Exiting SUMMIT, we found ourselves on an underpass with Grand Central Terminal right next door. Opened on February 2, 1913, Grand Central Terminal is a world-famous landmark and transportation hub in Midtown Manhattan.
With 750,000 visitors per day, Grand Central Terminal is one of the most visited destinations in New York, right after Times Square.
One of the main attractions is the clock in the middle of the main concourse. It is a frequent meeting place for tourists and locals.
Grand Central is ~67 acres (19 hectares / 190 000 m²) in size. With 44 platforms, the station has the most in the world in terms of number. In 2016, 67 tracks were in regular operation for passenger traffic. At the same time, the upper level has 42 tracks, and the lower level has 27 tracks.
The terminal is the second largest train station in North America after Penn Station, also in New York.
Because of its distinctive architectural design, it has been listed several times.
We think the main concourse is fantastic! It is featured very often in movies and on television.
This world-famous historic landmark is not only a transportation hub but also a shopping, dining, and cultural center with 60 stores and 35 dining establishments.
I looked around in amazement and felt like I was in a movie. We even witnessed a wedding!
It is a beautiful building.
Afterward, we walked around the area, where we spotted cute hippo and rhino statues. This time we also saw the Chrysler Building from below.
We also walked back to the Central Library building, where the two lions guarding the entrance (Patience and Strength) wear a red wreath with bows around their necks. With nearly 53 million items and 92 locations, it is the second-largest public library in the United States and the fourth-largest in the world! It is privately and publicly funded.
You can also go inside the building, where we looked around after a quick bag check. There is a lovely Christmas tree in the lobby; we also looked in the reading room and then moved on. The library is currently hosting several exhibitions.
The ~420,000 sq ft (39,000 m²) Bryant Park is located right next to the library. Under it are the library's storage rooms.
The whole park is currently in the Christmas spirit. There is a small Christmas market, numerous food stalls with tables and chairs around the skating rink, small igloos, etc.
Here we bought some mini donuts and hot chocolate. We sat at a sunny table and watched the ice skaters. And the towering skyscrapers in the background, and looking back, we could see the SUMMIT outdoor elevator in motion.
It was very atmospheric.
But back to the hot chocolate… It was the best hot chocolate we've had so far. Only in terms of consistency, because otherwise, it was too sweet for our taste. But it was thick, which we have not found anywhere until now! If you like sweet hot chocolate, we highly recommend it!
We strolled around some more when I noticed a woman munching on a cucumber on a stick. How we eat ice cream!
I couldn't believe my eyes. I know people love pickles here for some reason (in many places, they are seen as a small decoration, I didn't even understand that either). We also like pickles as an accompaniment to our main course, but eating them on their own as some sort of "dessert," well, that would never occur to us!
When we designed the program, we had many different versions in mind because, of course, we wanted to see many things. We knew we couldn't see everything in 3 days, so we redesigned it several times, and of course, we changed it spontaneously.
The next destination was also on the "must-see" list, but it didn't fit. But we decided to go anyway.
That's the Brooklyn Bridge (and if we go that way, the World Trade Center Memorial).
So from Bryant Park, we walked to a subway station. Actually, we were already exhausted. The subway station is about 8 minutes away. There are two exciting things to mention here. The first is that, like in movies, someone is actually playing music or singing. This time we caught a singer with an excellent voice. It was very atmospheric.
The other story is not so good: I had a problem with my ticket. Luckily there was a man at the information desk who helped me. Csibi got through the access gate with his own card.
Because of this little interlude, the subway left right in front of us, we had 6 minutes before the next one arrived, and we went upstairs to listen to the singer!
And with the following subway, we went to the World Trade Center stop.
First, we took a long walk, and headed to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, set around the footprints of the original Twin Towers. 😔 We saw the new one, which of course, is a very tall building.
Actually, what happened here is still incomprehensible. And who knows what really happened. It baffles me how two buildings of this size could practically collapse in such a way… Anyway, we probably won't solve this mystery, but it's still unfortunate how many innocent people have lost their lives here.
The way they designed the memorial is very symbolic.
We walked around here and saw a huge, oddly shaped building (Westfield World Trade Center - a shopping mall, as it turned out).
There's a lot of cool graffiti, and two places featured a soccer game (maybe France against Morocco) on a giant screen at the time.
After looking at everything in this square, we returned to our original destination. The Brooklyn Bridge. It was supposed to be a 15-minute walk from here if we hadn't been so tired.
But we kept walking.
It's only a matter of walking to the bridge, but to get on the bridge itself, you still have to walk a lot.
I don't know if they are always there, but this time there were many street vendors on the way to the bridge. They were selling all sorts of things - New York knickknacks. And then there was the matter of the spinning selfies. You can probably get some great shots here.
But we really liked the Brooklyn Bridge.
It is the oldest suspension bridge in the United States and connects Manhattan Island to Brooklyn. It was the world's first steel cable suspension bridge and the longest until 1903. Construction began on January 3, 1870, and opened to traffic on May 24, 1883. (Before that, it was called the New York and Brooklyn Bridge.)
It has been on the proposed World Heritage List since 2017. It has a total length of 1,616 ft (1,833.7 meters), with 6 lanes + pedestrian and bike lanes.
It was worth the trip! The view of the city from the bridge is also fantastic. There were a lot of tourists.
We walked quite a bit on the bridge, but only some of the way.
When we were freezing and could barely walk, we turned back. Now we had to find a way to get back to the subway. By now, we were hungry and decided to find a restaurant near the hotel.
But when we got back near the subway station, we remembered there must be some kind of restaurant in this big shopping center. We thought we could at least relax a little.
We walked around the place twice but couldn't find a food court. Then we asked a security guard who gave us directions, and that's how we finally found the restaurants. To be honest, nothing really appealed to us. But we said that no matter what we ate, we would not go any further.
We decided on pizza. We went over to order, and you'll never guess the only place closed! Yep, the pizza place.
We decided on two salads. We sat down (wow, it was nice to sit down for a bit), had lunch/dinner, and then headed out to find the subway. Luckily we could approach it from the inside, but of course, it was on the other side of the huge building! 😄
We took the subway to Penn Station in 10-15 minutes; from there, it was "only" a 10-minute walk to our destination.
At the hotel, we saw that there was an airport shuttle. Rain was predicted for the next day, starting at noon. We didn't have the energy or strength to take public transportation to the airport, so we thought we'd ask what the shuttle was like (if we knew, we'd definitely take the metro… 😄).
We ended up ordering it (and learned the following day that they would have ordered a cab at the front desk if we had asked - maybe that would have been even better).
The shuttle cost 60 USD, which seemed a bit much, but UBER would have had a similar price, as we checked on the way here. The lady told us it would cost $55 if we paid cash, but since we don't use much cash, we opted for the $60 fare. We were given a voucher to come back the next day.
Our flight leaves at 6:50 PM; we need to be at the airport by 4:50 PM and be at the front desk by 3:30 PM.
Then bathe - sleep. We were dead tired. Today we also walked for almost 7 hours.