When John Clemenza visited New York for the first time a few years ago, he felt like a little kid let loose in a candy store. Everything he saw, he wanted to touch, feel and taste! Having spent all his life in Oahu, John Clemenza was awestruck when he came to New York for a short visit. The towering skyscrapers, the Manhattan skyline, the busy (ever busy, always busy) streets of downtown New York, the hustle and bustle of city life—these fascinated and scared him at the same time!
All in all, however, it was a wonderful experience for him, so much so that he hopes to not only come back to visit again someday but to actually live there once he has achieved his goal of becoming a professional surfer.
During his first visit to New York, John Clemenza was the epitome of the tourist cliché: awestruck, mouth agape, with his head turning left and right trying to soak in all the goings-on around him. He also headed straight for the state’s most popular tourist attractions: the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and even Coney Island. If you are visiting New York for the first, these are his must-see recommendations.
Below is a little more information on these attractions:
1. The Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is in Midtown, Manhattan. It has two observation decks, one on the 86th floor and another on the 102nd. From the observation deck, you will be given a great vista of New York City, with good views of Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and the Hudson River. John Clemenza is embarrassed to admit that after going up the observation deck and immediately upon returning home, he watched the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan film, “Sleepless in Seattle.”
2. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
If you intend to see the Statue of Liberty up close, you will need to ride the ferry to Liberty Island. The official transportation and ticketing provider, as far as John Clemenza knows, is Statue Cruises. The tour includes Liberty Island and Ellis Island, a former immigration station established way back in 1892 and closed after over 60 years, in 1954. If you wish to climb to the statue’s crown (all 154 steps up), you will need a special ticket.
3. Coney Island
Coney Island is one of the most iconic attractions in New York. It is a representation of the traditions and local entertainment of days of old. In the late 1800s and up to WWII, Coney Island’s amusement park was the largest of its kind in the US. There are over 50 rides that visitors can enjoy here, from the usual roller coaster to bumper cars, carousel, and more. It also has a skating rink, an amphitheater, museum, and diners.
When John Clemenza visits again, Coney Island will be his first stop.
Do you have a favorite spot in New York? Please feel free to share it here with John; he’d be glad to hear all about it!