A really great (but difficult) thing about doing things like going away to college and then spending a year traveling and teaching English abroad is all of the friends you make that live throughout the world! Some of my friends are scattered across the country, some of them still in Thailand and some of them right in my own state. Regardless of where they are, seeing them is always a bittersweet reminder of our time together and all the serious craziness that occurred.
Regardless of how long I’ve known them, living with people – especially in a place like Thailand – is a true test of friendship. I’m really lucky that one of my friends from Thailand lives right in NYC and so I get to see her all the time. I was even luckier that our other friend Nancy decided to come for a visit about two weeks ago! Nancy and I taught at the same school and lived down the hall from each other – we pretty much become insta-BFF’s and our friendship has remained while she lives in Kansas City. I didn’t think I’d be able to spend the whole weekend with Nancy and Polly but somehow it all worked out! During her visit we did some super touristy things that even I haven’t done and I got to cross something major off of my bucket list. I think it was a perfect way for someone visiting to explore NYC without being too much of a typical tourist and I’d definitely recommend our plan for other “young” people visiting Manhattan for the first (or second or third or twentieth) time!
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This is something I’ve always been meaning to do but never actually did. Sometimes it takes the influence of an outsider to get you to do something like tour a museum or visit a monument. The experience was as overwhelming as I expected it to be, but I was most surprised by just HOW MUCH was in the museum – walls from ceiling to floor were covered in memories and moments from the day and time before and after. It took over three hours to just peruse and I left feeling way more connected to the city and the day and even those I knew who passed in the event. If you’re intrigued by 9/11 I definitely recommend a visit… if you still have your college ID card definitely use it to get the discount! If you just want to spend a short amount of time, a walk around the memorial fountain is a beautiful way to spend your morning. Then…… walk or subway over to the Brooklyn Bridge!
“Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge” is something that has been on my Bucket list forever!! I’ve always wanted to do it but I’ve never had (or made) the time. I am the queen of excuses and procrastination! So when I asked what Polly had planned for the day and this was on it, I knew I had to join!! It was freezing cold and, as it’s always rumored to be, super windy on the bridge! We were also starving and so our walk was pretty quick, about 40 minutes. We stopped to take a few photos and admire the view but we were determined to just make it across. I plan to go back when it gets warmer to take it all in even more. Also: don’t look down to see that you’re walking across rickety wood balancing above water and traffic.
Central Park Tour
We had a Central Park expert with us (Polly) to take us through the park and point out all of the statues, most of which I’ve seen at some point in my life. We started at Strawberry Fields, got a glimpse of the building John Lennon lived in (The Dakota), heard a lot of acoustic Beatles covers (did you know that playing electric music is prohibited in Strawberry Fields?) and took a picture in the Imagine circle. We also walked around, saw a lot of rocks, walked past the boat house, saw the Alice in Wonderland statue and took some cute pics. Download a map and give yourself a tour.
Good food & drinks
One thing you gotta do in NYC is eat!! Pizza, bagels and Donut Plant OF COURSE but don’t underestimate the fact that you can walk into just about any restaurant and have a unique and delicious meal. I know a lot of people will disagree with me on that, but I think it’s true!! I’ve never had a meal that I really didn’t like. This particular weekend, I had a Taco Salad at a Mexican restaurant in the Upper West Side called Cilantro that I’m still salivating over and, of course, sushi at Haru. Then, of course, you have to experience the night life! On Friday night we stayed in Murray Hill and went to Joshua Tree and then made our way down the block to some other bars. Our late night wouldn’t have been complete without a stop for pizza at Dough Boys. Saturday was a night in Bowery at Bowery Electric and then The Wren. The night consisted of a TON of beer and tequila shots, dancing and chit chatting with strangers… a typical NY night.
It was an enjoyable weekend and one I could definitely recommend.