So I originally started this as I was blasting through Philadelphia from New York to Washington whilst its literally blowing a snow storm outside the window.
Everything is white, cold and reminds me of yesterday; A day of which where I almost gave myself hypothermia. Bus tours in December… never a bright idea. But if you truly want to see the city quick and all in its wonder as an observer. Then I cannot recommend sitting downstairs on a bus. It’s all about the open top view. Just if you happen to go when I did. Wrap up warm.
Arriving in New York a week ago from Boston; The Big Apple was intimidating, scary, and busy what did I expect you ask. I’m not shy of big cities, but I will say London and even Bangkok have space compared to the bustling center that is Times Square, where fortunately or unfortunately my apartment was located at.
Safe to say I got blinded by the lights of Times Square walking admits the chaos seeing the likes of Woody from Toy Story to even Bridezilla. The street performers blending between the crowd from all around the world strive to make a living. I have no idea how it works… or where even you apply for a job doing this.
I would defiantly apply to be Buzz Lightyear. I was travelling alone. But I wanted to make the most of it. I was starving though.
I explored such places such as Hell’s Kitchen’s culinary delights, getting myself use to the traffic system, the easily navigated blocks and avenues, found myself wandering the streets of Wall and Broad, in my first few days spending moments watching the suits of the exchange doing their best Michael Douglas and Shia Labouf impressions, no judgement was passed, never regret what you don’t have. These people I thought had worked hard to get where they were.
Took a bus completely up town and walked the streets of Harlem saw the projects, where all they have is a dream, the high line of the city in the distance every morning would make anyone yearn for more.
I fell in love with the lower east side, found a coyote that certainly wasn’t ugly. It was just the New York I wanted, and I could tell if I were to ever move here, to the fair city itself it would be the lower east side I would populate.
The weather the past few days had been heavy rain and over cast. So i saved one sight for a better day. A plan in which everyone else had the same idea. So on one of the brightest days whilst venturing New York City… I took her in… The Empire State.
Standing atop the “Empire” makes you realize how proud this culture really should be of itself, as they are from their history, from taking independence from the British to facing slavery head on and saying no! The fact they built this giant monument in the midst of a great depression. Accomplishment comes to mind.
Life at the top looking down was a sight to see and makes you think of how the Trumps and the countless rich and famous must really live their lives. How it’s easier when looking down to forget the problems on the ground.
But what a sight it was.
It took three hours to get to the top. So not as quick as the movies make out when those couples meet for their romantic rendezvous. Three hours still, is a long time… Let me explain. Before i went I bought tickets for the hop on and off tour, traveling N.Y alone, my original idea was to walk it, until scale was explained and put into practice… Id be walking alright… alone and for hours. The Ticket included entry into the Empire State, a ferry ride past lady liberty and various other extras and discounts etc you never read into.
When reaching the Empire State, the line was one hell of a line. When approaching the crowds, I was bombarded by fellows in blue jackets ushering people down an express line, offering tickets for and extra $20 of course. I hadn’t really examined my ticket (My first mistake) and wasn’t sure whether I was even in the right place or not. In attempting to get myself some assistance I found myself being ushered down the express line, down the side of a building covered in scaffolding, I could have been in London for all I knew, but within I moments I was greeted in the “Empire State” lobby. After experiencing what I suppose was an entertainment ride from the 90’s voiced over by Kevin Bacon I started my ascent to the top. It was here when processing my ticket again… I Discovered I could have just come straight up and headed straight to the top. So if you ever find yourself in my position. Please check your tickets.
Later on I thought myself brave and took a bus uptown central park west. It took me a while to find a bus running around Columbus Circle a few times, I could have walked Really… I just really wanted to see a dinosaur. As which, when you find the building, you were sure not to miss it, outside two trees carved into the shape of my favourite cold blooded creature.
I shortly disappeared into the Museum of Natural History in which turned out to be much much more than Ben Stiller ever revealed, it has to be one of the finest museums in the world, I choked up the $22 entry fee, with this I included the Hayden Planetarium add on, which was totally worth it. The show was starting soon, so I put my exploring on hold for the time being and took a cramped elevator up a floor into a further cramped dark waiting room. Sometimes, back home, I can suffer from claustrophobia, I mean, who doesn’t like being cramped together with no space, breathing recycled air, squashed like sardines in a tin? Off topic… Traveling on my own though, I found all my fears just washing away over time, nothing like New York City to wash away the fear, I mean so much could happen to a little soul traveling the world alone. So instead… I took in the galaxy and the universe. Within minutes that felt like hours, we were all being ushered into another dark room with a rounded spherical roof. The Planetarium. I settled into my seat and was able to ignore the only slightly annoying screams of school children (Lets face it, I was most likely to join in with the screaming) as the show started. At one point when the room was plunged into utter darkness a huge scream echoed across the blackness. I laughed and sat back as familiar voice of Neil deGrasse Tyson came over and the stars started shining on the screen above. Explaining about the universe forming and the connection between everything and the elusive dark matter that glues our universe together. It was the first Planetarium I’ve ever set foot in, and as my trip took me across the United States, not the last, but still it made the whole experience just something extra though. I won’t go into more intricate details about what mammals I saw and how much time I spend staring exhibitions, I spent most of my time wandering the areas detailing space and the known world and also Dinosaurs… Lots of Dinosaurs. From touching a million year old bone to say seeing the stars form before your very eyes, if your ever find yourself in New York City, I am sure you’ll find yourself here.
Across the road from the museum, you’ll find a park like no other. Its hard to miss. Central Park all 843 acres of it in total. It’s a wide open space probably more enjoyable in the Summer when the grounds are open. Early December had greeted the city with rain, and the grass was soaked through so I stuck to the path in front of me.
It’s easy to get lost in the park. It’s huge. Park back home i’m used too can be walked in about ten to fifteen minutes tops. This took a bit more planning. I found myself once again strolling through looking for the landmarks. When my parents visited the same location a couple years back, they themselves got lost. When I originally located a map it didn’t help as for the love of god I could not locate the “You are here” tab.
I am sure come summer time, the park will be bustling, cramped and full. Balloons and children and all things great. December brings grey, emptiness, the shelter brings the homeless. Walking through the rain, past what I would call an outside theater stage, sat three homeless, one pulled out a hammer, I only slightly recall the conversation but here is how it went.
“Thats a good hammer man”
“Really? How so?”
“You wanna hang onto that, dont let anyone take it, look. Use it like this”
And from then he was giving examples to another on different ways to hit it on certain locks as the conversation faded.
“yeah, get a bit of metal pipe or something, hit it dead on under the lock and bang, got a bike, you can sell”
This was New York.
I spent about an hour listening to this young guy play the violin in the backdrop the fountain. After which I took in the surroundings. It was 2pm, it had been raining, not the heavy rain, but the lighter stuff that got you soaked everywhere. When I encountered the Zoo, I was humming and haring, was a zoo really appropriate for the middle of a city. When is a zoo appropriate? The Zoo was practically empty so with a spring in my step I headed in. The various species where all taken care off, the humidity in one of the sections was more than welcome. Leaving partly dry it was here I came into contact with a species I have only ever dreamed of seeing, and they are so very very rare and almost gone from this world completely. I found myself sitting for about an hour watching the elusive Red Panda, I could say the creature resembled foxes except with tails of a Raccoon, lovely questioning little faces watching their keeper cut the bamboo in the distance. I was lucky to have seen this beautiful creatures, in England the last time I had the opportunity, the Pandas kept themselves to themselves. New York City… What a treat.
I could write much much more about experience, and may even do so. How I got lost between avenues and streets, which were the best places to be. I could tell you I watched the future, children jumping of rocks in Central Park and watched people jog the big apple.
But it’s nothing to actually breathing it. The memory is already fading. But its mine.
All in all, I came, I conquered… I made it my own. I did it my way. I found my New York. I hope you get to do the same.
Whats next. Washington D.C