My university course offers a trip to New York City to the first, second and third year students every other year and like a dafty I didn’t take the opportunity in my first year but this time I jumped at the chance, even if I was going alone, I was going.
Thankfully my inspiring and amazing friend Rebekah decided she wanted to go too so we got to be roomies for just under a week.
Our itinerary for the week included all of the usual tourist attractions as well as tonnes of independent galleries. We flew from Newcastle airport in the early hours of Tuesday morning to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam then caught our connecting flight to JFK. It took almost three hours to get through customs but that’s America for ya!
We then got on a coach that took us on the forty minute journey to the Hotel Pennsylvania where we dropped off our bags then headed straight to Times Square (which was a mere fifteen minute walk away) and of course our first stop was the huge Disney store! I had to make the difficult choice between the Statue of Liberty Minnie Mouse plush and the I Heart NY Mickey Mouse t-shirt… I went with the Minnie and left the t-shirt behind with a heavy heart.
I had $150, almost a quarter of what many of my classmates took. That is by no means a complaint, I am lucky to have had spending money to take, it’s more than many others will have had. The amount of homelessness I witnessed was revolting, it left a sickness in my stomach, there were pregnant women sleeping rough in minus six degree weather and my heart goes out to them all, it’s a vision I’ll never forget.
Hotel Pennsylvania is a two star hotel, it really reminded me of American Horror Story: Hotel with all the gothic architecture and fusty carpet. Everything you touched gave you a static shock, our shower didn’t work and the cheap bedding gave me a rash but I loved every second of being there.
Day 1: Two flights, Times Square and dinner at Wendy’s. Being in Times Square at night was surreal, it seemed like we were in broad daylight because of the lights and I did not realise how huge American portions were when I ordered a medium Diet Coke…
Day 2: Two visits to The Empire State Building, lunch at Dunkin’ Donuts, went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park and The American Museum of Natural History. We walked over thirty thousand steps this day because we decided to walk two and a half miles back to our hotel from the museums instead of getting the subway. We ran like Phoebe through Central Park! The Met and Natural History were insaaaaaaane. And of course we had to witness the views from The Empire State building both in daylight and nightfall, the winds were like sticking your head out of an aeroplane window, we all looked like troll dolls!
Day 3: Brooklyn Bridge, lunch at Vineapple cafe, lots of galleries in Brooklyn and tonnes in Soho. It was an exhausting day, we had all started to snap at each other but we had so much fun thankfully we were all in forgiving moods. I had the best bagel of my life at Vineapple and we were all happy to have a half hour of free wifi!
It was such a busy week I’ve had to split my American tale into two posts so days four-six shall be for another time!