky buildings, and all the artwork on the sides of buildings. Definitely recommend a walk along here when you visit NYC!
We came down from Highline Park right beside the entrance to the Chelsea Market, so decided to finish our day with a walk through. But first… Time for some street food! Luckily there was a hotdog stand right in front of us ;). They were delicious!
We entered the Chelsea Market building through a funky little market called Artists & Fleas. It’s basically a vendor market featuring artisan-made clothing, jewelry, vintage items and art. From there we headed into the main building where we spent a couple hours wandering through the shops and food markets. Thankfully we found some seats, so were able to rest our feet for the first time in hours!
And then… It was time to head home. After 10 hours of exploring, we are both ready for some dinner and to put our feet up! Next year, we’ll wear a fitbit to see how much we’ve walked each day!