Before, when I imagined New York City I think Manhattan; crowded and touristy but mainly overwhelming. Perhaps the reason I felt this way is because the last time I went to NYC we stayed in Manhattan and just about crammed in every little touristy thing you can do in 3 days but most importantly I was traveling with my family of 4 (including myself) which is already overwhelming as is. If Chicago taught me anything it’s that your traveling experience is completely different when you are traveling on your own. My experience in New York City was similar to my Chicago trip in the sense that everything I did was planned by me and the friends that I was meeting up there and I couldn’t have been more excited to be the one in charge of my own vacation.
My flight out of MEM left at a convenient time of 5:20am, priced accordingly, then a connecting flight in my beloved Chi Town to finally end up at LaGuardia Airport at around 11:00am. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and my traveling experience couldn’t have gone smoother. I left LaGuardia Airport in a black shiny new Suburban all to myself, boosting my ego and feeling like a superstar I roll into Brooklyn to meet my friend Courtney. The traffic wasn’t bad since it was the late morning and my ride took about 30 min and was only about $30. Courtney is one of my good friends from University of Arkansas who is doing an internship for the whole summer in NYC (Go Court!). The place she was staying was called EHS which was like student housing and it was located in Brooklyn. I had never stayed in Brooklyn before so of course, I was expecting grungy with suspicious people surrounding me.. but in all honesty, I fell in love with Brooklyn the first night I was there. Courtney was staying in Brooklyn Heights which is near DUMBO. Our first night Courtney took me and her childhood friend Jade, who was also staying the weekend in the city to the Brooklyn Bridge. We went around sunset and the views were so beautiful… Although, I give warning that the bike riders on the bridge can be ruthless and will run you over! That evening the 3 of us went to meet up with Courtney’s friend from work, Lane, who is coincidently attending UofA next year and also met up with Court’s cousin, Abby who was taking some summer classes in Manhattan. We went out for dinner and drinks in Times Square and as hard as I tried fighting my 3:00am wake-up, I wasn’t able to last longer than 12am that night…I’ll make it next time!
Next day, Saturday, I wake up early (again) to meet up with Elizabeth aka “Liz” for a day of brunch and shopping on 5th Avenue. Elizabeth is nannying for a family up in Fire Island and she was able to come into the city for a night or 2 to see me and her high school friend, Mimi, who was sweet as could be! I met up with Liz at the place where Mimi was staying with her cousin in Manhattan in Midtown East. It was a beautiful, quaint apartment that was filled with antique french style furniture and I absolutely fell in love with the lavish life as soon as I walked into the door.
After staying in Courtney’s place which was almost like a dorm or a hostel (haha sorry Court) and then getting a small taste of the lavish lifestyle staying in Manhattan with Mimi and Elizabeth I was very grateful to have been able to get a taste of both types of living. I, by no means, had any trouble sleeping on a deflating air mattress at Courtney’s and I definitely didn’t mind showering in a fancy bathroom at Mimi’s… I think the reasoning for me not caring about where I was staying was because it didn’t matter the circumstances I was living under, what mattered to me was that I was able to share this amazing city with some of my closest friends.
When Sunday rolled around I said my goodbyes to Liz as she headed for the ferry back to Fire Island and lonely girl made her way back over the bridge to Brooklyn ;). That night Courtney, Jade, Abby, Lane, and I went to a rooftop bar called Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar in Battery Park in Manhattan. There were beautiful views of the skyline and Hudson River. I would highly reccomend this place to anyone who has a quick second to spare in NYC. They are famous for their cocktails because they put popsicles in them. I ordered a Peach Cocktail with the popsicle in them (which was of course extra, but I’m paying for the experience!) and it was absolutely delicious..in fact, I wish I had one right now 😉
Monday was supposed to be my last day, my flight was scheduled to leave around 6:00pm so me, Courtney, and Jade went to take a few pictures down by a dock in Brooklyn and then go for a casual lunch before I left for the airport. I gathered up all my things and I went my separate way towards the airport. When I got to the airport I noticed that my flight had been delayed and soon after that it had been cancelled. I had absolutely no negative feelings about my flight cancellation because this meant one more night with Court and one more night in the big apple!
That night, Courtney and Abby had already planned to meet up with some friends that Abby had met a few nights back. Courtney, Abby, Jade, and I went to 213 5th Avenue Rooftop Bar which was really nice! It had a view of the Empire State building and the city skyline. At first, being so eager, the night started off a little bit slow but as the Raspberry Mojitos started rolling in and after a few glasses of Pinot Grigio, Abby’s friends from the other night showed up; a group of Australian boys who had been traveling all over the US for the summer. Obviously, I was completely taken by their accents but I soon learned that they were quite interesting to talk to and it was really cool to hear about the places they had visited and sort of hear about their experiences…once again, there really is nothing better than meeting cool people in a cool city.
My last night in New York City was definitely one to remember, and I can only thank Southwest Airlines for canceling my flight so that I could have one last memorable night in the city that never sleeps.
My perception of New York City now: Well, I don’t really have one anymore. New York consists of so much that I can’t just limit it to a couple mediocre adjectives. But I will say this, New York is undoubtedly beautiful and these past 3 days showed me just how much opportunity it really has and I look forward to the day I get to go back!