I had my first adventure in the states and it ended up being a really fun and spontaneous one. It was Wednesday and I was on my way to class when my internet friend Diana messaged me, inviting me to the city for her boyfriend’s party. Naturally, I was a bit taken aback but excited so I quickly replied asking about the date she had in mind. To my surprise it was that very Saturday. I thought about it for all of five minutes and decided I was going, I bought my ticket that very evening.
Friday came round so I packed my things and got on a nine hour overnight bus to the big apple by myself. Luckily I managed to sleep quite a bit so I could make the most of Saturday. I arrived at 9:30am to 7th and 27th street. This is important because I really did not think it through (I didn’t exactly have the time) but I’d just assumed that I’d be arriving at a station of some sort so I could use the bathroom and put myself together, brush my teeth etc. However, that was not the case and the bus just pulled up on the street. Admittedly, those first moments as I got off the bus I felt a mixture of excitement but also slight disorientation as I walked around in my tracksuit bottoms looking an absolute mess and not really knowing how to fix that. I ended up using my Google Maps to look for the nearest station which happened to be Penn Station so I just walked there and managed to sort myself out in the restrooms. The station is underneath Madison Square Garden so I emerged via that exit and as I was coming up the stairs and into the street the song ‘New York, New York’ was playing and honestly I felt like I was starring in my own NY-based-rom-com. Anyway, first impressions: a man talking to himself and a woman singing to herself, very very odd. I didn’t know what to do or where to go so I just walked down, I could see some lights in the distance so I (correctly) assumed it was Times Square. On my way there I met up with a separate internet friend, Alex, who showed me around Manhattan.
Where I went:
- First just walked around through Times Square and took it all in. There are so many lights and it’s just so so beautiful, I don’t think I could get bored of it. We happened to be there on a day of a huge march made up of endless unions so it was good to see because everything here is so unnecessarily big and extra. Hence, a huge truck driving through.
- Central Park
It is massive so we just went to the tourist bit and it was so cool because you could stand on a rock and the back drop had the city skyline. Personally, I love when there is a stark contrast with nature and skyscrapers/busy cities so this was definitely a gem. There was also a really cute bridge with a beautiful background, perfect for Instagram pictures but honestly I was in jeans and too hot to be doing photoshoot every few minutes.
- Rockefeller Centre
I distinctly remember this being my favourite place the last time I visited but that time I saw it at night so it was good to see it in the day time.
- The Plaza
This is the hotel where many films have been set like Home Alone 2 and Crocodile Dundee so seeing the entrance was a bit surreal.
- Grand Central
Saturday’s tour ended at this beautiful station. During my stay that weekend I passed here several times and honestly I don’t think I could ever get bored of it, it is truly breathtaking when you walk in, and yet another famous movie scene. Here I got a train to Yonkers where my other friends, Ian and Diana picked me up and we went to party at their house. (Flip cup is a very dangerous drinking game w o w, guaranteed blackout).
- Times Square
On Sunday it was back to Manhattan to explore. I was cute and fresh and READY for the photoshoot of my life and Diana came through.
- Brooklyn Bridge
Without a doubt this was the highlight of my trip. The bridge itself is beautiful and as you’re walking to the left you can see the Statue of Liberty and the city skyline, to the right another bridge. Walking across it was one of those moments where right there and then you know you’re somewhere special and suddenly incredibly happy to be fortunate enough to be there. 10/10 recommend.
- Greenwich Village
On Monday it was back to the routine for my friends as they have actual adult lives so we headed back into Manhattan and went our separate ways. I had 4 hours until my bus left so I was going to make them count. After scrambling around for a bit deciding what I was going to do I decided to head for the Subway and made my way to Greenwich Village. It’s a very picturesque neighbourhood, nice to walk around and explore. I stumbled into Washington Square Park where there’s an arch and there I discovered that the hardest part of exploring alone was not carrying my bags around but getting a decent picture by a stranger. You can’t rely on just anyone. I also stumbled upon a Gay Liberation Monument which is front of the Stonewall Inn that was raided by police in 1969, as at the time it was gay dance hall, resulting in 13 men being arrested. In response a massive protest ensued which sparked the beginning of the gay civil rights movement in the US. The inner historian in me was very excited to have found this by accident.
What I ate:
New York City is know for its pizza so I had to try it out. I got this huge slice of chicken buffalo wing and wow it was so spicy I was choking up with a runny nose on the train eating it. It was good and different, no more and no less. I prefer Dominos (my friends here moan at me for saying this and maybe I just have no taste but honestly it was not life changing). I also had $1 pizza just to try it out and it was surprisingly good given its price. What I noticed about pizza there most of all is how greasy it is. When you fold it it just slides off, take of that what you will.
It’s a Greek dish that looked like a kebab as the meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served on a pitta. It had salad with some white sauce which moved my stomach in a hundred different ways but I’d push the limits of my lactose intolerance for it any day without a doubt.
- BBQ Chicken Wings at Candlelight Inn
They come with ranch sauce and blue cheese, I definitely preferred the former. It was a combination I didn’t think I’d enjoy but was in fact surprisingly good. What I can’t quite wrap my head around is wings being an entire meal. People seem to just go out for wings and eat that alone, I need some sort of side like chips or fries but aside from that I definitely recommend.
- Charley’s Philly Steaks
This is an American chain restaurant of sandwiches but they’re SO good. I wish I had a picture of this sandwich. It was revolutionary, life changing even. Hands down the best thing I’ve eaten in the states thus far. Delicious. 12/10. Try it.
What I’d do with more time/Next time I’m in the city:
- Go to the Top of the Rock[effer center]
Prime photoshoot material and you get a view of the entire city
- Gossip Girl Tour
The tour itself costs $49 so really what I’ll do is look up the stops and go alone lol.
- Concert at Madison Square Garden
There’s a salsa festival coming up which I’ve been dreaming about going to for the longest time but it’s not looking likely. Regardless of who it is though, by the end of my time here I need to go to a concert there.
Finally, a massive thank you to my twitter friends and now real life friends for showing me around and being very welcoming. See you soon.