Our first real day in New York City began bright and early as we woke suddenly at 2am…which would have really been 4pm Australian time. So it is safe to say that severe jet lag had hit us. We lay in a tiny apartment waiting for the sun to rise before we finally were able to head out for breakfast. We walked through the beautiful streets of the Upper East Side in search of a delicious breakfast place, specifically waffles. My craving for waffles in New York may have stemmed from the numerous episodes of Gossip Girl where the Humphrey household would start their day with fluffy, delicious waffles. So for me it was a must to find waffles on our first morning in New York, and that’s exactly what we did.
After a delicious but surprisingly small serving of breakfast, we ventured through the Manhattan streets down into the subway. This was our first time in the hot and extremely busy underground world. Thousands of people were squashed onto each train and off you go with strangers standing awkwardly close to you, to the various stations across the city. About 10 minutes later we were at our stop at the bottom of Manhattan where we were off to see the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is one of those things you have heard so much about and seen countless times on TV and the internet but to see it in real life is something completely different! As we were walking to the ferry stop I saw, wait for it,…..MY FIRST SQUIRREL! Words cannot describe how cute and adorable these little creatures are. It actually makes me so excited to think the first squirrel I ever saw was in New York City of all places. So with the excitement of seeing a squirrel for the first time we made our way down onto the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. This was the first real pinch yourself moment we experienced. Seeing the grand Lady Liberty looking over Manhattan and the Hudson River was simply breath taking!
As we reached land we went exploring up the lower end of Broadway stopping by Wall Street, Trinity Church and ending at the Ground Zero Memorial site. Before entering into the site I noticed a 3 wheeled NYPD car (if you could even call it a car). If you have seen Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year travels then you will know that I had to have a photo with this car. So as I was getting my photo taken, two policemen came up to me and asked “Excuse Miss, what did you just do?”. Thoroughly confused and a little scared I replied “Um I just wanted a photo with the car”. The policeman then said “I’m sorry you’re going to have to take another photo…with us in it”. It was absolutely hilarious but so incredibly exciting. I had strict instructions from my sister before I left for New York to get a photo with a NYPD policeman and now I was having a photo with them and the three wheeled car and I didn’t even have to ask. It turned out being my favourite photo from the entire trip.
With the excitement of meeting two NYPD policemen we lined up to enter the Ground Zero Memorial Center. With an intense screening process, much like the one at LA airport, we were let into the waterfall memorials that were beautifully tranquil and calm. The huge waterfalls were lined with names of every person that died during the horrible event. There were thousands of people visiting the memorial and taking time to think about this tragic occurrence.
We then explored the amazing streets of Soho and Chelsea, on the hunt for Hugh Jackman’s Australian style coffee shop, Laughing Man. It is safe to say Soho was one of my favourite places in New York. Everything and everyone was effortlessly ‘cool’ as they shopped in the high end, fabulous stores! We walked down the cobbled streets and into immaculate stores and beautiful street side parks. Today was the day we found Anthropologie. Words cannot describe how much I love this place, I was simply in awe of what my eyes were witnessing.
Our feet were slowly dying and our eyelids were beginning to close as we had been up for nearly 18 hours, so we ventured off into Little Italy for a quick meal before we made our way home to the other end of Manhattan. To be honest, our meal was actually not that great. After countless recommendations to go to Little Italy, our expectations were high and in the end, were not met. It was just nothing special, nothing bad but nothing good. Getting more and more tired we jumped back onto the Subway and headed back to 78th Street.
One thing that you do not realise about New York until you go there is how unique and surprising it is. As you turn each corner you don’t know what to expect. From the things we saw to what we ate, I cannot stress enough how incredible New York City is.