I guess New York City is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the USA, apparently it gets 50 million visitors a year. Washington DC was also full of visitors when I was there recently, but it seemed like most of those were domestic tourists and kids on school trips. They are both incredible cities and worth a visit, but they had very different vibes. Manhattan is densely populated, and the constant bustle of people gives a sense of excitement but also a feeling that the city is moving around you. There’s definitely a lot to see and do. Washington Dc on the other hand is much more laid back affair. The people here are an odd mixture of suit-wearing officials heading to work, and t-shirt wearing families heading to the museums.
Both cities have incredible architecture and buildings. In Manhattan, the Empire State Building is a real landmark, but one you could easily walk past on ground level. It’s only impressive from far away or high up. A trip up to the top of the Rockerfeller Centre is a great way to see it. In New York it’s all about height, One World Trade Centre is the tallest in New York mainly due to it’s spire. It’s the main structure in the rebuilt World Trade Centre, it’s height of 1,776ft is a reference to the year that the US signed the Declaration of Independence. In Washington DC, these are buildings of governance. The Library of Congress was founded in 1800, and is the largest library in the world. The library has three buildings, the oldest is the Thomas Jefferson building. The main stairs have figures of little boys representing the different occupations like musician, astronomer, student etc. The frescos on the ceiling and walls represented the arts and sciences.
Obviously, most people heading to New York visit Manhattan, for good reason. But I was pleased that we could get out to Brooklyn and see something different. There was greenery in Prospect Park, and sand and sea at Coney Island. There’s space to breathe in Brooklyn when the city gets a little too much for you. In Washington, we took a trip to Georgetown which is a nice, slightly gentrified, centre. Both Brooklyn and Georgetown are pretty hipstery.
In Manhattan, a lack of vertical space meant people very quickly started building upwards. Even the apartment blocks loom over you, and the city constantly impresses it’s grandeur and reputation on you. There’s a real mixture of the old and new. New skyscrapers are constantly being built and now there are many areas where the buildings all crowd each other. In DC, the landscape is much more open. Here the government buildings are the tourist attractions. Each one is still a working building but they seem to have to lot more breathing room so you really get a good look at each one. Really shots of Washington make more sense in landscape rather than portrait.
Well these pictures are pretty similar! These are both big cities, full of lots of different immigrant groups meaning lots of different foods. Obviously, if you wanted to just eat MacDonald’s you can, but we were looking for something a bit different. I don’t eat meat so in Europe that can just straight away rule out entire restaurants. In the US, veggie food was easy to come by, but it was still nice to visit places that specifically cater for us types. New York has more deli places where they sell food by weight I would guess, and just has more of everything generally because it’s much more densely packed.
You could call this street are or just weird stuff you find on the street…New York definitely had more of that. For no reason there were some dog photographers in the middle of Chelsea. Of course they have the bull on Wall Street, and now the little girl opposite. Around Times Square there are a bunch of odd colourful animal statues. In Washington DC, there was one or two colourful additions but lacking some of the mad whimsy of their NYC cousins.
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