The best cities to visit: New York City

I heart New York.

If this most iconic of cities isn’t one of the greatest cities in the world then I really haven’t travelled as much as I thought I had. And what’s not to love about New York? It’s got style, class, and the most famous city skyline in the world.

The mighty Empire State Building in New York City

Isn’t that view of New York City great? The Empire State Building really is a sight to behold, the ambitious 102-story skyscraper standing proudly in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

You can go up the Empire State Building but, in my opinion, the best photographs can be had at the top of the Rockefeller Center, where you can snap photographs of the Empire State Building and Central Park from the observation deck.

And, if you look really closely, you can even make out one of New York’s other icons, far off in the distance: the Statue of Liberty.

The iconic Statue of Liberty in New York City

When this grand old dame isn’t getting off her pedestal and walking across New York City like she did in Ghostbusters 2, this colossal neoclassical monument is standing guard on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbour.

It was given to the Americans as a present from France. Now isn’t that sweet? The only gifts the French have given New Zealand is a sunken Rainbow Warrior and years of heartbreak after two infamous Rugby World Cup defeats.

What amazed me most about the Statue of Liberty is how small it actually is. It always seems so much bigger in American movies and TV shows, like a towering colossus that you can see from every vantage point. Nevertheless, it’s an awe-inspiring sight, if only because it’s just do darn iconic.

Me in Times Square, New York City

Navigating Manhattan’s concrete jungle is made easier by New York’s grid pattern of numbered avenues and streets. Taxis and other traffic whizz past, hotdog vendors stand on corners and seemingly millions of people congregate in New York’s Times Square, a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan.

It’s here in Time Squares that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed from all the flashing lights, all the snap-happy tourists and the New Yorkers going about their lives. My fiancé and I spent a lot of time here, drinking in the atmosphere, shopping at M&Ms World and sitting at McDonalds, where you can get a great view over the square from the restaurant’s second floor.

Central Park – that giant green space at the centre of Manhattan – is sort of the antithesis of Time Square, a peaceful but no less impressive park flanked by giant skyscrapers.

The view over Central Park in New York from the Rockefellar Center

New York is more than just Manhattan, of course, although it’s here that most tourists and travellers will flock to for the city’s main attractions. More than 1.6 million people live in Manhattan; more than 2.5 million live in Brooklyn.

Now, I didn’t spend a lot of time in Brooklyn, the most populous borough of New York, but it’s another reason why I think New York is one of the best cities in the world to visit. In almost any part of the world, Brooklyn would be a major city in its own right.

Brooklyn certainly feels like its own city, with its own vibe and distinct cultural neighbourhoods. It’s worth visiting just to check out Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States.

It’s arguably as iconic as any other feature of New York, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn via the East River.

Me in Central Park, New York City

And that, my friends, is just a few reasons why I think New York is one of the best cities in the world to visit. If it were as easy to pack up and move to New York for an indefinite amount of time as it was for me to move to London, I’d be there in a second.

As it is, I can’t wait to visit New York again in the future. In fact, I often dream of living there. I could really see myself living the high life, renting a loft apartment near central park, where I’d have a doorman and an apartment cleaning service on my beck and call, night and day.

More likely, I’d probably live in a shoe-box sized apartment with three others. Oh well. A boy can dream.

Do you love New York too? Also check out the best cities to visit: Istanbul.

About Simon Petersen 504 Articles
Travel blogger, journalist, sports and movie fiend. Chronicling the life and times of a Kiwi at home and abroad.


  1. I always find it hard to write about places I’ve lived, but love when others do so I can read about it through their lens. Glad you’re sharing some love for NYC! It looks like you hit some great weather.

    I spent most of my time between Houston and 23rd Street, which holds many places visitors explore on their second NYC trip. If you didn’t get there this time, be sure to check out the High Line, a park re-purposed from old train tracks, and the surrounding galleries and eateries.

  2. Great to see some love for our hometown!

    In addition to Brooklyn, another great Borough to check out is Queens. With a population greater than 2 million (and growing), Queens is expected to soon claim the title of most populous borough. In addition, it’s one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world! You can get amazingly authentic cuisine and explore awesome ethnic neighborhoods such as Flushing (Chinese/Korean), Astoria (Greek/Egyptian), Jackson Heights (Indian/Bangladeshi/Nepalese/Latin), and Elmhurst (Chinese/SE Asian) – just to name a few.

    • What an awesome place to come from! When I tell people I’m from Whangarei they look at me like, “where the hell is that?”. Bet you never have that problem. I’ll definitely check out Queens next time.

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