Sometimes, I look at pictures of New York and forget that I ever walked along its streets. It feels like it was another lifetime ago – packing my bags for three weeks away to the U.S., dealing with all sorts of mixed emotions but always coming back to one: I was finally getting to visit my dream city.
Now of course, we didn’t spend NEARLY enough time there to even scratch the surface, but we did have a jam-packed few days and I remember loving every single second of it (even when I was arguing with my parents about buying wifi :p).
My biggest regret of the trip was definitely that I didn’t keep a journal along the way. I tried to take as many photos as I could, but being a 17 year old girl on holiday with her family meant one thing: I was too proud to ask any of them to take photos of me, and squirmed when my step mum made us pose in front of monuments. It was such a typical teenage act that I WISH I didn’t partake in, because when you’re in a city that big no one really gives a shit about who’s taking a photo of who or why. So yeah, if you ever go anywhere that you’ve had on your bucket list – TAKE HEAPS OF PHOTOS THERE. There’s nothing embarrassing about wanting to eternalise that moment in film (or digitally, I suppose).
Anyway, despite it being so long ago (over 4 years now, but again, it seems like over 20), I still remembered quite a few things that we did, and thankfully still have all of the photos from said trip, so I’ve decided to FINALLY put together a little travel diary of our brief encounter with the city that never sleeps. Also, the photos are a mix of my own and some much better quality snaps taken by my step mum, Kylie (you will be able to tell the difference quite easily).
So in no particular order, here are some of the cool things we did:
Went to Times Square
Duh! We were lucky enough to go a few times because our hotel was so close (we stayed at the Hilton – very VERY overrated, but was in a good location). Heading there at night was definitely a lot crazier, but it was when the city came to life so of COURSE we had to go. I now understood why so many families were holding hands or clasping each others’ arms for dear life – there were literally tides of people walking in all different directions, but man it was a sight to see.
Central Park + Central Park Zoo
We spent the best part of a day wandering around Central Park, and it was absolutely perfect weather to do so. We went to one of the playgrounds that you see in the movies (the one with all of the big flat rocks next to it – or maybe there’s a few of those, who knows!) as well as going on the Central Park Carousel before checking out the world-famous zoo. It felt like we had seen so much, but when I looked at a map of the park I was quickly reminded at just how big New York really is, and that it was going to be impossible to see it all in just a few days.
Top of the Rock Observatory Deck
Situated at the top of the Rockefeller Centre, this place is INSANE. If you ever find yourself in NYC MAKE SURE you head up there! The lines aren’t as barbaric as they are for the Empire State Building, but you still get breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. I also felt strangely safe up there too, which was interesting considering I am quite terrified of heights. I can’t even stand on the edge of a hotel balcony for fear of the railing collapsing and me falling to my death, so being able to walk around on the platform up there and even touch the barrier was a big deal for me. The view definitely makes conquering any fears worth it.
Hop On, Hop Off tour (Day & Night)
These were actually the perfect way to cram as much of NYC into our day as possible. The day tour took us through the fashion district, past the back then, still-in-development Freedom Tower, and out to the docks to catch a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. Another monument that we got pictures in front of, but not actually on top of (we didn’t get to go up the Empire State Building either – we had a lot of bad tourists’ luck). Even if it as 13 degrees and windy, it was still amazing to be able to see it in person, and the photos made it seem way closer than it was – winning! After our failed attempt of seeing Lady Liberty, we jumped back on another bus and headed toward Little Italy, where we found a nice little authentic pasta shop and took refuge from the cold.
The night time tour took us through Times Square again, and out over the Brooklyn Bridge. You want a thrill? Sit on the top level of an open-top double decker bus and go over that bridge. Looking down was so incredibly scarily (I was definitely glad it was dark so I couldn’t see the full extent of the drop), but looking back on the city, full of skyscrapers and lights and life, was truly spectacular.
We definitely did a lot more than I’ve written down (getting authentic Starbucks, buying art from street vendors, trying “the best pizza in New York” which was definitely NOT the best pizza in New York…) but like I said, it’s been a while, but I’ll never forget how I felt whilst wandering those streets. Even doing tasks such as picking up the laundry and getting some milk and cereal seemed exciting for me, and instead of the intensity scaring me away, I was drawn in even further and decided then and there that this would one day be the place I called home.
Of course, that hasn’t happened yet. But it still could. I’m only 21, after all. My next big travel goal is to head back to the U.S. for fall/winter. I’d like to spend a month to six weeks over there from mid November to December to see a true autumn in all its orange glory and hopefully experience a white Christmas. Of course, a road trip up to Washington and a train ride down the the Hamptons would definitely be on the agenda, and I hope that by the end of it I can navigate the subway and have found all the cutest coffee shops and vintage boutiques around. Ah, a girl can dream. And work hard to make those dreams come true.
I hope you liked this little flash back post, and the photos that came with it (please be kind, these were taken on an iPhone 4S :p) and it’s inspired you to get out there and go to your Soul City.
Till next time,