Braving the City That Never Sleeps
If there’s one thing I can say about Washington, it that it’s so conveniently located. You’re only a train or bus ride away from all kinds of major cities, from Baltimore, to Philadelphia, to New York. This past week I seized that opportunity and boarded a bus bound for NYC. I only had twelve hours to explore, give or take, and I was determined to make them count. Thankfully an old high school friend of mine was currently living in Brooklyn, and offered to show me the sights. What was in store was certainly going to be a long day, but also a very memorable one.
First, a bit of back-story is in order. I grew up in suburban Florida. My town is fairly populated (around 100,000 or so) but we aren’t considered a city. The closest city is Tampa, but even there all the buildings are heavily spread out. The largest buildings are all downtown near the waterfront and public transportation is all but nonexistent. If you recall my second post you will remember my adulation of the District upon getting my first real taste of city living. I had that same feeling while walking the streets of midtown and lower Manhattan. The city was so alive! Everywhere I went there was something going on, some new experience, and always people wanting to stop and talk to you. I challenge anyone who has ever said “I’m bored” to spend a day in NYC.
I got into the city around 11am, near Penn Station. My first stop was the Empire State Building. While obviously very touristy and heavily promoted, it was certainly worth the cost. Standing on the 86th floor observation deck provides a panoramic view of the city, putting its massiveness into perspective.
Visibility was surpringly good considering it was supposed to rain.
From there, I met Lisa, and we ventured into Times Square. It was a campy as it was commercialized.
Enjoying a snack in front of the Hershey's store in Times Square. I will never say no to Reese's Pieces.
After that, we stopped by Rockefeller Plaza and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Central Park was our next stop, where we walked around admiring the landscaping and the street performers. What surprised me most were the topographical changes inside the park. For some reason, spending all afternoon on flat pavement combined with a preconceived notion about how the park actually looked led me to believe it would be more of a large, sparsely populated grassy field. Man, was I wrong. Our time here was brief, much to my dismay.
You should know by now, I can't have a blog post without at least one reptile in it. Found this guy stealing bait off of fishing poles in Central Park.
We continued southward, through SoHo, pausing to visit some interesting specialty boutiques, before ending up at the World Trade Center Site. That moment was very surreal, not just because 9/11 is my birthday, or because I lived through the event, but because seeing the new towers rising up and all the posters left me with an invigorated sense of optimism.
Lastly, we boarded the subway into Brooklyn, where we walked along the Heights Promenade and ate authentic New York Pizza underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
This was taken at full 35x zoom from across the East River.
New discovery: pizza is amazing with bacon and avocado on it.
All in all, the day felt very hurried and I missed a lot that I still wanted to see. Lisa was an excellent liaison and navigator, and I’m certain that without here I would haven’t gotten to see anywhere near as much as I did. My recommendation to anyone considering a visit is this: budget your time accordingly, and budget your wallet. It’s really easy to run out of both in NYC.
Until next time.