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One Summit Vanderbilt and Bryant Park - on 4 July in New York

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

New York is a city that quickly captivates visitors.

My family and I live on the outskirts of Vienna. The Austrian capital is great and has already been voted the world's most liveable city for the umpteenth time. I can absolutely understand why, if a Corona lockdown hasn't just been declared again. On the other hand, Vienna is also always way out in front when it comes to awarding prizes to the world's most unfriendly cities. Guests experience the Danube metropolis as bearish and dismissive. I have never understood why. After our visit to New York, I know!

The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, and its inhabitants have crept into our hearts. My wife and I never thought it would be possible. Our image of the always stressed and coarse New Yorkers was already solidified. The local people proved us wrong - in fact, during our entire trip, including Florida.

The Americans not only have a sense of humour on our wavelength, they also proved to be extremely communicative, more helpful and more interested than we assumed. In no other country did we get into conversation with the locals as easily as in the USA. We were invited for cocktails and were admired every time we told them where we were from. We liked that. We had the feeling of being welcomed with open arms. In Vienna, people look at you askance when you greet the people you see every morning at the bus station.

On our third day, we wanted to plunge back into this open and crazy melting pot with open hearts. It was the 4th of July 2022 and people in all 50 states were celebrating their Independence Day. What an event, but if you think New York is bursting at the seams on this day, you're wrong. Around the 4th of July it is holiday time in the US and most US Americans go to their families or enjoy a few days off on this day.

On the morning of 4 July, there was surprisingly little activity in Times Square.

When we took a little walk through Times Square after breakfast, it was almost empty. In fact, quite a few shops had closed. It was exceptionally quiet for the square of squares. We strolled along the wide pavements and eventually walked towards the Summit One Vanderbilt building. We had booked a ride up to one of the newest and most modern viewing facilities in all of New York. Again, I was really nervous in front of our second skyscraper. Why? One Vanderbilt is a so-called super skyscraper on Vanderbilt Avenue, completed in September 2020.

At 427 metres high, the Vanderbilt Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the city and it scores with an incredibly impressive observation deck on three levels. At 300 metres, world-renowned artist Kenzo Digital has created a unique interactive art installation called AIR. Exiting the lift, you find yourself in the hall of mirrors with the best view in the world. "The AIR concept is meant to be a living space, like a living organism. Like the whole city of New York. AIR is something like an organ of this city body," Kenzo said during the opening with September 2020. If I felt a little uncomfortable in the first few minutes, I enjoyed this extremely intense experience even more later on. A visit to Summit One Vanderbilt is an absolute must in New York.

We can only recommend a visit to Shake Shack.

This trip made us all hungry, and what would New York be without fast food. At the suggestion of several New York fans on the internet, we ticked off another item on our list that day: a meal at Shake Shack. According to recommendations, this fast food chain serves some of the best burgers in town. Shake Shack is a restaurant chain based in New York City. It began in 2001 with a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park and grew in popularity. In 2004, it moved to a stand in the park and expanded its menu from New York-style hot dogs to hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and the namesake milkshakes. Our recommendation: Go to Shake Shack and taste your way through, but be prepared for long waits, as the places are very popular and finding a free table is not that easy. Although we consume little to no meat at home, we decided to make an exception in the USA. It was worth it.

A mega-cool experience: the viewing levels in the Summit One Vanderbilt skyscraper.

With full bellies and satisfied children, we went back to our hotel room in Element Times Square and immediately prepared the next meal. In the afternoon, we wanted to have a picnic in Bryant Park with pasta salad and donuts. We would most likely miss the film that was scheduled for the open-air cinema that day - 8 pm was just too late and "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation" is not a children's film anyway. We finally had to pack our suitcases, because the next day our flight left early in the morning for Orlando.

The picnic in the well-frequented Bryant Park was nevertheless an experience. We felt like old-established New Yorkers as we ate our noodles on the grass and munched on unhealthy donuts. But the famous New York park is also worth a visit on all other days.

We look forward to your feedback and are open to lively exchange. You also want to travel and like to travel often and have a question, just write us and comment.

Kind regards,

Steffi, Max and the kids

(Author of this blog: Max)


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