Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nyc. Show all posts
Monday, 21 October 2013

The end of the line ... NYC

4th January 2013
I am reaching the final leg of my North American journey. Incredible and also a little sad. I caught the bus back to NYC and it was really sad realising that it would be the last time on an American interstate (yes, an interstate made me teary). It was partly because I had so many amazing road trips in the US and the realisation that it was actually all over. In the future, I will not ride an overnight bus. It's just not worth it.



Sometimes even I am impressed with my sneaky shots.

New York City. This time, I stayed in Brooklyn since it was close to JFK and I didn't want to stay on Manhattan again, nor did I really want to see anything there since I had already done everything that I wanted with Sunbear on the trip over fall break. I stayed at NY Moore and hands down, one of the the best hostels ever. It was a ginormous room for 8 people (seriously, the same floor space as the 24 person dorm in Philly) with double beds that there were super sturdy and wooden and an amazing bathroom. That was luxury. Of course, there would be a downside. The downside is that it wouldn't be a hostel you would stay at for a first visit to NYC since it wasn't in Manhattan and although it was close to a subway station, to get to it was fairly sketchy since it was an industrial area. That being said, it was - in my opinion- in a more authentic location since a few blocks away was just an average neighbourhood, away from all the tourists.



I spent the remainder of the day in Manhattan as I finally organised a ticket to visit the Word Trade Center Memorial. Funny story, I almost lost my ticket as it blew away in the wind and I had to run after it and reach under the car for it. D'oh. It was crazy how strict security was. Honestly. The memorial was uncomfortable. I guess it is just the realisation that so many people did die. What was even creepier were the people posing; I just thought it was so inappropriate. It is one thing to take a photo (which is fine) and completely another to be smiling as a family at the memorial. I don't know, just weird.



Uber blurry. But what can I do...



I managed to catch the sunset from Battery Park and it was truly breathtaking. An amazing way to end my last night in the US. I walked all the way up to Times Square. 8km walk. It was a nice walk, although an incredibly quiet path but at the end of the day, all about being observant rather than paranoid.

5th January 2013
My last day in the States. It was actually really surreal. I checked out and walked around the Williamsburg area. It was nice I guess. Did I really know where I was walking? Nope. But basically a method that served me well (until Rome...). It was nice being able to check out another area of Brooklyn (which is the borough I prefer over Manhattan) and Williamsburg felt very authentic, if that makes any sense. There were so many cute little delis on each block too.







Catching the train to JFK was surprisingly easy but it was so incredibly bittersweet. The end of my time in the States, the end of exchange; it was a little difficult.

Side note, I finally, finally got around to sticking all my momentos into my Moleskine notebook (originally I had another plan to incorporate my ticket stubs etc) and it was so bittersweet. Also, I am the worst hoarder ever and I had so many random receipts that were literally junk.

Next up: London! 
Monday, 8 July 2013

Coney Island & Brooklyn




14th October 2012
There was a plan to watch the sun rise from Brooklyn Bridge however we were lazy and slept in. We caught the subway to Coney Island; an empty subway carriage which was odd. I am not entirely sure why I had wanted to visit Coney Island and why Sunbear had agreed. It might have had something to do with this song, but not entirely sure.


Coney Island is definitely a place for summer. We were there in autumn and the amusement park was closed which was eerie. It reminded me of the amusemment park from Zombieland truth be told. There were quite a few people at the beach, but it was due to the Kite Fest for Healthy Minds. There were so many kites and some were very large too.There was also a playground on the middle of the beach which reminded me of Henry's "castle" from Once Upon a Time.


We then caught the subway to Prospect Park.





Brookyln was lovely and this was the best day on the trip. I guess it was also because we had settled our differences and could actually enjoy the trip. Although, I do think it was also Brooklyn (on my second trip, I stayed in Brooklyn and I enjoyed it a lot more than when I was in Manhattan).

We went to IHop for dinner and there, I witnessed the birthday song or this as it is from the Emperor's New Groove.   There, I said that I wanted to have my 21st birthday at IHop, just so the employees could sing to me.
Sunday, 7 July 2013

New York, New York Part 2




13th October
The previous day we had booked our tickets for Top of the Rock so that we could beat the the line at 8am. It was relatively chilly in Manhattan although it was predominately due to the weather change. For the previous few weeks, Atlanta had been averaging at around 24 degrees celsius and sunny and when we arrived in Manhattan, it was around 15 degrees which was considerably cooler.

I really liked this photo. I really did. Until Sunbear pointed it out that he looked as though he was decapitated. Now I can't unsee.


Soup to keep warm and a super, super dry sandwich
Childhood dream of visiting this statue

Afterwards, we visited Central Park and walked 3/4 of the length of the park, from 59th street all the way down to 97th street. It was a bit surreal being there, I guess it is because I have seen so many scenes from both movies and television shows that had been filmed there. From Home Alone to Enchanted. I am certain that when we walked under one of the bridges used in Enchanted, I was grinning.

We ended up napping outside on the lawn near the Met for around 2 hours unintentionally. Afterwards, we caught the subway back down to Chelsea to visit the Highline. As it was a Saturday, it was incredibly crowded, to the point of uncomfortable and we decided to leave it for another day. We walked all the way down to the Financial district, which was a considerable walk.

On the way, we passed by Washington Square Park, NYU, Soho and Little Italy. I purchased a 'bubble' tea for Sunbear, as he had never tried one before. It was interesting to witness him try it for the first time, though I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of it; I don't like the 'pearls' or tapioca balls.

Stupidly, I had forgotten to plan adequately and wasn't aware that passes were required to visit the World Trade Centre memorial and we didn't end up going (although I went on my second trip to NYC).  We ended up catching the subway back up to central park, with plans to visit the Met however by the time we got there it was closed and pouring with rain.


Sunset - New Jersey
On a bit of a tangent. Travelling with someone is challenging and I honestly believe it is the best way to test a friendship/ relationship. Even though I thought that I knew him pretty well, I realised that I didn't and it was, at points, aggravating to be stuck with someone for so many hours a day. It really does test the bond, and I believe it either makes it or breaks it. This wasn't just based on this experience, but when I visited New Orleans and listening to two other people talk about their experiences of travelling with supposed close friends. Day 1 was not too bad but this day was almost unbearable at some moments. There were many parts of our relationship that, in hindsight, seemed as though it was from a scene of a movie. Our first kiss, our first 'date', just a lot of little things. The breaking point was when we were yelling on the steps of the Met, in the pouring rain (which by the way is not as glamorous as it sounds. Rain is wet {no shit sherlocks} and uncomfortable).



After our dramatic fight, we went wandering around the Upper East Side in our drenched clothing whilst it was still pouring, and desperately tried to find a place to eat. We stumbled upon this diner and the name escapes me. The burger was good and the rice pudding was as well. I guess food tastes better after a fight that has been resolved.
Saturday, 6 July 2013

New York, New York


12th October 2012
How could I travel to the US without visiting New York City? I always knew that I wanted to travel to NYC and Washington D.C on my fall break. The plan originally was to travel with a group of students, however I got invited and then un-invited (maturity as its finest). In the end, I decided to book my flights without asking anyone to join me. Timidly, Sunbear asked to join, which was a little odd as he originally had his heart set on visiting the Everglades.

We caught the bus and then the train at the crack of dawn from our apartments. I never realised until that morning (and then later reaffirmed in London) that I get motion sickness when I can't look out the window. I was feeling terrible sitting down and resorted to standing up for the 30 minute train ride to the airport, trying not to hurl. We didn't check in any luggage as we had crammed 6 days worth of clothing into our respective day packs. Quite a feat I must say. I was still feeling terrible and Sunbear bought me soup and a croissant which did settle my stomach.


Flying over Brooklyn, we could see Manhattan and the term 'concrete jungle' came to mind. Getting to the hostel was more challenging than it should be. We caught the bus from the airport and then instead of catching the subway, Sunbear suggested that we catch a bus down to Times Square so we could see more of Manhattan. Worst. Idea. Ever. We started off at 125th street and an hour later, we were at 100th street and we needed to get to 20th street.

We stayed at the Chelsea International Hostel. One of the worst hostels I stayed in throughout my trip. The only redeeming thing was the location as it was relatively close to the lower end of Manhattan and close to the majority of the attractions. The rooms were terrible, there was no wifi and the shower facilities were half-assed. It wasn't cheap either, but then again, everything was very expensive on Manhattan. I would have stayed at the Hostelling International, which the other group of students stayed at, but it was all the way up at 103rd street. I guess it was all about trade offs in the end, but even then.

Times square.





A problem that we had was that whenever we were hungry, we were unable to find a decent place to eat and yet the moment we ate, all these restaurants popped up. Grr. For dinner we ate at some non descript place. Yes, it looks as though someone sat on our burgers but it tasted okay.

Overall first impressions from the first day. Manhattan was busy, crowded and loud. It was both overwhelming and also underwhelming.