Sounds of New York

Tina Ediss finds a city she can love

The busker’s voice is raspy, the backing a simple guitar but the emotion is raw and we’re all moved. He’s singing songs that are known the world over, great songs, Beatles songs.

I’m at Strawberry Fields, New York’s memorial to John Lennon in Central Park. Black and white mosaics are set on the ground in a circle. There’s one word in the middle – Imagine – and I do.

John Lennon Memorial – Central Park

At least I try to imagine what John would be doing now and what songs we would be singing if we hadn’t lost him on Dec 9th 1980. He was murdered outside his home in the Dakota building, just across the road from the memorial.

Love me do follows I saw her standing there follows Instant Karma as we sit on the benches around the mosaic. People pose for photos; mostly they make the sign for peace. I notice that no-one just walks across it; it couldn’t be more revered if it was John’s grave.  

 All of life is here, every nationality, every colour, every age; fans of the Fab Four who grew up with the songs, young adults not even born when John died; young children, cyclists, babies in push chairs, even a mime artist on his way home from work.

It’s the end of our first day in New York on a Big Bus Hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing tour. It makes fourteen stops Uptown and Downtown and is a good way to get an overview – but bear in mind it can get busy in peak times. 

We walk back to our hotel, the Hyatt at Herald Square on W31 St, a good central location. We relax with a cold drink on the hotel’s roof terrace. It’s a minute or two before I look high enough and realise the nearby skyscraper is the Empire State Building, just a couple of blocks away. It looks amazing both in daylight and at night when it’s all lit up.

The next morning we decide to explore on foot and head towards Battery Park. We don’t have a plan, we don’t use a map, we keep the tip of the Freedom Tower, built on the site of the tragic Twin Towers, in sight and kept heading towards the southern tip of Manhattan.

In the Tribeca neighbourhood is a fire station, the 8th Hook and Ladder. If you recognise something strange in the neighbourhood, it’s because the station was used in the Ghostbusters movie. The Ghostbuster logos painted on the building and side-walk make me smile and the theme tune goes round in my head for the rest of the day. 

Ghostbusters Fire Station

The 8th Hook and Ladder was also one of the first responders to the 2001 terror attacks of 9/11, just a short walk away.

The area that’s become known as Ground Zero is crowded with people who’ve come to pay their respects and the atmosphere is respectful and sombre. Waterfalls pour into the deep, empty footprints, the former foundations, of the North and South Tower. Nearly 3,000 names of those lost are carved on the surrounding parapets. 

Freedom Tower, aka One World Trade Centre, opened in 2014. It’s the tallest building in the hemisphere; on the 100th floor is the One World Observatory which has great views of NYC and beyond. 

Nearby is the National September 11 Memorial Museum but we haven’t booked a visit, the queues are long and the day too hot so we carry on down to Battery Park for a view across to the Statue of Liberty, another symbol of freedom.

We follow the Hudson River Park. It’s a pretty walk with piers and parks and panoramic views and is so peaceful, it’s easy to forget we’re in New York.

We pick up the High-Line. Once a rail viaduct, it closed in 1980 and fell into disrepair, it’s now been transformed into a 1.5 mile elevated walkway edged with self-seeded wildflowers. It ends just a few blocks from our hotel.

We spend our final morning shopping in Macys Department store on W.34th Street. Then, loaded up with shopping bags, we spend an hour or so unwinding in nearby Bryant Park listening to one of the live lunchtime performances that run weekdays from the end of April to early October. 

I decide I love New York. I love its sounds, its excitement, and I love its calm.

I wonder what it would be like to live here; I close my eyes and imagine.

Fact-box

To book your trip to New York, call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678. They can assist with flights, accommodation and more.

For more information – NYC & Company: nycgo.com

80336

Share Article:

Tina Ediss

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Geoff Moore joined events across the island to celebrate Liberation Day, one of the most important dates in Guernsey’s calendar…
The Royal Shakespeare Company offers far more than just live theatre as Gillian Thornton found out on a visit to…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.