Adventures in New York and New Jersey

Hi Everyone,

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I was gone last week on a business trip to New Jersey and New York. The business trip has nothing to do with the blog, and isn’t particularly interesting anyway, but we did have an opportunity to visit New York City and such. So, I wanted to share some photos from our visit to New York.

Hamilton, NJ train station

We took the NJ Transit train from Hamilton, NJ which is a lovely small town that had an old, “colonial American” feel.1 The train ride was OK, and after 1 hour, we arrived in Penn Station:


And then outside:


New York is pretty crowded, like downtown Tokyo, so it was a bit overwhelming at first. I’ve been Tokyo many times, so I am used to it there, but this was first my first time in NYC, so I was a bit disoriented.

After we got some work done in the city, we went to the Empire State Building:

The Empire State Building

Outside, a number of vendors were trying to sell us tickets stating that the line was one-and-a-half hours long, but one of my teammates had lived in New York before and knew this was not true. The vendors were very persistent, and annoying though. We ignored them and went inside. Indeed, the line was very short:


The inside of the building is very pretty though:


We skipped most of the exhibits (we only had 1 day to visit New York) and went to the top. It was very windy and cold, but gorgeous:

World Trade Center from Empire State Building

The tall building in the background is the World Trade Center.

Seriously though, it was cold:


Here is a panoramic shot of New York, facing Central Park:

New York skyline from Empire State Building

After all that was done, we took the New York subways toward the World Trade Center:

New York Subway

The empty tunnels reminded me of Hollywood movies:


We arrived outside near the new World Trade Center:

The new World Trade Center profile

It’s really, really tall:


I always wanted to see the 9/11 memorial because I wanted to leave some flowers or say a prayer. Thankfully, the Memorial was right next door inside a very beautiful park. I took a video of the memorial. This is the foundation of one of the original buildings, which is now a fountain:

I said a quick Buddhist prayer for all the people who died when my coworkers (hopefully) were not looking and then we left to get some dinner.

Later that evening, we went to the harbor for a late-night tour. The harbor was dark, and even more cold:


The boat tour was pretty good. They talked about the history of New York City, made some jokes about the British (which was annoying since my teammate is British and some of the passengers were British tourists) and then we got to see the Statue of Liberty:

Statue of Liberty at night

It was hard to take a photo on a windy, rocking boat at night, but it was nice to see the Statue of Liberty at last.

Another teammate, an avid photographer, took much better photos of the same trip. You can see them here.

You can find the full album of photos I took here.

So what did I think of New York? I’ve been to London, Paris and of course Tokyo and New York was similar, but somehow less friendly.2 It’s big, crowded and has a lot of history so, it was exciting to be there, and I am happy I finally visited the 9/11 Memorial, but I think visiting New York once is enough.

Still, I am glad I was able to go once (my wife went many years ago before we got married) and it was a good experience for the whole team, so it was definitely worth going.

P.S. New Jersey had a lot of good food in general. One time we found a small Thai-food restaurant called Thai House Rock. The menus are made using old LP record albums and the food is made to order and it was delicious. We also found a good deli run by a very nice, old lady at a gas station. The sandwiches were huge and delicious. I’d probably go back to NJ just for the food. 😉

P.P.S. A BBC article by someone who shares the same view about New York Citt.

1 They also had a small Italian restaurant there with a delicious Philly-Cheesesteak Hoagie. I didn’t even know what a hoagie was. In Seattle, we call them “sub sandwiches”. Interesting how the same country can have regional differences like that. :p

2 Paris doesn’t feel friendly either, unless you speak a little French. I knew a few words and phrases and that helped a lot. It helped in Luxembourg too. I was surprised to see a lot of Japanese tourists in Paris. We had a good time overall, especially the Louvre and the Champs Elysees. I would definitely go back but I would like to learn more French first.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

2 thoughts on “Adventures in New York and New Jersey”

  1. Doug: Very interesting report on your trip. I’ve been to Tokyo several times, and as a Philly resident, I’ve also been to New York often. I also think New York is a bit too big for my tastes. I would compare it and Tokyo this way: both are agglomerations of what were separate towns and villages in the distant past, but whereas Tokyo still has that feeling for me (when I went down into one subway station and came up at another one, my surroundings somehow felt like a different place entirely), New York all seems like one huge urban monster. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am much more familiar with the native language of one city than that of the other!

    The next time you venture to the East Coast, please visit Philadelphia. It’s smaller and much friendlier (I think) than New York, although some might argue with me on the latter point.


    1. Hi JonJ,

      I think you hit it on the head: Tokyo still has a traditional village feel, at least outside of Shinjuku/Shibuya (my two least favorite places to visit), whereas I didn’t get that vibe from NYC.

      I would love to visit Philly. The business trip had a tight schedule so no room to explore really, and I don’t usually have much reason to go there, but I am interested in seeing Philly nonetheless. 🙂


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