Day 5: New York
After spending our first day exploring the area north of our hotel, we headed south today. We started the day at Washington Square Park, down by 4th Street.
This was the location of the main NYU campus. I’m used to seeing college campuses on large acres of land away from the main urban area, so it was interesting walking through NYU in the middle of Manhattan. Here is the famous Stern School of Business.
We had lunch at celebrity chef David Chang’s Momofuku Ssam Bar. I had a roast duck dish with sticky rice and a green onion pancake. This was absolutely delicious - the duck was perfectly cooked and the flavours were excellent.
After lunch, we explored the shops of the nearby Soho district. There were several flagship stores that my girlfriend wanted to check out in this area. Next, we headed downtown to the World Trade Center. Emerging from the subway and standing right in front of the new One World Trade Center was breathtaking.
Although, I have to say my favorite part of this complex is the new WTC transportation center, also known as the Oculus.
The design of this place is so mesmerizing and incredible. It was designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, who also designed the similarly stunning City of Arts and Sciences which I visited on my trip to Valencia, Spain earlier that year.
Of course, we couldn’t visit the World Trade Center without paying our respects at the 9/11 Memorial Pools. These massive waterfalls sit in the footprint of the North and South towers that were destroyed on September 11th, 2001. The names of the victims are engraved around the perimeter of the pools. There is an eerie silence in this area, right in the middle of downtown Manhattan, and a heavy weight on all those who pass by. It’s hard to describe, but it was a very unique and somber sensation.
We continued further downtown, through the financial district and Wall Street. Here is the famous Charging Bull, which represents financial optimism.
It was also kind of cool to see the original American Express headquarters.
Finally, we reached Battery Park - the southern tip of the island of Manhattan. While I had originally planned to take the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, it was getting late. Instead, we got a small glimpse from afar - maybe next time.
We then took the subway across the East River to Brooklyn. We walked along Brooklyn Bridge park and admired this incredible structure and the New York skyline.
As the dark clouds started to roll in, we managed to get some shots of the Manhattan bridge in DUMBO, before seeking shelter indoors.
For dinner, we went to Jeju Noodle Bar - a very rare Michelin starred noodle shop in the West Village. We had a couple appetizers to start. First was a very tasty rendition of a popular korean stew we like to make.
Next, we had a fatty tuna tartare on rice. This is a specialty of this restaurant and, to be honest, was one of the single best items I’ve ever eaten in my life. I can literally taste the Michelin Star in this dish.
The main course was Korean ramyun, which was pretty good but nothing could compare to that tuna.
Overall, this was an excellent meal and pretty reasonably priced for a Michelin Star restaurant in New York. Before we headed back, we grabbed some snacks at the H-Mart near our hotel. We found out that we were actually living in Manhattan’s Koreatown. I was quite happy with all the places we were able to cover today. Looking forward to seeing more of this exciting city.