Well I know it’s been a while since the last post… life is throwing a lot of work my way lately… However, it is time for another tale, a quite special one! This time, the story will take you back to my first time in New York (2011).
I traveled to the US for a course at Harvard’s School of Continuing Education, but I can’t tell much of the few things I saw in Boston because I was in class most of the time, or Philadelphia where I also spent a couple days, but mostly visiting family.
New York had been in my tv screen for longer than my memory can tell, films, news, music videos, you name them. So it really is a city that felt like I knew until I was there and found out it still had a lot more to show me.
When you hear the phrase “New York the city that never sleeps” it is not just a phrase, it is a reality that surrounds you anywhere, anytime. It seemed like I was the only one who dared to stop for the night.
I made this trip to meet up with a friend I had not seen since I left London, it had been a year and a half. I flew from Peru and she flew from Switzerland, she had been to New York several times, maybe more than she could count, so she was set to be the guide and I would just follow. If there was such thing as to find a middle point in the world to meet your dear friend, we made it to New York, and it was a trip to remember.
We rented an apartment midway between Central Park and Greenwich Village, I was the first to arrive after making a nice detour in the yellow cab so that the driver could charge a bit more to this newbie in the Big Apple. Great our surprise, with hugs and tears of happiness when she knocked and I opened the door, there she was as glamorous as ever despite flying for eight hours.
I know I never mentioned this friend in the UK stories, but she was indeed quite a special one. And gosh we did have a blast in New York. By then we were both fans of Jay Z and his Empire State of Mind song, that was the perfect soundtrack for a week we will not ever forget. You are right if at this point you can suspect that there is a Hello New York playlist full with cool music 😉
As I said, everything all over New York seems familiar, to the point where you wonder if you are really there or if your mind is tricking you and you are part of one of those films you’ve seen often. Our first stop was Times Square, where curiously enough they were displaying some amazing photos and ads inviting people to travel to Peru, cool isn’t it? Photos here and there, now on to the next spot.
My surprise when we got to Central Park, and walked until we could do no more, I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big! energies came from the depth of our bodies an we kept walking and enjoying of having such a great green spot surrounded by the concrete jungle, there was no time to stop.
One of my favorite things to do besides instinctively walk to Central Park every time you can was, exploring Greenwich Village and Soho. For shopping, endless shops (where we happily spent some money while listening the Price Tag song) for all tastes, great mix of architecture, artistic vibes in the air, colorful fashion styles, and people walking fast and cool at the same time, guess that’s the New York style, or rather just the way I interpreted what I saw.
Another favorite and a must do is to go to a rooftop bar at sunset, not just for the incredible view over the skyscrapers blending themselves nicely in the horizon, but because of the many sounds of the city, that you can still hear despite people chatting and laughing around you. Better if it is in front of the Empire State building, then the atmosphere is even more unique.
Speaking of rooftop bars and sunsets, I remember that one time, when we stayed there for hours, we met a lot of people and at the end we met a British couple that was also visiting the city. We quickly became friends and ended up in a karaoke until 6:30 am, that was my first time at a Karaoke, why? Well I don’t really find what is fun about it, still the whole night was simply a blast. Next day we got our Chinese delivery and happily stayed home for the rest of the day.
Another must do, is the visit to the Financial District, and if you feel like it, go in search of the Charging Bull (now there’s also the little girl defying it). I was definitely impressed by how the sunlight disappears in between the buildings, if you look up you will notice you can hardly see the top, the wind blows stronger and you feel like in a different dimension, in a giant one where of course you are the tiny character.
On the things that I was not as surprised or impressed as I thought I would be was the visit to the Statue of Liberty (spoiler alert). All my life till then, I thought it was huge and taller than the buildings it appeared close to, but no, it is not as big as it looks in the movies, indeed it is far shorter, then again you guys may have a different perception of big than I do.
The Big Apple engulfed us in a fun and unforgettable week, exploring its hidden places and enjoying its crowded famous spots. Well, there is plenty of incredible things to do when in New York, and I am sure I would need to go back several more times to feel I have completed the trip through the places of the films I liked.
But remember that each trip is unique because you are the protagonist of your own film, you decide the locations, the actors and actresses, the adventures and even the romances, the special effects and soundtracks. In New York you decide if you want to go in a hurry and try to see everything at once or if you let the concrete jungle take you where it wants.
In the meantime… Hasta pronto! See you soon! Auf Wiedersehen! A presto! Au revoir!