New York, New York! Part 1

Traveling’s been always a passion for me, as well as a necessity to capture the moments “on paper”. Thus, the idea of a travel blog has long been pondering my mind, and no wonder I’m finally writing my first post about NYC, as this city has stolen my heart once and forever.

I planned this trip long before, I dreamt about it even longer, and I couldn’t believe I’m actually doing it even when I landed in Newark airport on Saturday, 10th of September after flight delays, tickets change and quite a long journey, which wasn’t even too exhausting (mostly probably due to excitement).

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So here I am, just landed at Newark, NJ, at around 10 pm local time, and the first thought that strikes my mind is – did they mix the flight and I landed in Bangkok by mistake??! The humidity is so high, no one has ever told me NY humidity is similar to tropics, but that was not the only surprise, as couple days later it came back to normal average European condition – I have never known that the humidity levels can range that much!

I take the Uber shared ride (which I appear to not share with anyone – UberPOOL is a great thing!) and it costs me only slightly above 7 bucks to get to my friend’s flat, which she generously suggested me to stay at. We studied together in school ages ago, and haven’t seen each other for at least 2 years. And how great it is to meet each other after all that time in one of the best cities in the world (or at least the ones I’ve been to!).

I’m tired and excited at the same time, so we take a short walk around the block – she technically lives in Jersey City, but it’s only 2 stops away from Downtown Manhattan, and the flat is on the 27th floor – imagine those views over the Hudson River and the Big Apple!

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I can’t stop looking out of the window, I still can’t believe I’m here, and I have a feeling deep inside that I’m gonna love this city!

I’ve never experienced jetlags, as I can sleep almost anytime, anywhere, so I normally sleep on the plane, then sleep at night and feel perfectly fine the next day. This time wasn’t much different – yes, I did feel sleepy at around 5 pm for couple days, but that could be easily overcome with coffee or emotions.

Nevertheless, I wake up early, around 6 am, and decide to not lose precious time and start to explore the city – must be an interesting feeling to be out and about that early on a lazy Sunday morning – watching city slowly waking up, filling with crowds, noises and movements.

I take a train to World Trade Center and my mind starts wandering around that day 15 years ago – such a symbolic date to arrive to New York, and first thing to come to – WTC, at around 8.30, on 9/11…

I will have more time to think about all of the events a week later, when visiting the museum and the memorial, but even now I’m shivering at the thought of what have happened here – I can remember so clearly what I was doing exactly when I heard the news…

I stroll down the streets, understanding that the day will be hot – it’s still early, but you can feel the touch of sun on your face and shoulders. Hunger also starts to strike, so I enter the Tribeca’s Kitchen, which appears to be a very traditional American place, the one you could see in movies – red fake leather seats by the window, constant coffee refill in huge mugs. I get my poached eggs with salmon and avocado – all times favourite, and eventually start to feel that I’m in the US…

I don’t have any final destination or specific route, as I know that this city has lots to offer and almost anywhere you go, you’ll find something beautiful and worth seeing. So I just go, approximately in the direction of the Times Square. I don’t have gps yet, as I have to buy a local card, and shops will only open at 11 (I’ll be able to see so much before that!), and those who now me, know how “good” I am at navigation – I think there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t gotten lost or went into the very wrong direction, even with the google maps! But that’s what I love the best in the new places – getting lost and trying to find your way, strolling down the streets and bumping into the hidden gems.

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I like the simplicity of the city – even for me it’s pretty easy to navigate. The city is like a griddle, with streets crossing avenues, and most of them are numbered – I even start to think that I might find it hard getting lost here, but of course I’m so wrong!

Time flies, and I find myself in a much busier New York than it was couple of hours ago. The shops are also open now, so I get my internet fixed – now I can navigate around (and post pictures on facebook)

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I’m heading my way to the Times Square, but I will see so much even before I get there! Empire State Building, 103-storey beauty can now be seen, so I’m going in its direction to look at the city from a bird’s flight height – I can only assume what a magnificent view is waiting for me! I’m also dreading a bit the line, as I remember my friend telling me how long it was when she was visiting, but when I approach the entrance, there’s no line at all. (A tip: don’t travel to New York during New Year, or, rather do not travel anywhere during New Year, or be prepared to queue up!) The views are overwhelming and exceeding any expectations – I don’t think I’ve ever climbed that high! The whole city is in front of you: Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson river – everything!

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So I do wander around, being absolutely unable to stop admiring the sights and the views, walking through random parks, fancy streets and of course Broadway! Broadway eventually leads me to the Times Square which is already filled with crowds of people. It turned out that it’s NY Fashion Week, and one can occasionally bump into photoshoots and beautifully dressed people.

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I notice the screens featuring today’s Broadway shows – the ones you can buy with 50% discount, so I head there to investigate what’s on air – being in NY and not experiencing the Broadway show? No way! I start reading the names, as I notice the Chicago show, and I stop looking any further – in my mind, Chicago is a perfect, very Broadway musical, and the time is perfect, so I just buy my ticket, before taking a short break on the Time Square Stairs, eating a sandwich and just staring at people passing by, taking pics or doing nothing. The broad smile doesn’t leave my face for a second – I’m in NYC, I’m happy and ready for adventure, which has just started!

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I have some time to spare before the show, so I had towards the Central Park. With no time to discover the park itself, I admire the greatness and size of it – I bet you can spend days there without getting bored (and getting lost! At least I definitely would!)

Time for the show, which definitely met and exceeded my expectations! And isn’t it fascinating that each theater runs one and only show each day for more than 70 years? Not sure it’s much fun for the actors though!

The performance is very atmospheric and funny – I felt like being brought in that epoch and felt a part of the show.

After the show I’m quite exhausted from all of the emotions, walking and admiring,. moreover, I have a dinner planned with my friend, the one I’m staying at, to celebrate my recent birthday, so I slowly head towards the train. On the half of my way I realise that I’m running late and need to take a metro, which is fine – I’m pretty good at navigating complicated metro systems, such as in Paris or London, but NY is quite different! To understand which exit to take, you actually need to know the city pretty well! And if you don’t know whether you need to go up or down, Brooklyn or Queens direction – well, you are in trouble 🙂

I spent some time to figure out which way I should go (and wasted one metro ticket) before finally jumping into the right one and making my way back to Jersey City.

The dinner in The Cheesecake Factory is as delicious as huge – well, the main was pretty reasonable and I felt pretty good about myself having a healthy shrimp option and not overeating, but then came the dessert! It came with singing and candles, so I couldn’t complain, but felt a bit sick after finishing it (and you can’t NOT finish it!)

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Happy, tired and full, I’m off to sleep to restore my energy before the next day…

To be continued!

 

 


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