Before I show you some of my pretty pictures, I want to tell you a little about my experience of, and in, New York City.
So my Mr. and I flew from Sydney to NYC (via LA of course) and landed safely at JFK Airport where we then caught one of those much-too recognisable yellow cabs to The Bronx. Now you’re probably wondering why we would choose to stay in this “burrow” of New York – well basically, we decided we wanted to spend more money on going out and having a good time, and less money on where we would be sleeping (because let’s face it, that’s all we would use our accommodation for.)
Our friendly little cab driver was happy enough to drive us to the wrong address, tell us the place we were staying at “doesn’t exist” and then charge us $60, including that pesky tip. By the time we decided to hop out of the cab and find the place ourselves, it had started to rain and we were cranky from jet lag (and the price of the useless taxi). We struggled through the rain with our heavy suitcases, walked a few blocks and stumbled upon our new digs.
That evening we decided rather than go back out into the pouring rain, umbrella-less and dressed in summer clothing, we’d go for a walk around The Bronx and find something to eat. Well of course, The Bronx was exactly what we expected it to be. Dirty, a little grimy and not at all glamourous, but of course, as I said, we knew this is what we had signed up for. It did however slip our minds that there would be such a strong Hispanic presence throughout America.
It’s a funny thing to forget really, when we know that so much of the western coast of America especially, being so close to Mexico, would have a huge Hispanic population (don’t forget South America is so close by too!). But of course, in Australia, so many of our TV shows are FedEx-ed straight from the States, and so many of these shows rarely include characters from Hispanic backgrounds. Food for thought.
Back on track. We spent 7 nights in NYC, we explored Midtown, the Upper East Side, Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. These previously mentioned TV shows that for some reason, had very much influenced my expectations of America, gave me false hopes of a beautiful city, bustling with people and simply, the definition of glamour. What we found however was of course, a concrete jungle, bustling with people, many of whom were homeless, and dirty, grimy streets that very much matched The Bronx. But if you’re a New Yorker, or a firm believer of what you see on TV, don’t fear or get upset. This was my experience of Midtown – a tourist trap – Times Square sparkling with bright billboards and annoying people badgering you about seeing comedy shows. While considering this was THE destination for tourists in NYC, it was in pretty bad shape. Luckily the rest of Manhattan was quite different.
We were lucky enough to explore Downtown Manhattan with some insider advice by our sides. A friend of ours who was born in America and residing in NYC summoned us for lunch at Chelsea Market, which was just the most fantastic place to eat (I went for an American staple and ordered a “Grilled Cheese”). We explored most of Downtown Manhattan and fell in love with Bleeker Street’s surroundings. In the evenings we headed out to bars downtown and finally started to feel a little like we were living in a Gossip Girl fairytale (well I did anyway), more so than when we walked the streets of the Upper East Side.
We walked the High Line and took in the sites, walking alongside old railway tracks now lost beneath beautiful shrubbery. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, ate bagels in the park and were lucky enough to eat our way through the food markets nearby. We went to the MET, up the Empire State Building and walked through Central Park. We ate hot dogs outside Tiffany’s, caught Wicked on Broadway and ate giant pizza pieces for dinner.
We put on a little too much weight, both around our waist lines and in our suitcases and decided we had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. While it’s clear that I didn’t much like Midtown, it’s definitely something you have to see, but if you’re thinking about heading over there I would suggest you look at staying around, or heading into Downtown Manhattan for most your trip.
Now here are some snaps (of course there are a lot more than these, but I wouldn’t want to bore you!):