Brooklyn Bow Wow – Doggy Services

– $16 for a 30 minute social walk
– $25 for day care under 6 hours
– $35 for day care over 6 hours
– $45-60 for boarding depending on the length

Having a dog in New York can be a little complicated, especially when everyone in the household is busy with full time jobs! When we first got Smiley, we didn’t have to worry about it because I was still job-hunting from home while Isaac brought home whatever the vegan version of bacon is.

Timing is a weird thing, however, and as soon as Smiley came into our lives, I started getting interview requests after two months of cricket chirps. That’s when I started panicking and doing research about what to do when I finally started work.

I first heard about Brooklyn Bow Wow while walking Smiley at a local park. Several people mentioned their dog-walking services and had nothing but amazing things to say. Being the paranoid dog-mom that I am, a walk just didn’t seem enough to keep Smiley safe and happy.

To add to my stress, one I finally got the job, my first week of work ended up being at the same time that Isaac had Walford training upstate resulting in him having to leave at 5:30 AM and returning as late as 8 PM! At the same time, I was leaving by 7 AM latest and getting back by 7 PM for my first week.

Since we had only had Smiley for a few weeks, we didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone that long even with a 30-minute walk around noon. The only solution was to take him to a doggy daycare. Which was expensive, a long walk away and we didn’t know if he would be happy there.

Before the week we brought Smiley in to meet the dogs and hang out for 30 minutes to see how he behaved. He was extremely calm around all the dogs and seemed content to be there. It was a great start! On my first day of work I dropped him off without a second thought and went to work. I called at lunch to make sure he was okay and found out that he was! It was all great.

By the time I picked him up, I found out that after 2PM he got very anxious and tried to escape. He was so focused on trying to escape that he ignored all other dogs and didn’t respond to commands and basically acted like an unhappy, spoiled child, which was not good.

The daycare said it was normal at the beginning and that we were welcome to bring him back. Which we did for two more days, during which his behavior did not improve. The staff at Brooklyn Bow Wow was great and so patient with both me and Smiley. They explained that he just didn’t want to hang out calmly with other dogs, needed one-on-one attention from the staff and seemed unhappy there.

They explained that they had enough staff to provide the one-on-one care that Smiley needed, which was a great relief… but they felt bad about Smiley being unhappy and so did I. I fully intended to take him to them again on Thursday and Friday, because I just couldn’t leave him home alone, but after walking by a different, slightly smaller doggy daycare that Smiley had previously visited, I spontaneously decided to take him there just to see what would happy.

For some reason, Smiley preferred that particular daycare (which I will write about in another blog post). We were definitely not done with Brooklyn Bow Wow and we were disappointed that Smiley didn’t like their daycare! We did have a trial walk scheduled with them and hoped to switch to daily walks once our schedule got less crazy.

Just last Saturday, while Isaac and I were out, we had a walker from Brooklyn Bow Wow come over (we had left them the key) and walk Smiley for 30 minutes. It went really well so we are excited to keep using them for regular walks!

Being the paranoid dog parents that we are, we also got a $35 camera to watch Smiley at home. Our apartment has thin walls and a no-dog policy (which our landlord waived as long as Smiley doesn’t disturbed anyone) so we wanted to 1. have peace of mind, 2. see if he barks during the day and 3. see if there’s anything he tries to get into so that we can hide it.

So because of the camera, we got to see (and hear) the Brooklyn Bow Wow walker come in, greet Smiley who was excited to see him, put his harness on and then play with him briefly after dropping him off. We’re not sure if he even noticed the camera (and we resisted scaring him by saying hello through the two-way microphone) so we are extremely satisfied with how the pick up and drop off went. We assume that the walk was just as good!

From now on, we will have the walker come Monday – Friday and since we have a less crazy schedules, Smiley will never be alone for too long and we now know exactly what he does when he’s alone – he snores on our bed like a good boy!

If you’re looking for a doggy daycare, boarding or walking, I definitely recommend Brooklyn Bow Wow! They are located by the DeKalb Subway Station (L train) and they have great prices.

  • $16 for a 30 minute social walk (may include other dogs, private walks are more expensive and less fun for the doggies)
  • $25 for day care under 6 hours
  • $35 for day care over 6 hours
  • $45-60 for boarding depending on the length

We have just started using Brooklyn Bow Wow but have so far had a great experience and high expectations for the future. To save some $$ we prepaid $550 for their services that gives us $600 of credit. If you are interested in using them, give them a call or send them an email and schedule a trial visit and/or walk. You won’t be disappointed!

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Buying Carnivorous Plants in NYC

Amazon was an obvious option but the plants there were expensive and didn’t always have the best reviews. Plus ordering a plant online is risky in case it’s not handled correctly. Does any package deliverer look at “fragile” or “this way up signs”? Not in my experience…

I’ve always been a fan of carnivorous plants and had a bunch in Prague. After the move I got back on the hunt and I started searching in for some hungry plants. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any even though I’ve heard of them being sold everywhere including Walmart.

Amazon was an obvious option but the plants there were expensive and didn’t always have the best reviews. Plus ordering a plant online is risky in case it’s not handled correctly. Does any package deliverer look at “fragile” or “this way up signs”? Not in my experience…

Finally I found a place, Midtown Carnivores, but didn’t have a storefront which made me nervous. I emailed the owner with my order and some questions and he answered me almost immediately. He was friendly, communicative and offered to meet me in Brooklyn with wide range of possible times.

He arrived on time with the plants well-packed and healthy. He provided an info packet on care and said to email him any time with any questions. Although I haven’t had any yet, I am confident that he would answer quickly and help me if I did. If you live in NYC and want a carnivorous plant friend, I definitely recommend Midtown Carnivores. The prices are great, the owner is professional and the plants won’t disappoint!

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Nowadays: Pet-Friendly Bar

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3? 

I am lucky to live next to two great dog-friendly bars with amazing beer prices! One is the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery and the other is Nowadays. Nowadays is located in Ridgewood, Queens but is right next to Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s just a five minute walk from Wilson Avenue subway (L).

Nowadays has an indoor and and outdoor area. The indoor area is fancier, doesn’t allow dogs and has a cover fee to enter after certain hours. The outdoor area is dog friendly, free and has a relaxed vibe that I love. Nowadays is open Thursday – Sunday, sometimes also on Wednesdays and they are open year round. Make sure to check on Facebook to see if they are open.

Their already great beer prices are even more exciting during their 2-for-1 happy hour which runs from 5pm to 8pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It only works for select beers, but where else in NYC can you get a draft beer for $3?

As mentioned before, they are open year round! So when it gets cold, the outdoor area is heated with chic round fire pits! I was there on a particularly cold October day and the fire was much needed, plus it added to the great atmosphere. I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy it in the snow, but we’ll find out.

In addition to a great space and atmosphere, the staff is also pretty amazing. They are always friendly and let you try the beers, offer shots of mulled wine (that make you end up buying a cup for $11). I’m from Europe, where mulled wine was born and Nowadays made it so surprisingly good that I almost forgot I wasn’t in Prague’s Old Town Square.

If you’re ever in the area or feel like venturing over to this part of town, make sure to check out Nowadays! It doesn’t get hopping until later at night but if you come early you can grab the best spots while enjoying cheap drinks! Feel free to bring your pets as long as you don’t mind staying outside.

My only complaint: the beers come in single-use plastic. However they will let you re-use the same cup all night.

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Happy Halloween: Smiley’s Dog Costumes!

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume. 

You may have noticed the dog pictures on my Instagram, or read the two posts I wrote about our rescue Smiley – you may have even read the viral Dodo article about his rescue story! Our unexpected adoption (it only took two weeks of fostering to realize that Smiley belonged with us forever) changed all our plans. All those crazy Halloween parties we wanted to go to turned into us going to dog-friendly pub events, the dog parade and tonight we’ll be going to the big NYC Halloween Parade with Smiley in tow.

Our first event came up unexpectedly, the Bridge and Tunnel Brewery was just a five minute walk from our apartment but we had no costume! I quickly cut out an avocado out of Dollar Tree cardboard paper and it was a success! Smiley won some toys and we got a growler for our fun last-minute costume.

We ended up going to another last minute event, the Tompkins Square dog parade, so Smiley wore his same avocadog costume and got outshined by popes and other crazy intricate creative costumes! It was a lot of fun and we’re definitely going again next year with a better costume. Although most dogs wore hot dogs, delivery costumes and they rocked them, as a crafter I got inspired to do something a little more creative!

Tonight, the parade is mainly for people but Smiley will hopefully steal the show – as long as he actually wears the costume I made him and it doesn’t fall apart. Stay tuned for photos of tonights shenanigans.

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New York Subway vs. Shanghai Metro

In the last few years I have travelled to some of the busiest countries in the world and visited the most used metros. Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and New York are amongst the most heavily trafficked in the world. It was fascinating experiencing all of them and comparing how efficient they were.

In the last few years I have travelled to some of the busiest countries in the world and visited the most used metros. Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and New York are amongst the most heavily trafficked in the world. It was fascinating experiencing all of them and comparing how efficient they were.

Tokyo was insane, with hundreds of people politely waiting for staff wielding a u-shaped stick to squeeze people into the cars like sardines. Most of the subway riders wore masks, remained quiet throughout the ride and were as polite as possible under the circumstances. Compared to my experience in China, it was almost hard for me to comprehend, but I’m getting to that…

If you’re returning readers of this blog then you’re probably sick of hearing me whine about the Shanghai metro, please bear with me! The Shanghai metro has over 360 stops and constantly growing. It is super convenient, air-conditioned, ridiculously cheap and surprisingly clean since many people think it’s okay to spit on the ground. The only thing wrong with the Shanghai metro is the passengers.

People on the Shanghai metro only care about themselves and where they are going, except they are also busy looking at their phones so they don’t notice while they hit you in the head, step all over your new shoes and they shove their way on and off the metro as if they are the only ones using it. Every rush hour metro ride that I took got me a new bruise, scratches on my bag and had me contemplating murder – no joke.

For someone who has never experienced it, it’s probably hard to imagine. But nothing ruins your day as much as people who just don’t care about anyone else to the point of acting like animals escaping a wildfire and shoving each other out of the way aggressively (sometimes covered in sweat). When you imagine that there are a billion of these people, it makes you not want to be on this Earth anymore.

“Haha,” people commented on my whiney posts on Facebook, “that sounds just like New York!” Every time I read that, I began to dread my move. I didn’t believe it at first but when everyone I knew in New York kept saying the same thing, I started to think that they might be right. I was very wrong!

The New York subway is the complete opposite of Shanghai. It is dirty, old, not always air-conditioned, it can be extremely inconvenient – for example in Brooklyn, because the trains only go horizontally so you need to go into Manhattan to get from Bushwick to Brighton Beach which is pretty ridiculous.

It is also extremely expensive at $2.75 per ride no matter the destination. Sometimes Google maps will suggest that you transfer in a place where you need to get off the subway and then get back on, which costs you another $2.75! It’s pretty ridiculous.

When it comes to the people, if you think New Yorkers are unfriendly, you haven’t been to Shanghai. The subway can get pretty crowded during rush hour, but people are generally aware of their surroundings. When they pile on into the cars, it’s not quite as organized as Tokyo, but people will make room. In Shanghai you have to push people out of the way because they won’t move an inch and will block off entire areas of free space because they’re too busy looking at their phones to notice it.

Another thing that was really shocking to me was that most New York subway stations have the same place to enter and exit – this would never work in China. People don’t even wait to let people off the subway before they get on. It would be a massacre! I’m not saying that New York is perfect, I actually saw an impatient crowd getting on once before people got off, but one of the passengers yelled “hey, let us get off first” and guess what? They stopped getting on and order prevailed!

It is arguable that the New York subway is more civilized than Shanghai because New York is a much smaller city. Before you laugh at me, Shanghai has 25 million residents compared to New York’s 8.5 million. People in Shanghai are always running and rushing, never helping each other and sometimes New York can be the same, but I’ve never had to carry a heavy bag up any flight of stairs ever, I was always offered help. That never happened in Shanghai… it’s nice to live in a small quiet city now 😉

Earlier on I mentioned Seoul, which is another busy city with a spotless and convenient metro. I would say that the people in Seoul are somewhere in between New York and Shanghai. People are significantly ruder than in New York but less so than in Shanghai. The actual metro is as convenient as Shanghai, as clean as Tokyo (they get money back if they see a spill, etc.) and more modern than both because they take credit card payments like buses in Sweden!

Comparing all the factors, New York is by far the most expensive, dirtiest, least convenient of Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. But while rats and dripping walls can be ignored or avoided, people are harder to tune out – especially when they are trying to sell you bags and touching your phone over your shoulder (yes, that happened).

There are definitely crazy people in New York and they do ride the subway. Unlike in Shanghai, these people are the minority. Multiply the rudest person you’ve seen on the NY subway by 25 million and then you can imagine what it’s like in Shanghai.

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Go Green in NYC with Green Mountain Energy

According to Green Mountain Energy, their customers have avoided using over 69 billion pounds of CO2 which is the equivalent of planting over 8 million trees. You can see the climbing numbers on their website. By the time you check it out for yourself, it’ll be over 70 billion and we can only hope that it keeps climbing!

Green Mountain Energy had a booth by the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and they got our attention for waving a $5 discount coupon for the store we were about to shop at. We decided to listen to what they had to say, and ten minutes later we were signing up to change from coal to renewable energy.

The company boasts being the longest serving renewable energy retailer. They offer competitively-priced electricity products that use wind and solar power. According to their website, the traditional production of electricity from fossil fuels is the largest source of industrial air pollution in the U.S. This fact is supported by the EIA – the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Changing over was very easy, we just needed to find our Consolidated Edison identification number and fill out an online form. Con Ed has a monopoly on providing electricity to New York City and they offer the option for using green energy instead of coal. We didn’t know about this so we never thought of changing it. Since coal is the cheapest and easiest for them to provide, that is the automatic option.

The change to Green Mountain Energy will cost us just a few dollars each month for the service fee, but the actual rates are basically the same – for electricity. We also ended up switching to a sustainable gas source as well, which is supposed to reduce our gas bill and cancel out the extra electricity costs. Basically, going green is going to be free and changing it was the easiest thing in the world.

Like so many of you, Isaac and I do so much to try and minimize our footprint on this planet but we were missing this vital step that will make more of a difference than saying no to a bag at the store! If you would like to make the change but need more information, call your electricity provider today. It can be scary signing papers handed out by strangers, go through your provider directly for peace of mind.

We’ll be receiving our first utilities bills this week, so we still can’t confirm that this change was practically free. But we only have one Earth, so even if it costs us the price of a coffee or two to reduce just a little of the damage that’s being done to the planet, then we’re willing to pay it.

According to Green Mountain Energy, their customers have avoided using over 69 billion pounds of CO2 which is the equivalent of planting over 8 million trees. You can see the climbing numbers on their website. By the time you check it out for yourself, it’ll be over 70 billion and we can only hope that it keeps climbing!

 

 

 

 

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Best Vegan Food in China Town, NYC: Bodhi Kosher

On our way in I saw sashimi in the display window and I was disappointed that we weren’t in an all-vegan restaurant. It turned out that the sashimi was vegan too! Another customer who had lived in New York her whole life told us that it was her favorite place in the city.

It was hard to find a vegan restaurant in China Town. Just kidding… it was hard picking one of the dozens of restaurants all claiming to have the “best vegan food in New York City.”

When we lived in Shanghai, China, the concept of veganism was not something that was understood by local people. Although it was easy to avoid animal products by ordering veggie side dishes in local restaurants, there was only one exclusively vegan expat restaurant. So even though we knew that New York is extremely vegan-friendly, we had no idea that China Town was in on the hype.

After a quick search on Google we picked a restaurant based on distance from where we were. It was raining and it would have taken an hour to go through all the options… so we walking for two minutes and found ourselves at the end of a long line outside of Buddha Bodai, supposedly the best vegan restaurant in the city.

Isaac used his Mandarin skills to eves-drop on the staff who mentioned a 45 minute waiting list. We considered waiting since the place had such great reviews, but we ended up finding another place nearby and it didn’t have a line. Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant was barely a block away from Buddha Bodai.

On our way in I saw sashimi in the display window and I was disappointed that we weren’t in an all-vegan restaurant, because I was excited to browse the menu without having to check what I could and couldn’t eat. It turned out that the sashimi was vegan too! Everything in the restaurant was, and this place also claimed to be the best all-vegan restaurant in the city. Plus, another customer who had lived in New York her whole life told us that it was her favorite place.

The list of items on the menu was overwhelming. There was sushi, dim sum, all sorts of traditional dishes made out with mock meat. Like pulled pork, duck and a meat platter all made of mushrooms, stain and other plant-based ingredients that I couldn’t identify.

Unfortunately we came about three hours after dim sum happy hour, which makes every meal a dollar cheaper! Not that Bodhi Kosher Vegetarian Restaurant is expensive… we spent just over $35 on a giant meat plate, a sushi platter, steamed dumplings, fried dumplings and some dim sum. We even got fortune cookies with the bill – which is not something that happens in China by the way.

We definitely hope to go back and sample some more of their delicious menu. However there’s many other vegan places we still need to eat at in China Town. One of the best things about New York is that you could eat a different restaurant every day and it would still take you a lifetime to try it all!

What’s your favorite restaurant in New York? Leave a comment below!

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Cheap Ferries with Great Views of New York

Depending on the time and day of the week, it can be faster to take the ferry than the subway to get from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. After a day of exploring New York a few weeks ago, we did just that. We managed to get on the last boat of the day and made it to Dumbo in less than five minutes. From there, we got to enjoy a beautiful view of the city…

As soon as we found out that we were moving to New York, we began booking weekend trips, sightseeing tours and ferry rides. We found a really cool sunset cruise that only cost $16 per person so we bought tickets, never wrote it down on our calendar and we ended up missing it… which was extremely disappointing.

Luckily, just two days later we decided to go to the beach and the subway took almost two hours to get us from Brooklyn to Rockaway in Queens. On our way back we decided to take the ferry to Manhattan with our friends. For the same price as a subway ride, just $2.75, we spent an hour on the ferry with a double rainbow behind us and the most spectacular New York skyline in front of us!

For about $10 we could have ordered a beer on the ferry too. Although that was too expensive for us, if you add $10 and $2.75, that’s still less than the $16 (+ tax and service fee) that we paid for the sunset cruise that didn’t include drinks… if it hadn’t been raining, we would have even gotten a sunset! Instead, we got to see the most beautiful rainbow.

The Manhattan Pier 11 ferry terminal is on Wall Street and it’s in a really cool area. There are places to eat right on the water, there are parks and cute streets to explore. We didn’t have enough time to stay there and look around, but next time we take the ferry, we hope to see more of the area!

Other than the completely free Staten Island ferry that I definitely recommend every New York visitor to take for great views of the Statue of Liberty, you can also take the ferry from the same Pier 11 to Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Depending on the time and day of the week, it can be faster to take the ferry than the subway to get from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. After a day of exploring New York a few weeks ago, we did just that. We managed to get on the last boat of the day and made it to Dumbo in less than five minutes.

From there, we got to enjoy a beautiful view of the city. We ended up walking to a secluded spot right by the water where we could see the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance as well as the Manhattan skyline. Once again, this ferry only cost us $2.75!

Although we haven’t done it yet, we’ve heard rumors of a $10 ferry that circles the entire island of Manhattan that runs frequently every day. Although these cheap public ferries are a great way to explore New York, if you’re looking for a proper boat tour, that is another cheap option. Subscribe to The Travel Bug Bite for more tips and info about New York City!

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Visiting the 9/11 Memorial: New York, 2018

Despite feeling a pang of sadness every year when the anniversary comes around, the magnitude of the catastrophe never really resonated with me… until I visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 1st as part of my New York Sightseeing Pass. I did not expect to be as moved as I was by the display of videos, artifacts and photographs of all of the victims and the towers.

It’s been 17 years since the tragic day of September 11th, 2001, but as one of the signs in the memorial states, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”

The high schoolers who will learn about the event this year, will be learning about it as history. They were not alive at the time that 2,977 people lost their lives in the biggest terrorist attack that the world had ever seen. I was only nine when it happen yet I remember the day clearly. I can still picture myself playing with legos while watching the footage on every news channel while my mom called family and friends in tears.

Despite feeling a pang of sadness every year when the anniversary comes around, the magnitude of the catastrophe never really resonated with me… until I visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on September 1st as part of my New York Sightseeing Pass. I was curious about the museum but was mostly looking forward to going up the One World Trade Center/Freedom Tower afterwards.

I did not expect to be as moved as I was by the display of videos, artifacts and photographs of all of the victims and the towers. They displayed the metal structure that the first plane hit, twisting it out of shape. They had the motorcycle that one of the firefighters had just bought before perishing in the rescue efforts. They even had the boarding pass of one of the highjackers of Flight 77. It was fascinating and incredibly eerie at the same time.

As soon as we got through security and entered the building, a solemn mood fell over the previously boisterous crowd of tourists. There was barely any talking, except in hushed tones, as people read the timeline of events on September 11th.

The amount of information was staggering, down to the detailed minutes of the fateful day, from the phone call that a passenger made to his father from the first plane to rescuers telling people in the South tower to stay calm and return to their offices a mere half-hour before the second plane hit.

There were tissues available for viewers of a video where bystanders and survivors describing the series of events and the horrors that they witnessed. While we didn’t see anyone crying, many people were shaking their heads, holding their loved ones close and closing their eyes when things got too intense.

My favorite aspect of the memorial was the message of hope portrayed in the video about the construction of the One World Trade Center. Amidst all the horrifying footage and possessions of the victims were stories about the heroes who went above and beyond their duties to save lives and help those in need.

We spent about two hours walking around the museum and we would have spent more time there if it wasn’t so cold (the air-con was a little overdone) and if we hadn’t marched for four hours earlier during the day. There was a lot more we could have learned if we had had the energy (and a jacket).

It was a coincidence that we went to the memorial before going up to the observation deck. We were standing by the fountain and made the decision completely at random. It was so much more meaningful to go up the One Trade Center after going through the memorial and re-living the tragic event and experiencing the hope that the tower represented first-hand.

If you’re planning on visiting both the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Trade Center then we strongly recommend that you do the museum first. If you have enough time to spend an entire day there, visit the memorial in the morning followed by a lunch/coffee in the area. You can even get food to go and eat by the fountains that are located exactly where the original twin towers once stood. Please remember where you are and don’t disrespect the memorial by sitting or leaning against the names inscribed along the fountain.

End your day wowing over the views in the tower – try to time it around sunset. If you want to get drinks up on the deck, you can save some money by biding a $6/drink coupon at the ticket desk downstairs. Otherwise you can get beers for around $11, coffee for $5 and fancier wines/drinks or dinner for up to $30 per person. If you have the money to splurge, this is the place to do it.

A few facts about the 9/11 Memorial:

Construction began in 2006 and was finally opened to the public in May 2014. General admissions are $24 for adults, $44 for admission and a museum tour and $39 for admissions and a memorial tour. There are discounts for teenagers, children, students, seniors and U.S. veterans. It is also included in the New York Sightseeing Pass.

If you’re visiting New York City, this memorial is a definite must see. Just visiting the fountains won’t have the same effect . The two hours I spent here gave me a whole new appreciation of New York City. The events of 9/11 didn’t define the city. Instead, the attack united New Yorkers who went on to show the world their strength and the unbreakable spirit of this unique city.

I have so much respect for the creators of the memorial and museum, for the police officers and fire fighters who risked their lives on 9/11. Most of all, for the community that went through the world’s most horrifying terrorist attack and managed to rebuild their lives as well as their city, becoming stronger than ever before.

Rest in peace.
Never forget. 
“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” – Virgil

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The Best View of New York City: One World Trade Center

One World Trade offers a unique view of New York’s spectacular waterfront. While you can see both the Hudson and East rivers in the distance from Top of the Rock, One World is right on the water. You can both rivers clearly merging into the Upper Bay and watch the sunset over New Jersey…

Everyone always debates between going up the Rockefeller Center‘s Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building to see the best views of New York City. My advice? Go to the One World Trade Observatory (Freedom Tower) instead.

Isaac and I travel a lot and one of the highlights of any trip that we take is going up the highest point. Nothing beats seeing a place you’ve been exploring from a new vantage point and we always try to schedule our trip around sunset to experience the city going from day to night.

Although we still haven’t seen the view from the Empire State Building, we’re confident that nothing will beat One World Trade and here are the reasons why:

1. The Waterfront

One World Trade offers a unique view of New York’s spectacular waterfront. While you can see both the Hudson and East rivers shimmering in the distance from Top of the Rock, One World is right on the water. You can both rivers clearly merging into the Upper Bay and watch the sunset over New Jersey.

2. Brooklyn Bridge

New York’s most iconic bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever constructed and finished by a woman is one of the highlights of the city. One World offers a beautiful view of not only the Brooklyn Bridge but also the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. Seeing the bridges light up at dusk was magical and not possible from Top of the Rock.

3. No Obstructing Construction

Construction is not an issue at night because the lights of the city drown out the many cranes. However, on our last visit to Top of the Rock during the day, the view was quite obstructed by construction – we couldn’t really see Central Park because at least three buildings are coming up in front of the park. On the other side, right next the Empire State Building, surprise, surprise, there’s more construction!

Since One World Trade is so much taller than all of the buildings surrounding it so there’s no cranes in view. The construction happening uptown is too far to interfere. Unfortunately you can’t see Central Park from the One World observatory at all, but the Top of the Rock isn’t a good place to see it anymore either.

4. Picturesque Skyline

Both One World Trade and Top of the Rock offer great opportunities for photos. On our visit to Top of the Rock we saw a couple getting their wedding photos taken. There are a few big differences between the views. Top of the Rock offers the best possible close-up shot of the Empire State Building and you can even take a selfie with it.

From the One World Trade observatory, you can see Empire State but from a distance. You can take beautiful shots of the entire city with Empire State, Top of the Rock and all of the other iconic sky scrapers all lined up in the distance. Seeing the entire city like that was spectacular, but you couldn’t make out any of the buildings clearly in a selfie. Enjoying a great view should be a bigger priority than the perfect selfie, but to each their own…

5. Floor-Length Windows

When you’re standing up against the floor-length windows in the One World Trade tower, you can see all the way down and feel like you’re flying above the city. With so many people touching the glass and leaning their greasy foreheads against the windows (like I did) create unsightly smudges and reflections that interfere with the view and with photos. But having windows also makes it weatherproof, which gets me to #6….

6. Weatherproof Views

Top of the Rock is outside which is great on a breezy sunny day, but I’ve been there twice in the middle of winter which was less pleasant. Sure, there’s something to be said about the crisp night air, but if it’s raining a lot or if there’s a storm, the observatory is closed. You can visit One World Trade whenever you want and enjoy a (slightly too strongly) air-conditioned space.

7. Tallest Observatory Deck

Size doesn’t matter, but when it comes to views, height makes a difference. One World Trade is significantly taller than Top of the Rock and was actually the tallest building in the USA (if you count the height of the antenna). As I previously mentioned, it’s height puts it over ugly construction on nearby buildings and it just makes it more excited to be as high off the ground as possible.

8. The WOW Factor

This might be an unfair category since the Top of the Rock was built almost a hundred years ago and opened to the public in 1933… but I can’t not mention the cool extras that the One World Trade Center offered that made the experience more special. The elevator that took us up took only 45 seconds and shows us a video of New York as it changed (and grew) in the past 300+ years. It was unexpected and beautiful!

Next we were waiting in line watching yet another movie about the building. It wasn’t boring but staring at screens gets old when you’re itching to see the real thing. The video ended with the screens lifting to reveal our first glance of the bay from (almost) the top of the building! Everyone was so genuinely surprised that we wowed and clapped. Sorry for spoiling the surprise…

Conclusion:

The two buildings offer completely different view of the city. If you can only do one, I’d say go to One World Trade. If you get the chance to do both, it’s definitely worth going to Top of the Rock too. They charge you extra for going around sunset so if you do both, go to Top of the Rock during the day and then do One World Trade for sunset to save a few dollars. Or get the New York Sightseeing Pass and save a lot of money on visiting various attractions in New York.

Both buildings have a fascinating history – if you do One World Trade I’d recommend visiting the 9/11 Memorial first to truly appreciate what a symbol of hope the Freedom Tower was in the light of the terrible attack on the Twin Towers. It’s a somber experience that made sure to emphasize the One World Trade Center’s part in New York’s healing process.

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