This past weekend I went to New York with my childhood friend Sonya. This was Sonya’s first trip to America and her first stop on a two week trip. We stayed in Manhattan in a little studio above an Irish Pub.
Friday was our first day in New York together. We decided that we would purchase Big Bus Tours tickets – the 2 day pass got us unlimited bus tours (with tour guides), a night tour and a ferry ride out to see the Statue of Liberty. This ended up being one of the best things we did, as it was a great way to see a lot of the city and learn about it as well. Especially those important things like where Lady GaGa lives and where Taylor Swift goes to the gym! We also decided to brave the subway. Even by using the subway all the time we were still rather fit after all our walking and ended each day exhausted with sore feet!
So on Friday we did a bus tour on the Downtown route. This took us through Times Square and through a lot of the touristy places of NYC. We got off the bus and basically ran to catch the ferry. It was freezing and very windy but the view was awesome. Liberty looked gorgeous and Ellis Island was interesting to see.
When we got back on land, we decided to walk through Wall Street and go to the 9/11 memorials and museum. This was actually one of the best things we did, in my opinion. The memorials are so well done, and the park-like area was full of people paying their respects. The museum included a lot of artifacts, but most significantly, a massive timeline of events from that day in 2001. We learnt a lot of things that we hadn’t heard before and as being someone who can still remember that day, watching the towers collapse from Australia, it made it all more heart-wrenching and real.
That night we went to a basketball game – the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. It was a pretty close match, even though the Knicks are the bottom team and the Hawks are the top. Of course, the time out entertainment was exciting and we discovered that Reece’s Pieces taste absolutely delicious paired with salty popcorn.
On Saturday morning we found a healthy-ish looking place to have breakfast – this turned into our favourite eatery! We didn’t even realise that La Pain Quotidien (http://www.lepainquotidien.com/) was a franchise until our last day in New York. We were just excited to find somewhere that had eggs for breakfast. We worked out that we had to go to the organic places because otherwise the eggs weren’t the same as what we’re used to in Australia. We really are lucky to eat some pretty good food in Oz! We then took the Uptown Big Bus Tour to the Natural History Museum (the one that ‘Night at the Museum’ is set at). We went to a star show at the planetarium, which made us feel significantly insignificant. After a few hours at the museum we went for a little walk to find Magnolia Bakery. This was on Sonya’s ‘Sex and the City’ List but I had never heard of it. The little café was so cute and the delicious cupcake and hot chocolate we had made our day.
That night we went on the Big Bus Night Tour to see the city’s lights and some new areas we hadn’t been to yet. This was also Earth Hour night, so we had to do a fairly early tour that was half during the daylight, but by the time we finished it was dark. We were exhausted by the time we got home at 9pm.
On Sunday morning we ventured to touristy Times Square where we stood in line to get cheap tickets for a Broadway show. We then just walked up the down the street, stopping at shops and Starbucks (we drank a ridiculous amount of hot chocolate over the weekend! We saw Chicago in the matinee session and it was Sonya’s first musical experience, so it made it all the more exciting. The musical was pretty impressive, especially the guy who was a cross dresser (which I didn’t even realize was a guy until the end!).
That night we had dinner at the famous Shake Shack (it was definitely as good as all the raves) and tried to get into Rockefeller Tower, but all the tickets had already been sold for that day. Instead we had a relatively early night before getting up early on Monday morning to go to The Rock at 8am. The view was pretty amazing but the wild interrupted our selfie-taking! We then had a walk about 5th avenue and made our way back to our apartment before heading our separate ways.
In all, I had a great time in New York, although I did find the people not as friendly as in the south where I am at Uni and a fair bit dirtier than any other place I have been in the United States. It was probably the first place in the States that I felt unsafe at times.
I also want to say thanks to Taylor and Jacob who graciously took me to the airport, and to Madyson and Michelle who picked me up, even after my first flight got delayed and I got put on a later second flight!