These are tough times for all of us, no thanks to the COVID outbreak, and New York City in particular is facing challenges. I know a lot of us can’t wait until the “city that never sleeps” wakes up again. In the meantime, I can share some images with you from my visit in mid-March, when news was beginning to surface about COVID but the city wasn’t in full shutdown mode yet.
Times Square is arguably one of the most iconic locations in New York – and usually one of the most crowded, too. But auto and pedestrian traffic was a little lighter, and became even lighter day by day during my visit. The square was still alive with its signature bright neon lights and colorful characters, though…
We managed to visit the Empire State Building observatory two days before it closed due to COVID. What a lucky break for us, not to miss these incredible views. Here is a view of downtown, including the towering One World Trade Center standing guard over the rest of the city, symbolically. In the background you can also see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
South Street Seaport is one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York. Here you can inspect historic ships on the pier, or catch the New York Water Taxi for a tour of the harbor. Along cobbled streets stand the South Street Seaport Museum, and many opportunities for shopping.
I recommend an outing on the New York Water Taxi from South Street Seaport, which will grant you outstanding views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty, and which will take you to additional stops where you can disembark and explore, like Midtown and Brooklyn.
We managed to catch the very last Water Taxi running – as soon as our trip was over it was shut down due to COVID. We were relieved to have caught the last one, but sad to see it have to shut down. This is one of the best experiences for visitors to New York.
Ordinarily the Statue of Liberty would be swarmed with huge crowds, but not on this day… apparently it was already closed. And although the Water Taxi closed after this run, we were able to enjoy the double-decker bus for another day, which allowed us to explore downtown, midtown, uptown, Harlem, and Brooklyn, with the ability to hop on and hop off at various sights. It’s a very convenient way to get around the city, and with great views, that I highly recommend.
If you have a sweet tooth, no visit to New York is complete without a stop at M & M’s World in Times Square! Here you will find rows and rows of tubes of a rainbow of these delights, and samples are available! Many varieties are available here that you won’t find at your local grocery or pharmacy. You can also shop for an array of branded merchandise.
I recommend trying out Junior’s restaurant in the Theater District. Here you can indulge in authentic New York specialties like a Brooklyn Egg Cream, Pastrami Sandwich, and world-renown New York Cheesecake! It’s a little pricey, but portions are huge – take a friend and share and you’ll both be satisfied!
What better way to stroll off those calories than a stroll through Central Park? It’s a relaxing oasis amid this bustling concrete jungle.
I realize that this post may be controversial – that there may be some who feel it was irresponsible of us to visit New York in mid-March, 2020. And I’m sure there are others who applaud our determination to keep living our lives. We were in New York anticipating a cruise on the 15th that ended up being canceled two days before embarkation, so we remained in the city a couple more days before departing. At that time, there was a lot of confusion, and news of the virus was newly surfacing. The extent of the danger was not yet clear. To those who may be distressed by this post, know that after our visit we returned straight home and quarantined for 14 days. And to anyone wondering, no, we didn’t get sick.
Please join us for our full New York City tour here:
Thank you for reading! A review of two New York City hotels is coming up next!