New York… I had a dream to visit this city! Tall buildings, midtown rush, “long” sun, familiar monuments, a forest right in the middle of the city. I especially wanted to see how steam comes through the sewers, how window cleaners hang from the skyscrapers, endless avenues and, of course, certain streets where the works of my most favorite photographers were created. And I’ve seen it all. I surely understand that everything that’s shown in the movies does not reflect the reality. Well, totally! The reality is so much better, you guys! Haha. To be able to perceive the city live is definitely more rewarding than trying to imagine how it could be. I’ve heard a lot about life in New York from my multicultural friends whilst keeping on looking at the pictures on the internet. Since I’m a big fan of TV-shows “Friends” and “Sex and the City” visiting New York was a must-do. I fell in love with this city, it’s like I had a bobble-head, trying to keep up looking at everything. Our trip “dessert” was the fact that we were going to Florida after New York. I like it when the trip doesn’t just stop at the first destination :)
The New York Pass not
We stayed seven nights in New York and it was perfect for the first time. Next time we will just rest and enjoy the city without so much sightseeing. Not that we didn’t enjoy it this time but it felt like we needed an extra couple of free days to do nothing and walk around Central Park. Spring in Stockholm was rather cold so 30-degrees heat (86 F) in NY was indeed a blessing for us. We were absorbing sun the whole week except this one day when the sky was grey (although it was still warm outside). On our fist day in the city we met our neighbors, and I mean our neighbors from home in Stockholm! :) It happened so that they went to New York at the same time and had already seen pretty much everything. We got some advice where to eat what to see and an emotional charge from the couple. When you meet friends during the trip it gives you this feeling that you have lived there for many weeks.
About two months before our trip our other friends went to New York and they bought The New York Pass. Me and my bf heard so much about this pass so we simply had to buy it. However we weren’t as active as our friends so NY Pass hadn’t even payed off itself. Well, it was still a worthy investment! Perhaps without this card we wouldn’t have visited so many places, and especially not taken the Hop on Hop off buses! But, I think it was first and last time we purchased this Pass. We have never been very enthusiastic “tourists”, we always take it easy, no stress. So, with the NY Pass or not, we’d be motivated enough to take ourselves wherever. My advice to you, if you are not interested in a hustle in between monuments, museums and all kinds of sights every second hour and just want a plan-free time-spending then the New York Pass is not for you, although you should definitely consider Hop on Hop off buses!
Hop on Hop off “transport”
Our New York Pass included tickets to Hop on Hop off trips. To be honest, I usually avoid this “type of transport”, but later I realized, to my surprise, is that these buses were the best decision we made during the whole trip! There is a lot of similar guides like this, we had Big Bus and I think they were quite boring, or maybe we had a bad luck with the guides. The bus has two routes – Uptown and Downtown. The most important thing about the Hop on Hop off buses is that you can hop on and hop off at any stop and they are plenty. We took the buses four times, two times for a Downtown trip and two for Uptown, we used them as a transport. For me, as a person who loves architecture, looking out over the city from 3 meters above the ground was really fantastic! Believe me, there is nothing better than to have the sky above your head sitting on a bus and look at New York streets from a better perspective. Just sit and relax while you’re being taken from A to B. (Especially when we walked about 20k steps a day). Of course, let’s not forget about the bus guide commenting on everything, and if it’s a good guide – it’s only a bonus! (Well, the bonus kind of skipped us). And, omg, Flatiron Building from the top of the bus looked gorgeous! Did you know that they named this building exactly because it looked like an iron? I had no idea, I always thought there was a mysterious story behind that name. Haha, so weird. Also, I should mention the Uptown route. It was an amazing experience to drive through Harlem listening to stories. I don’t think we would just take a train and go there to photograph everything face-to-face (probably not), it wouldn’t be that easy, or would it. But on the bus you get to see Harlem on the palm of your hand, so beautiful! So, thumb’s up for Hop on Hop off buses around Manhattan!
Bridge, and this famous place
On my first day in America I wanted to just walk around without a particular plan, and so we did. I like doing that every time I come to a new place. This gives me an opportunity to “taste” the place, see people, see local mood, try local food. Our first evening we decided to spend on the edge of Brooklyn, at Main Street Park, where you can find a wonderful view over Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Manhattan itself. But the most exciting place I urged to see was Washington Street: the street that has been photographed hundreds and thousands of times.(40°42’11.8″N 73°59’22.5″W). I was so freaking happy to see this intersection! I really need a wide angle lens, I know that now. My 50mm lens is so… blah. Well, having an iPhone made some things easier but what I can tell you is that Samsung takes much better pictures at night time ;) Lately, I have been so lazy, I should’ve probably just borrowed the lens from someone. I must solve this issue when we go to Mexico!
When We Lost Each Other
Let me jump over a couple of days and tell you the story about a stupid thing I did. Maybe it will teach somebody a lesson, haha!
That day we were going to visit the Empire State Building’s observation deck. We had already been to Rockefeller Center before that, so I knew preliminary when we were supposed to be at the Empire State Building to catch sunset. Unfortunately we had to queue for about two hours getting to the deck. Do not go to the Empire State Building’s Observation Deck!! (Maybe only if you go to the top floor). Rockefeller Center’s experience is way better! Anyway, it was closer to twilight, we went to the subway station. It wasn’t far from there, just one stop then change then a couple of more stops. We were standing on the platform waiting for the right train when my bf said that the next one was the one to take. Train arrived and without any further thinking I stepped into the train, S. hesitated, ‘It’s the wrong train!’, and the doors started to close. I am, for your information, afraid to jump through the subway’s closing doors so I just froze. And there I was standing and looking at my bf through the doors, waving and laughing. The train left the platform. A moment later I felt how my smile was slowly disappearing from my face and my forehead felt numb… I haven’t told you one tiny little detail in this story: this day I was wearing a dress (without any pockets) and to avoid holding my phone (for photos and stuff) I kept it in my boyfriend’s shorts’ pocket. Smart, eh? Hands were free and the phone was available any time. Great.
So, I got off at the next station and understood that I had completely no idea what to do next. It seems ok, but I was on the wrong station ‘cos I took the wrong train! Meanwhile, S. was texting my phone and probably got frigging unhappy when he felt buzzing in his pants. Having panicked he got on the next train which was going the wrong way, meaning the right way (but I wasn’t there). At this point it’s been at least 10 minutes. I was running around the platforms, starting to get worried.
I was worried we wouldn’t be able to see each other through the crowds
Of course it wouldn’t be a big deal, we could’ve had met at the Empire State Building (although the communication was completely off and he had the tickets anyways), or the hotel. But then the whole day would be lost, and it was already pretty late. My bf ran up and down, changed the train again, I was worried we wouldn’t be able to see each other through the crowds, I mean neither me nor him knew how the other one would act (that’s what we thought at least). After about 15 minutes I decided to go back to that station where we separated. I was already on my way to enter the train when I turned around for the last time and– I saw him!! I was so happy, my emotions had explode. We hugged so tight like we hadn’t seen each other for months. What an adventure! I will never forget how funny it was when I was waving to him from the moving train. Terrible :) Now it was over, I got my phone back. I guess we seem to always get into difficult situations! (no kidding! Last time we were in Italy I got to visit an emergency room! it is funny now but back then it was definitely a disaster).
Dear friends, I’d like to divide this post in two in order to fit in more stories (well, I hope two parts will be enough, hehe). Next time I’ll tell you about the Central Park, Friends’ fountain, MET and American Museum of Natural History, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, including some other exciting places and a story about us sneaking around Waldorf Astoria! :D Stay tuned!