I went to New York a few weeks ago. For the first time ever, which seems impossible because everyone has been to New York. My friend invited me for her 30th birthday with a bunch of other girls from throughout her life.
Because I’m a ridiculous tourist and I’d never been before, I decided to go out a few days ahead of time just so I could see all the things that New York is known for. Luckily, I have a cousin who lives in Manhattan just a few blocks from Grand Central Station.
My cousin and his husband were just about to leave for work by the time I arrived at their apartment. They strongly suggested I take a nap before venturing out. I kind of hate naps (I take forever to fall asleep and always wake up groggier than I was before) and I really didn’t want to waste the day, but as soon as I sat down I realized how exhausted I was.
I dreamt of cars honking, people yelling, and policemen blowing whistles; as it happens the stories are true, New York is every bit as loud as they say (and what is everyone honking at anyway??). I woke up to about a zillion text messages from my cousin, which was worrisome at first – I was totally convinced I’d done something wrong. But of course it was nothing like that, in fact it was something way better: walking instructions.
My cousin, in his infinite wisdom (and years of experience having bumbling out-of-towners come to visit), sent me a path to follow. I’m not normally one to follow instructions, in fact I normally try to do the opposite, but this, this was wonderful, welcome guidance. I’m not actually sure what I would’ve done without them.
On the first day, I saw everything
Not really of course. But man I saw a lot. And took so many selfies (which my mother hates).
Seriously though, I saw a lot. My cousin’s suggestions (and I know you’re curious) were these:
Have some suggestions for your morning “orientation” once you head out. From our apartment walk over to Bryant Park. New York library is there on 5th and 40th street (the park is behind). From there maybe walk up 5th avenue toward Central Park. Detour left at 49th and check out Rockefeller Plaza. If you want there’s a great view at the Top of the Rock. Great view of uptown and downtown. Perfect day for it. Then head north again on 5th. Lots of fancy stores. Bergdorf Goodman is on the left when you get near Central Park. Walk around the park a bit. When you head back from the park, walk down Broadway which will take you through Times Square.
For some reason, even though I was there in February, the weather was amazing (global warming). I barely needed a jacket the whole time I was there, which made it great for walking around. Not so great for being on the top of a tall building, but I guess it would’ve been a lot worse in the freezing cold.
I decided to go to the Top of the Rock like my cousin suggested and on a whim also signed up for the tour. Part of me thought it was the same as the page tour, like on 30 Rock. When I realized it wasn’t I almost left, but I’m glad I didn’t. I definitely saw a lot more than I would’ve normally, like this mural on the ceiling of the lobby to 30 Rock for instance:
Central Park was everything I wanted it to be. Even though it was the middle of winter and everything was dead, it was still beautiful and bigger than I realized. In my head it was always only a few blocks, but I went for a run several days later and only made it to about halfway (but also, I’m not a very accomplished runner).
The one thing I failed to do on my cousin’s list was discover Time Square. I ended up getting slightly lost (which is the best thing about traveling, really) and missed it entirely (even though you’d think it was impossible to miss).