This post is about my last 4 days (out of 9) in New York City.
ChaCha & Two Hands
Brunch was in order as we entered the packed Two Hands restaurant in Chinatown. We then enjoyed Aussie fare in New York, and made a quick stopover to this matcha place across the street.
We then walked over to SoHo for pictures on the cobblestone street. We encountered the numerous judgmental stares of the locals that passed us.
When Harry Met Seinfeld tour
The early afternoon was spent on a bus that stopped on the famous landmarks we’d see on the big screen. I think New York City is that one place where a movie would be shot in every corner.
We stopped by Tom’s Restaurant and Grey’s Papaya, as seen in Seinfeld.
We discovered that McClaren’s in How I Met Your Mother wasn’t a real pub, rather inspired by a real McGee’s Pub close to Times Square.
A well-known scene in You’ve Got Mail was also filmed in Cafe Lalo.
Gossip Girl was filmed in NY Public Library, NY Museum, and other parts of the city, too.
The Plaza Hotel was where Eloise and Home Alone 2 were shot.
A bunch of other places we went to was the Hearst Tower, Guggenheim, The Met, Columbus Circle, and others I could no longer remember.
My favorite part was the drive through the Upper West side, as we were told stories about the big personalities who live there (Michael J. Fox, Dustin Hoffman, Beyonce & Jay-Z, to name a few).
Top of the Rock
I squeezed in a quick trip to the Rockefeller Center to look over the city from another point of view. Although it drizzled, it was still better than going up at night, where one can only observe a loud display of lights.
As I reached for my camera, I found out that the battery slipped from the slot. I found a camera store along 5th Avenue, bought a new one, and painfully shelled out $50, one of the many unplanned-for expenses I had throughout the trip. So much of my budget was charged to my stupidity.
I had an entire evening to spare, so I walked to the Met, with an hour and a half left before closing. I started out on the left wing, where the Roman Art exhibit was. Rooms of artifacts, sculptures, and artwork were on display. Clearly, I didn’t have enough time to go around, as I didn’t even finish one exhibit for the time I was there.
It was a rainy evening, so I retired early and took an Uber back to the hostel that night.
I’ll be sharing to you about the rest of my trip on the following post!
Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tours
First order of business was to get on the Big Bus tour around the city. I went on two lines, from uptown in Harlem, the Bronx, the lavish apartments on the Upper East and West, to downtown at SoHo, NoHo, and more, further giving me a full perspective of the city and the sub-cultures of each borough.
Dinner at 5 Napkin Burger
With time to kill before the next activity, I scouted for good dinner places west of Times Square, where Hell’s Kitchen was, and stumbled upon Five Napkin Burger, where I enjoyed a heavy, meaty fare with a side of crispy thin fries. For some reason, it felt like the most authentic NY meal I had the whole trip.
Ferry Cruise for Statue of Liberty
I signed up for the 6PM cruise along the Hudson River to see the Statue of Liberty gloriously pictured against the orange and purple of the sunset sky. Our boat sailed under the lit-up Brooklyn Bridge, as well.
Bus schedules in New York are heavily unreliable, unlike in other parts of America. So instead of taking it to midtown, I walked a few blocks to Times Square, instead. Something interesting would always be on, and that night I witnessed a group of motorcycle exhibitionists floor their gear for a quarter of a mile (that was as far as they could go, given how insane foot traffic was).
Before calling it a night, I decided to sample the famous Insomnia Cookies. I went for a cookie sandwich that I couldn’t finish (I easily get sated by anything sweet).
Spent the whole day in Brooklyn, which I will narrate on a separate post.
Starbucks for Breakfast
After the nth time of having a typical American healthy breakfast, I now consider my salad incomplete without quinoa.
Because my first visit was barely enough, I had to go back for further cultural exploration. I took my time in the Egyptian Art exhibit, the pride of the house. I was astonished by the many sculptures modeled after ancient kings and queens, the elegant catacombs and the pyramids garnished with hieroglyphics.
Chinatown Dimsum & Drink
My appetite started to call on me, and I was starting to miss Chinese so I looked up good restaurants and found Nam Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, and went for milk tea afterwards.
The Strand & Union Square
One of my favorite stores, boasting miles and miles of books is The Strand. I enjoyed the rich archive of literature, art supplies and other goodies.
As I had time to spare, I window-shopped along the colorful boutiques of SoHo and attempted to try Dominique Ansel’s famous cronuts but ended up with a delightful almond croissant instead after finding out they’re out of stock.
Lexington Area (Magnolia Bakery & Serendipity)
Thinking that I might not get the chance to the following day, I took home a pint of the glorious banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery.
Big Gay Ice Cream & Great NY Noodletown
Earlier that day, I met a new friend at the hostel. We had jolly conversation over ice cream and roast specialities.
Wall Street Financial Crisis Tour
The morning was loaded with the rich history of the Financial District, dating all the way back to the 1800s. We moved along the crises and major events that made Wall Street what it is today. The best part was gaining a better understanding of the housing bubble of 2008, and the factors, the companies, the superpowers that played crucial roles and manipulated it.
Lunch at Eataly
After an insightful morning, I looked for nearby places to have lunch. Since it was my last day, I opted to have a hearty prix fixe at Eataly, from where I also brought home some last-minute souvenirs.
A sucker for freebies, I dropped by the nearby Century 21 to redeem my $5 coupon.
9/11 Memorial & Westfield Mall
As it was raining hard that afternoon, I only passed through the 9/11 Memorial and was drawn by an avant-garde structure that happened to be a Westfield mall. I walked in to discover the most uniquely-designed mall I’ve set foot in.
After grabbing a cup of joe, I left to check out and board the bus to DC. And there ended my New York adventure.
This city is anything but pretentious. In fact, it is so unapologetically good at being itself. They say New York is dark, cold, frenetic, eccentric–whatever it is, it prides itself in being just that. Which is why, when one has spent a considerable amount of time in the town, and it has rubbed off on him, he leaves accepting himself better than when he arrived. Part of me will always be grateful for this city.
Up next, Washington DC!