Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Days in New York City: Day 1

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. 

Would you agree with Amelia?

By definition, an adventure means to explore unknown territory and to engage in exciting or hazardous activity. Navigating the streets of New York City by myself for 10 days totally counts as an adventure for me. I didn't have an itinerary - I just had a list of things I wanted to see, and my iPhone to help me find my way.

Luckily, there is a great app called HopStop, which served as my guide and helped me to look like a faux New Yorker instead of a confused tourist. If you are traveling somewhere, this app is a MUST...

The joy of travel lies in experiencing new things. I think one has to love the slightly embarrassing circumstances of not knowing how to act, where to go, or what to do, because this is where the learning happens. Having traveled to Europe many times prior, I now know to live by the motto, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." So when in New York City, that means:

1. If the crosswalk sign is still red but no taxis are coming, it's ok to jaywalk.
2. You should look straight ahead with mouth closed  instead of up at the skyscrapers with mouth agape.
3. Walk with a fast pace and try to pass as many people as possible instead of dawdling or worse yet- abruptly stopping in the middle of a busy sidewalk.
4. Follow the subway advice in this hilarious video: How to Use the NYC Subway

Above is a picture of all the brochures I collected from the places I visited. I would like to share with you everything I discovered (because really it's a way for me to process all the information).

On the airplane, I chose to carry with me a book by Madeleine L'Engle called "A Circle of Quiet". Looking back at the title, I wonder if I knew I would need to retreat from the daily clamoring of the city into the wise stories of this magnificent woman. Madeleine L'Engle reminds me of my Grandma Marty, who passed away when I was young. I read this woman's thoughts and I imagine my Grandmother would say similar things. She too was a wise, creative, loving soul. Check out the book here.

Upon arriving to JFK, I decided I would try to take the train system into Manhattan instead of forking out dough for a taxi. It was really easy and only cost $7.50 (as opposed to $50+). I simply followed signs for  the AirTrain and took it to Jamaica station. From there I transferred onto the subway system and took the E train to Penn Station, and voila I was in midtown Manhattan in an hour. My hotel on Lexington Ave. had a nice view of the Chrysler building in the distance. 

After grabbing dinner at a NY Pizza shop, I explored the streets for a bit. 

My first impression - this must be a nice part of town. All around me were men and women in business attire on their way home from work. I came across a store called Organic Avenue. The employees gave me free samples of 20 different drinks. Most of them tasted like freshly mowed grass (a great scent, a terrible taste), one had garlic mixed in. Overall I thought they were pretty disgusting, but I kept trying each flavor! I felt bad after tasting everything, so I bought the mildest one called "Sweet Greens" for $9. I drank about $4 worth....maybe could have finished it if I held my nose. 

Second impression: New Yorkers are super friendly. They all seem to enjoy other people. It was easy to make friends wherever I went. Everyone was genuinely cheerful in their reply when I asked for help. On the streets and inside businesses, people were chatty and had this kind of "I love living here" or "I love my job" aura about them. It was really refreshing (unlike the organic juice drink).

Coming up next: reflections on the 9/11 Memorial 

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