There's no point in lying to ourselves - fall is here and gloomy days are just beginning. And because I'm sitting down to write this in a gloomy day, all I need is a cozy blancket, a cup of mint tea and a scented candle :) Sometimes this is enough at the end of the day and this coziness goes with nostalgic memries that would make you smile or even laugh out loud, right?
This was what happened when me and Arsen opened the archives from 2 years ago and looked at the thousands of shots from our USA adventure. But even a thousand photos can't compare to the half of the emotions we felt during our 4 months there.
Today I'll let you look at our week in New York that will never be forgotten and to give you a few tips if you're planning a trip to the Big Apple :)
I'll start from far: it had been years that I dreamt about going to New York - could be because of movies, photos, travel guides or because of my dad's stories... So I was absolutely sure that I'd take the first chance I get to travel across the Ocean! And that opportunity came 2 years ago with a work and travel program for students.
Actually Arsen and I signed up for the program beacause of that chance to see New York even for 24 hours. could be luck, that we managed to stay there for 7 days. And it was crazy...
You can imagine a trip like this can't be organized on the go. So about a month before we started prepping for our trip from Maine to New York. First we booked the bus tickets, then we searched high and low for an affordable yet with great location place to stay :) And then we started figuring out tours that we'd take to go around the city - we decided to skip tour guides and group visits of monuments because we wanted to feel the city vibe and I'm so glad we did this!
The trip began from Portland, ME in the early hours of the beginning of September 2014 and was full of excitement and cold :D A few hours later we were in Boston and a few more - we were in New York - from us entering the city we saw so many places we recognized from movies :) After arriving at the station, we went to the subway like true New Yorkers with our 2 giant suitcases, 2 giant dufflebags and backpacks. Of course I had checked where we were suposed to go but it turned out the stop was being remodeled and we had to go 2 more stops ahead. This might not seem like a problem if it wasn't in Bronx. It was like a gangsta movie, not kidding so Arsen just told me "Go ahead and do not look at people!".
So my first tip is always check of the stops you need are under construction, you do not know where you may have to go :)
Turned out that the affordable place to stay didn't had the ideal location. We were in Harlem, about 4-5 blocks from Bronx but also about 2-3 blocks from Central Park and 5th Avenue. It's interesting how the city changes whitin a few blocks up north.
The hostel has face control and the luxe 2 person bedroom was the size of a closet with no windows. At least it had a lock which wasn't the case of our friends' room next to ours. Good thing all we did there was sleep and shower.
The long road didn't make us skip the day and we headed straight to Times Square the same day we arrived - you could hear all kinds of languages there!
The Broadway ads were so colorful and there were tourists everywhere... My first memory from there is the white noise: such a hectic place with thousands of people passing by, giant moving ads and flashy stores and the white noise - it might be music if it was a movie.
Arsen and I wanted to take something as a memory of our fist day in the Big Apple and a caricature was the best thing ever, right :) We look nothing alike our piece of art but we still love it to bits!
The next few days were planned perfectly. The subway maps are super easy to follow so you can organize going places super easy!
And before shaing the places we saw, you may want to know where we ate: we mainly went to fast food courts so save time and money. Mc Donalds is not the best thing to eat but the street food is just horrible... I tried a falafel and I can just say the ones in Bulgaria are gourmet compared the the New York ones. We couldn't eat fast food every day for a week so we splurged on a dinner the the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square where rock was no where to be found the the food was awesome!
So back to destinations:
The Brooklyn Bridge and the Financial District we saw in one day - this district ended up the highlight of New York for us with the cool architecture: skyscrapers and antique church next to each other for example. And the costume guys riding bikes, the many phone calls on Wall Street were a true attraction!
Battery Park, a walk next to the river and a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty that Arsen still claims is not as big as it seems on movies. This is a way calmer New York.
The same evening some family friends took us to Queens to see the Manhattan lights on the 11th September.
Speaking of September 11th, yes, we went to the memorial of the Twin Towers - you know what, I've never been to a place filled with an air so heavy you can bearly breathe.
From the fallen towers, we went to the Empire State. And saw the city from above. The 87th floor makes everything seem so small and you ask yourself are we really this small...
We wanted to spend an entire day in Central Park. It's funny how the noise of millions of cars and sirens gets lost in the city oasis...
We also went to Soho and Little Italy where it rained like crazy so we couldn't take pictures. The same rainy day we went to China Town as well to bargain - if you don't try there, you'll never do :)
We walked across 5th Avenue passing by the fancy stores, took a peek of Rockfeller, saw the Library and even went to a fashion show in one of the blocks where we received some cool gifts!
The spare time was for our fave places. New York's charm is in the life - the streets, the biolding, they can tell so much...
It was the second day I told myself I could never live in a city like this. And it was the same minute I understood I was such a lucky girl to be able to collect these memories. I hope this short story with photos was pleasant for you and you've cought a glimpse of the city that never sleeps!
Till next time,
Photos: archive - Arsen Nikolov
Location: New York, USA