We arrived in to New York by train on a cool Thursday evening. As I hopped off the train and stood in the middle of Penn Station, it became all too real that years of dreaming were about to come true. Cold and tired yet buzzing on the New York air, Nicole, George and I hailed a yellow cab (only took 45 minutes) and headed to our apartment in the ‘up and coming’ Hell’s Kitchen. We had decided to take a bit of a gamble on our accommodation and book an apartment on a website called 'Feel NYC' ( www.feelnyc.com/Apartments). Basically, this website acts as an agent for holiday goers and apartment owners to let out their place for short periods. For only $28.00 USD a night each, we had managed to secure a cute one bedroom place in Hell’s Kitchen. Our apartment was right near Times Square and around the corner from Broadway. Perfect.
We were all a bit anxious to get to our apartment and ensure that we hadn’t been the victims of some sort of sham (hey it could happen) and I secretly was praying my socks off that everything would work out as the organisation of the New York accommodation had been up to me. For those of you who know me, you know that organising things is not exactly my strong suit. Anyway, to our
my relief, we saw a tall man waiting outside the address of our new home and after paying him our rent, we were handed the keys. Success! This was when the excitement really began to build. To top it all off, my dearest friend Sarah (and our last travel buddy) was flying from London to meet up with Nicole, George and I to continue our travels through America. In our angst for Sarah to arrive, Nicole, George and I went exploring and found a supermarket (to which beer, chips and dip were purchased- kiwi necessities) and a pizza place to have a quick bite.
Time flew and suddenly Sarah text that she was almost at the apartment. Her arrival was one of the happiest moments of my life! Finally after a year apart we were all reunited- in New York of all places. We all hugged, laughed and maybe a tear was shed. Then off to the apartment to drink our beers and play cards- just like the good old days. Feeling content and tired, I fell asleep hoping that morning would come soon.
I awoke at the crack of dawn and immediately proceeded to wake up the other troopers. I also bee lined for the shower to get a bit of an advantage on the others. You see, over the weeks of travelling, I had gained a bit of an unfair reputation for taking a bit longer than the others in the getting ready department. Totally unjust I tell you, but needless to say, I was trying my best to be ready ASAP.
We all headed out to breakfast at a cute little deli and ordered ‘our usual’ bagel and cream cheese. Yum. Then it was off to the circle line tours for a two hour boat tour! It was absolutely freezing but we managed to stay outside on the top of the boat for the duration of the tour. We all put on our suitable attire (spot the tourist) and we were off!
The tour was fabulous and was made even better by two complete strangers gifting us their two free tickets as they could no longer make the tour. Thank you fellow Americans! I highly recommend circle lines as it really helped me get my bearings on New York and see where everything was. As I am geographically challenged at the best of times, this helped a lot. When we past the Statute of Liberty, I almost lost my breath. I think I took about 100 photos of her alone. She was proud and majestic and I felt a connection to her immediately. The Empire State Building was also pretty impressive. But more on that later.
After our tour, we were cold and in dire need of coffee so we headed off to find another place to eat. After refuelling our engines, we made a mad dash back to Hell’s Kitchen to grab some warmer gear for the afternoon. Times Square was our next stop. Oh Times Square. Even writing about it brings back a sense of nostalgia. Times Square was buzzing with people, lights and billboards. Surprisingly I did not find Times Square too over whelming and quite bizarrely, it was our stop at Forever 21 that had me all panicked and lost. Have you ever been in to a four level clothes shop before? I hadn’t. I’m not sure I ever will again. Madness. Utter madness.
After stopping for a quick drink at a bar in Times Square, we made the decision to head to the Empire State Building as it was fast approaching dusk and we had all agreed that this would be the best time to go up. 85 floors later we made it. Now I am not fishing for compliments here but I truly think my photos are amazing and will do a far better job in explaining how magical the view from the Empire State Building was. As George said, it felt as though we were halfway to the moon.
Still riding on the high of the Empire State Building, we decided we had enough energy for one more stop before calling it a day. Grand Central Station. It was an intriguing place full of people rushing about just like we had the day before. You see one thing I have noticed about New Yorkers is that they are always rushing around impatiently. I guess I’m lucky as a travelling girl that I can truly take my time and watch as the people rush on by. I get to enjoy the journey as who knows where or what my destination will be.
Tired but happy and in awe of this magical place, we all headed back to the apartment and reflected on the day (with the help of a beer). I for one couldn’t quite fathom that I was in New York and that I had just done the most amazing things. I did realise how lucky I was and how there was no other place in the world that I would rather be than with my three best buddies in the centre of the universe. New York New York.