Drawing open the curtains to a stunning day, there was only one thing for it – some hardcore tourist time! I managed to tick off three big boxes, visiting Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy, before meeting the boys for an incredible tapas dinner.
The bull symbolises the aggressive financial optimism and prosperity of Wall Street and the Financial District, and is an immensely popular tourist attraction; it was a real challenge to get a semi-decent photo, and absolutely impossible to get one without other people in!
Slightly awkward when I asked a stranger to take this photo of me, but it had to be done!
Wall Street’s architecture is generally rooted in the Gilded Age, though there are some art deco influences too. The streets are incredibly narrow and bordered on both sides by some of the tallest buildings in the City, creating “breathtaking artificial canyons”, that make for some pretty spectacular views, like the framing of Trinity Church.
Another famous landmark on Wall Street is Federal Hall, home to many historic events since it was built in 1700, including George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States, hence why he still proudly stands before it.
Then there is the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest stock exchange by market cap of its listed companies, which is policed 24 hours a day.
I suppose the Trump Building deserves mention too, due to its prime property location and grand plans of being the “world’s tallest building”; what less could you expect from Mr Donald Trump?
Having had my fill of financial history, I moved on to Chinatown for my next tour of the day. New York’s Chinatown is different to London’s, in that it is actually a LEGIT, self-sustaining, all-encompassing Asian community, with an estimated population of 90-100,000 people, with everything you need from oriental clothes shops, launderettes, electricians and food markets.
Street vendors sell traditional Asian fruits to locals, all the while conversing in their native language.
Chinese restaurants offering my beloved Peking duck (if you are also a fan of this dish, I seriously recommend you pay Yauatcha a visit) can be found on every corner.
As can token snoozing alcoholics…
But, of course, as we are still in America, you can’t run from the mass chains; they just have a little Asian spin.
And, much more like Chinatown in London, since us nosy, camera-crazy folk can’t be kept at bay, the usual tourist pop-ups can also be found in abundance.
Just across the road is Little Italy.
A neighbourhood once known for its large population of Italians, it is now more akin to London’s Chinatown, in that it mostly consists of Italian eateries and tourist shops.
However, that’s not to say that it’s not nice. Despite the tourist focus, Little Italy still has vibrant charm.
Not to mention stellar food.
What’s better than cannoli’s?
What’s even better than gelato?
Oh. My. Days. This was too good.
Suitably refreshed, it was time to get my skates on over to the East Village to meet Michael for a drink.
Although I couldn’t resist pausing to take these snaps – ‘artistic’ excuses are valid reasons for being late, right?
^ I NEED to go here next time I visit.