Vast distances, high buildings, breathtaking skylines, and fathomless culture. No one can claim himself a travelled man without hands-on experience of the United States. Make your entry to the land of dreams at one of the great cities of the East Coast: you will find whole new scales and an intimidating mass of opportunities for a lifetime experience.
Boston - Tea Party; Washington D.C. – Capitol Hill; New York – Woody Allen? It’s time to refresh your East Coast tags. If you are ready to take a flight overseas, you may chose either of two quite doable combo’s of East Coast fly ’n’ drive. If you are flying to New York, spend some days in the Big Apple, then rent a car and hit Interstate Highway 95 southwards: a four-hour drive will take you to Washington D.C. (the reverse applies when you fly to Washington D.C. from Europe). If you touch down on U.S. soil in Boston, enjoy the city for at least two-three days, and then drive all the way down to NY City. You don’t need return to your landing airport: you can take off back to Europe from each of the three biggest cities of the East Coast.
New York City
New York will shake up your sense of scale, depth and density. But make sure that you taste the life of average New Yorkers after you have seen the main landmarks. Mix high society events and everyday pleasures for a greater New York effect. For example, take a walk on the new High Line Park, a new green stretch built on a disused, elevated freight line on Manhattan’s West Side (between West 30th str. and Gansevoort str.). Modern green design, stunning city vistas and a great event-mix will are waiting for you (and free guided tours every Tuesday). Once in Chelsea, you can explore the sheaf of modern art galleries (check nygallerytours.com for a guided tour). Close by you will find the Hell’s Kitchen district with its famous flea market. Towards lower Manhattan, check out Greenwich Village (once a place of rebels and artists) with the Washington Arch in its center. Southwest to GW you will get to SoHo with its famous cast-iron staircases and overbooked restaurants. If you do not get a table here, try one of the places in the neighboring TriBeCa district (the Odeon, The Harrison, or the Curch Lounge). Your Manhattan-day should include a good shopping on 5th Avenue, a visit to Ground Zero (though the memorial is still in the works), and a walk on Wall Street. After nightfall, brave the Broadway buzz and buy theater tickets at discount rates at a TKTS Discount Booth. The Empire State building is open until 2 AM but if you want to see the New York scenery and the Empire State Building, head for the top of the Rockefeller Center (The Top of the Rock) at night. New York abounds with music, but if you are looking for the cream of it, check shows at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, the Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Apollo Theater of East Harlem (or attend free shows of emerging artists at the Manhattan School of Music). Do not miss Brooklyn, the home of Paul Auster, Spike Lee, Norman Mailer, and Bazooka bubble gum! Descending from Brooklyn Bridge, amble along Brooklyn Heights Promenade, or try the historic Cyclone (built in 1927!) at the fun park on Coney Island. Try also the long ride on Train 7, a historic subway line that cuts through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights all the way to Flushing: from the elevated tracks you will see New York just like the characters of your favorite movies and experience dozens of cultures along the way. Eager for a deeper insight into New York City culture? Check Big Onion for award-winning guided tours (http://www.bigonion.com/tours/), or take on a free tour with volunteering New Yorkers (www.bigapplegreeter.org). Staten Island Ferry is also free (http://www.siferry.com/) – but mind waiting for an older vessel because they have open decks! When planning your visit, check www.nyco.com, the official tourist site of the metropolis.
Top NYC sights
1. The Empire State Building
2. The Brooklyn Bridge
3. Times Square
4. Central Park
5. Grand Central Terminal
6. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
7. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
8. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
9. Ground Zero
10. The American Museum of National History
To the Big Apple in Big Comfort: enjoy the more than 6,000 km long flight to New York aboard Lufthansa’s new Airbus A380 which is 50% more silent than its predecessor. You will hear but a gentle, muffled humming as the plane cuts through the skies.
Do you want to enter the White House? Contact your country’s embassy in D.C. now, or at least 30 days before your planned visit. You may see only eight of the 132 rooms, but it is worth the time. Do all the must–see sights (Capitol Hill, the White House, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building) but beware that if you visit all U.S. National Memorials (from Lincoln’s to Roosevelt’s and the different war memorials) you will spend whole days among Grecian columns. Visiting one of the Smithsonian Museums is also a must, but mind your time limit when choosing from the vast variety of its collections. The National Air & Space Museum is a choice as good as the Smithsonian Natural History Museum where the repertoire ranges from immense dino-skeletons to giant diamonds. At the International Spy Museum you can observe the spying techniques and goodies of the past 50 years and get involved in exercises of analysis and disguise at the museum’s interactive stations. After you have seen history, dip into the real life of the Capitol Hill community! On Sunday noon, visit the Eastern Flea Market (voted second best in the world) in the heart of D.C. Relish tasty food, buy local crafts, clothing, and artwork, chat with locals and enjoy live performances in a festive setting (http://www.easternmarket.net/). Before or after, make a jaunt in Georgetown, the old city center that has nicely conserved raw houses, cobblestone roads, upscale shops and Georgetown University. This is also the starting point of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, a relaxing national park that stretches along the Potomac River. Here you can bike, kayak, or ramble. To see Washington art at its best, book tickets for ballet or classical music shows at the Kennedy Center (www.kennedy-center.org). If looking for the loose end of culture, sample the bars of H Street (Red Palace, The Rock&Roll Hotel, or Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar). You can bid a stylish farewell to Washington from the tower of Washington National Cathedral with the whole city laid out below you.
Be among the first travellers to fly on the new Boeing 747-8, the new edition of the longest double-deck passenger aircraft in the world. Lufthansa is the first airline to fly the new Boeing model, and their choice of Washington D.C. as the first destination to serve with the Boing 747-8 is a symbolic gesture. Read more on the ‘Queen of the skies’ in our next article on the transatlantic Lufthansa experience!
This great city has great traditions but it also beckons with a nice waterfront and great cuisine. Start with the traditions: walk the Freedom Trail, a tour of the most important sites of the War for Independence. Courtesy of the Freedom Trail Foundation, you can take a free guided tour every day. You will see sites like the Boston Common (the city’s oldest park) and the Boston Latin School that nurtured some of the founding fathers of the United States (Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Paine). The Trail tour features the Old South Meeting House where a heated debate triggered the event we now call the Boston Tea Party. Among others, you will visit the Old State House, one of the oldest and most beautifully conserved public buildings of colonial America (a central site of events that lead to the Revolution), and Faneuil Hall where the principle of no taxation without representation is said to have been born in 1764. After the Trail tour, visit North End. One of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods, this quarter bears the traces of its Italian community. Boston is also a good place to experience an important part of the American soul: baseball. Fenway Park is one of the oldest baseball parks in the States and the home of the Red Sox. Book tickets 36 hours before the game! If you don’t want to take the trip to Harvard University campus (also close by) on a sunny day, choose the Sowa Open Market. Every Sunday (until October 28) this lively marketplace awaits with food from farmers, garments and furniture from local designers, and BBQ food from food trucks. If you are looking for fancy stuff and a swanky place, visit Faneuil Hall, a beautiful shopping center crammed with restaurants. Just a block away from Faneuil Hall, you will find Long Wharf where you can embark on a memorable harbor cruise. Choose a historic cruise in the harbor with narration, or take a tour around the oldest lighthouses of the United States. How about boarding a catamaran for a three-hour whale watch? Once in the wharf, remember that Boston is a seafood-eaters’ Mecca. For the best treats of lobster rolls and Ipswich clams go to Neptune Oyster (63 Salem Str.), or try Island Creek Oyster Bar’s fresh staples! If the view over the table also matters, try Legal Harborside (270 Northern Ave), which has good basic seafood and great waterfront vista.
Lufthansa highlight: Up and online
On a Lufthansa flight to Boston, you stay connected: to business, to your family back home, or (if you like) to YouTube. When the ‘no-gadget!’ lamp above you is out, flip open your laptop, iPad or Kindle, connect to FlyNet, Lufthansa’s on-board internet service and surf online! But every now and then, look up from your screen to enjoy the sight beyond the windows.