I quickly learnt that there is a new geographical lingo in New York. Being a grid system, you will certainly be spotted as the tourist if you give a simple “number, street” format of address. No, no, no, you must know two street names and at what points they intersect. I failed miserably in my first New York taxi as I asked to go to number 666 of my intended street. I got taken to the intersection of my street and 66th! Learn fast.
Once you get to grips with it, it is so simple and makes so much sense! Hearing my friends on the phone saying “I’m at 10th
, where are you? Oh you’re at 9th
. Cool, see you soon then!” Americans must be good at coordinates. It does make a lot of sense.
So, I was not afraid of being a complete and utter tourist. Well, not in so far as I was willing to wear an “I heart NY” T-shirt and wear a liberty crown, no. However, as far as seeing all the classic spots in my five days about town, yes I was a shameless selfie-taking tourist
– and proud. I got quite far in my five days, some days laden with more shopping bags than others! This is New York, darling!
It was intriguing being in a place that I had thought about for so long, and seen so many times in magazines, on television, in movies etc. and this city was now under my feet, in my lungs and playing into my ears. I had no doubts I would love it.
As I woke up on my first morning in New York, I did a double take that I’d actually made it to this vibrant island of Manhattan. I ventured out onto the blossom-lined streets and was delighted to find myself crossing “Broadway!”
Of course Broadway was on the NY Bucket list. The list was created over an all-American breakfast lubricated with anti-jet lag coffee. Caffeine fuelled and hitting the streets, I found myself wandering through Central Park, the precious green in dense Manhattan. Straight down Fifth Avenue, and arriving into Times Square. At Fiona’s suggestion on our first day – “I want to go somewhere today where I feel like I am 100% in New
York City” and this was it. Standing atop the stairs over the broadway ticket booths – yep, "we ARE in New York!"
The weekend was buzzing in NYC as we walked along the High Line – an overground walkway on which you can be above the city, whilst not having to be in it amongst cars/buses etc. It’s a lovely pedestrian area and still being expanded. We had a bit of an epic reunion at lunch with residents of New York, Philadelphia, London and Hong Kong (myself) round the dining table. All four of us had met six years ago in Hong Kong. Another point for NYC – bringing friends together! Fifth Avenue was pedestrianised on Easter Sunday. There were many an Easter bonnet, every owner posing for photos as they strolled. Pet dogs did not escape the costumes either.
I enjoyed the different areas of New York. Even within Manhattan there are distinct areas, with different vibes. I liked the East Village with lower buildings and cute cafes, downtown obviously more high-rise, then there’s Chinatown, Little Italy and more. It’s got everything. Coming from Hong Kong I really noticed the older style buildings,
with the dates etched into the stone, the Corinthian columns on the New York Stock Exchange, and even the fire escape stair wells on the outside of buildings that are attractive and part of the architecture.
The cool kid inside me loved the fact that I went to Harlem for Saturday night jazz night. Not only this, but it was live music, incredibly talented musicians and dinner with friends. There is so much going on in this city, so many things to experience. I now realise why NY Time Out magazine is thicker than Hong Kong’s, with so many unique things to do. One of which was a “silent reading party” – apparently a new trend where you rock up to a venue with comfy sofas, read your book for a while, and leave again.
I did however take part in a fitness trend that has taken off big time in the states. It goes by the name of Soul Cycle. Essentially a spinning class, with the added dimensions of being in the dark, pumping/dancing on the bike, occasionally with dumbbells, all in time to some smashing tunes. Instructors are more like performers, and
it’s a dark box of fitness gold for an hour before you return to normality.
On my last morning, I got up early to head to Central Park. This is the place to be on a weekday morning. Dog walkers, cyclists, joggers, roller bladers, it’s such a great space that connects everyone before they head in the metropolis for a day at work. I began by jogging with my earphones in, and ended up unplugging, just to enjoy the space and the calm, and the good-mornings!
Give me 5 days and I'll walk a hell of a long way and see as much as I can, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, taking the Staten Island Ferry, riding up to the Top of the Rock. Give me 55 days and I could fill them all just as much. I can see why people always return....I don't think it would be too irrational to predict that at some point in the future this travelblog of mine shall be featuring NYC again....
Sarabeths – breakfast/brunch spot.
Broadway – We saw Newsies the musical – great dancing, good for family.
TKTS – last minute Broadway tickets if you aren’t overly fussy about what you see.
Soul Cycle – all over the city.
Ginny’s Supper Club – Jazz night and dinner.
Tal Bagels – Upper West Side.
Gran Electric – Mexican food in Brooklyn.
Wythe Hotel – fantastic views of NY from Brooklyn (Williamsburg).
Hill Country – All American BBQ meat market, sides and naughty desserts!
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