March 16, 2015
This week was CRAZY. I’ve had the opportunity to see AMAZING places and I would love to take you with me on my first journey over Spring Break: NYC.
Friday March 6th I leave after my history class. At 10 AM Huldah and I take an Emory shuttle to the airport. At the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport we have lunch and say goodbye to one another.
I have to wait for a really long time at the airport and I fill my time with writing a piece for the magazine of my students union Particolarte. And then… my flight has been delayed. In order to reach New York that same day I have to change my second flight and US Airways arranges for me to fly to Newark instead of Laguardia. I’m fine with anything, as long as I will arrive in NYC that night!
The first flight went by really fast and at my layover at Charlotte I charge my electronics and buy some nuts (because airports have great food/snacks… NOT).
On the second flight I sleep for a bit and enjoy the amazing view from my window seat.
At Newark I try not to look like a tourist, but like a student coming home for Spring Break. Unfortunately for me I obviously look lost and an airport-employee helps me find transportation to Manhattan.When I step outside my excitement goes up to another level: there is SNOW ❤ It’s cold, but I love it. It already feels like home here. And at that moment, I already fall in love with the beautiful city.
I choose to go by bus and meet a friendly German guy named Laurin, who apparently is a professional soccer-player. We talk during the whole trip about Europe, States, study abroad, and excitement to be in New York (he is visiting his girlfriend). After a really long drive (over a hour) we arrive at Grand Central Terminal. Wow, I’ve seen that place in the movies! We buy some food and say goodbye as Laurin needs to catch the train.
I walk toward 140 east 41 street, to an apartment that is going to be my place to sleep for the first three nights. I found the place via Couchsurfing.com (sort of Airbnb, but for free!) and lucky for me, host Ryan turned out to be great! Ryan’s apartment is small but neat. After I dropped my stuff and we awkwardly introduced ourselves, he asked me if I wanted to join him and his friends for a night out. Hell yeah!
We go to a nice bar that plays all familiar Top40 songs, every girl drinks gin-tonic and we talk about city-stuff. We take a yellow cab back home and I fall asleep as soon as my body touches the couch.
Saturday I wake up really early. I feel energetic and can’t wait to explore the city! I sneak out the house and wandered around. I got breakfast at Prêt a Manger, walked passed the Empire State Building (and dropped my camera in front of all the tourists, they were all sighting ‘oooohhhh’), had coffee in a cute shop, walked and walked and enjoyed all the amazing streets. Everything is so pretty!
At Macy’s I buy a pair of summer shoes, since I did not bring any to the States and my big black boots probably are going to be a little hot in Cancun.
At Times Square I visit the TKTS booth and buy a half-of-the-price ticket to the matinee of Chicago!
After the AMAZING show I take the subway (gosh there are so many) to WTC and the 9/11 memorial.
The memorial silences me, it is an incredible beautiful work and it touches my heart.
I walk all the sad thoughts of by going to the Southern point of Manhattan. I take the free Staten Ferry to have a better view on the Statue of Liberty, and of the city as a whole.
Back on land I walk toward the Brooklyn Bridge and pass Wall Street!
Since I walked on the ‘edge’ of manhattan, alongside the water, I ended up under the bridge instead of on the bridge. This gave me a reality check on the gap between rich/poor in the big city.
Finally I found a way to walk on the bridge (I seriously considered walking alongside the road at first). The view, of course, is breathtaking. And cold. I want food. My feet hurt.
I have dinner by myself (‘table for one please.’ ‘are you alone?’ ‘yes’ ‘so one person?’ OMG girl, you are making it so awkward) at Applebee’s and try to get back to Manhattan with the subway. Aaaand… I travel in the wrong direction for 20 minutes. No, my blondness has nothing to do with that. A guy gives me the advise to not walk around with a map and look all touristy, but use my phone. Ok thanks man.
Since Ryan is partying again, I cannot do anything but join him again (oh tough life :P). According to his friends I now get the ‘real American experience’ => we’re in a Southern bar >.< I complain a little, by saying: I don’t want American (since I can experience that in Atlanta), I want NYC! Unfortunately nobody is up for clubbing, so I decide to make the best out of it! At 2 AM the daylight saving time makes the clock skip one hour. Since we’re all tipsy we have no clue what is happening and I swear that is has not happened yet (I looked it up: March 29 is the date… for Europe… Did not know USA had to be ‘special’ again). And these are the crazy people I went with (the one recurring in three pictures is Ryan):
Sunday morning starts with a couple of realizations.
1. I lost my shirt at the bar. No I did not do a striptease, but someone bumped into me and spilled my red whine on my white/pink shirt.
2. I left my debit card at the bar. They have this weird system of leaving your tab open if you are considering buying multiple drinks. And then they keep your card. WEIRD.
3. I was not drunk the night before, I have a perfect memory of the entire night (in case the previous points occurred as doubtful).
So, my day started with a search for the lost items. Unfortunately they did not find my shirt, but they did have my card. While walking from the bar to Central Park, I magically lose my glove (handmade by my grandmother) and I go for a search again.
While walking, I pass a movie-set so now I’m going to be famous. I could walk into the frame, but I could not look to my left. I forgot the name of the movie, so I can’t see my moment of shine, but that is okay.
I find a vintage clothing store and I buy a new coat, bye bye old-ugly-primark coat!
I have lunch in a small, not so great café and meet two Dutch medicine-students!
Like Queen B… eh M!
Central Park time! It looks fabulous with all the snow ❤
As a last thing I decided to see the city from greater heights and I take the Roosevelt tram for a cheap but amazing view.
I return back to Ryan’s place, my feet can barely carry my body anymore. I watch series, FaceTime with Roxanne and pack my bags for the new adventure that is waiting for me!
Monday starts early and with rain. I travel to Chinatown with the subway (I’m getting better at it) and wait for the tour bus that is going to take me to the Niagara Falls! I meet Misaki, a Japanese girl that is traveling by herself as well and we talk for a bit. The bus is very uncomfortable, it is really small and since I am sitting above the wheel, I have no space for my legs. Luckily I sleep for most of the time. The food-stops are terrible, but I AM GOING TO SEE THE FALLS, so I don’t care. Oh and the tour guide Fay does not speak English very well and change languages halfway through her sentence. But I was not interested in the guiding-part anyways ;).
We enter Niagara Falls at 7 PM, and I have my own bedroom with two double beds and an amazing (Canada-) view! We only have time to drop off our stuff before we are going to look at the falls by night (American side).
I decide to be adventurous and walk to Goat Island, in search for a better view. I take Misaki and two other Japanese girls (seriously, I’m turning more Asian in the States) with me and I am so thankful for my curiosity, since we have a much better view from there!
We decide to eat some REAL food at Friday’s and when I return to my hotel room I take a long hot bath and enjoy my own space.
Tuesday starts early again. My fellow tour-ists went to some sort of castle, but I did not came for that and I decided to cross the border and see the falls from Canada! Funny how I read some things on the internet about the Rainbow Bridge being made for LGBT people. Well, if that is the gays: I qualify!
I think the pictures say enough: breathtaking. And white, I kind of forgot about the snow when I pictured the falls in mind. But it made it even more special!
But it also made the trip really cold. Luckily I found a Starbucks to get some heat 😀
Border control on the way back was surprisingly strict. I only visited Canada for one hour, but they wanted to know exactly what I did and what I was going to do in t
he U.S.A. (‘I’m going back to New Yooooork’ ‘who do you know there?’ ‘ehm… someone named Angie, via Couchsurfing…’ ‘for how long will you stay there?’ *starts to feel very uncomfortable*). Luckily he let me into the country again :P.
On the way back we stopped at a Glass Museum, but my priority was series and food. Back in Chinatown, me and the three Japanese girls have dinner at a famous Chinese place.
After dinner I take the subway to midtown and I find Angie’s place on 162 west 56th street (in between Times Square and Central Park). Her place is incredibly cosy and it feels like coming home. I work on my assignment that is due on Monday, take a shower and go to bed/couch.
Wednesday starts with a small talk with Angie (who tells me that New Yorkers seriously order all their food/stuff online) and a lovely breakfast at Fresh&Co.
Then it is time to go see MoMa! I wanted to do that on Sunday, but there was no time for it.
After MoMa I take the subway to 246 w 10th st to meet Yamini for lunch. Man, the street name system is so complicated! When I arrive on the address I wonder: where is the restaurant? This looks like a house… OMG I’m so stupid, as I double checked the address it turned out that I had to go to 246 w 10th ave. Avenue instead of Street: 22 minutes walking distance. Annoying things. The walk however was lovely, the weather was so beautiful and so is West Village!
After lunch we walk the High Line and go to Soho to shop shorts (for my travel to Cancun!).
And go to a Hookah bar! Afterwards we walk around the neighborhood, looking into gallery-windows.
When I return to Angie’s place I meet two fellow-couchsurfers who are going to stay at her place: Lia (Brazilian living in Berlin) and Nadia (from California). Lia and I decide to go see Times Square at night. On our way, we take a look in the M&M store, ridiculous shop.
Eventually we end up in an Irish pub (man, I love my self-made fake ID: a Dutch transportation card that says I’m born March 30, 1993; works every time!)
We end our night by doing grocery shopping after midnight (I love the city that never sleeps)!
Thursday already is my last day NYC. Angie takes the three of us on a tour to Brooklyn – Williamsburg. With her rental Tesla!
We cross the Queens-bridge and leave Manhattan behind…
And we enter Brooklyn!
Angie shows us the Mast Brothers Chocolate shop. Smells so goood.
And the Art Library, inspiring initiative to make art something to share, to read, to touch and to see.
And more beautiful views on Manhattan!
Look, we’re like penguins!
And this dog is like a bird or something, chilling on the fence!
After shopping some cute shorts and a skirt, I sit down in Starbucks (I’m totally getting the hipster-lifestyle that occurs to be hot-and-happening in this part of Brooklyn) and finish my assignment that is due on Monday.
For dinner we are going to Chinatown. On my (sub)way I enjoy a little party in the station, a DJ is playing music and disco lights add to the party-ambiance.
Again I make a subway-mistake. I took the 6 – express instead of the 6. So I end up at Brooklyn Bridge, as the subway skipped the station I needed to go to. *SIGHS*
Eventually I was too early anyways, so I sneak into a staircase of an apartment building to write postcards to friends and family. After being lost and found again in Chinatown, we have a delicious Chinese dinner (family-style: share everything!).
After dinner it is time for a Manhattan-by-night car tour!
At high speed we drive through the city. Music out loud, open skylight:
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it from New York, New York, New York!
– Alicia Keys
We have to charge the battery of the car (due to speeding), somewhere far away in Queens. Luckily nobody runs out of conversation!
Interesting how the poor Harlem-part of Park Avenue looks totally different than the classy Upper East Side-part of the avenue…
We end our fabulous tour, of course, at Times Square. And yes, I stood in the car and reached out the skylight as well! What an priceless experience. NEW YORK I LOVE YOU ❤
Back at the parking lot we find out the keys of the car are missing (lol, fun those hyper-technological cars). Luckily we find them in Diana’s (Angie’s roommate) purse. We arrive back in the apartment at 3.30 AM and I pack my bags and talk some more. Angie takes my picture and I write something on it for her Couchsurfing-photobook. At 4.30 AM it is time for me to leave. It hurts. I wanted to more. At least I have some good reasons to come back! Packed with all my stuff I wait for the SuperShuttle that is going to take me to the airport. To my new adventure…
To be continued…