New York

“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.”

T. Capote

 

I have never been more excited to go on holidays than this year. Not even that time when I was sixteen and was about to travel alone to visit Tokyo. Perhaps it was because I was so young that I couldn’t appreciate it and at that very moment all I wanted to do was to stay in Prague, not to leave. 

I was trying really hard to experience New York, to engrave each moment into my poor memory. And I think I did a good job, by the end of those two wonderful weeks, I got used to the life of a New yorker, my MetroCard was successfully read for the first slide, I’ve stopped answering the omnipresent phrase from all the cashiers: “Hi guys, how are you?” and I have tried all the possible forms of Hot dogs. 

Aunt Anne's Pretzel Dog
Aunt Anne’s Pretzel Dog

 Just like everywhere else, also in New York we experienced some problems. When we first arrived, there was a huge storm, a hurricane somewhere around the corner and my iPhone kept beeping with a “Flash Flood Warning”. That is why we arrived two hours later than expected to our apartment rented through Airbnb. Oh, did I mention we had no maps to find the apartment as well? And that the owner did not answer our messages/phone calls/door bell ringing? And that our meter high bed broke? That the next morning, first thing I saw before entering Manhattan, was a dead rat in the middle of the street? 

Yet we were immensely happy. Nothing could put us down. We were in New York. 

Our home in Williamsburg.
Our home in Williamsburg.

Everything was overwhelming in New York. People, smell, skyscrapers.

2014-07-04 00.35.28And especially shopping.

2014-07-09 00.16.42I went to New York with no luggage. The only thing I had with me was probably my toothbrush and one or two dresses. On the way back home, I had super sized suitcase, a backpack and so much more. Literally everything in New York is cheaper than in Europe by 1/3. It is usually caused by the fact that a backpack for example in EU costs 100 euros whereas the very same product is 100 dollars in the US.

The brands I wanted to shop the most in NY were Brandy Melville, E.L.F., MAC, Victoria’s secret, Urban Decay and Benefit. It was mostly cosmetics so my luggage wasn’t really that full when I was returning home but I did spend quite a lot on those! 

SoHo
SoHo

Yup. My biggest love. Food. I was always so jealous when I saw people posting on 9gag or Instagram photos of American food. Everything green tea or Oreo flavored, covered in chocolate, fried in bacon and topped with rainbow sprinkles. I am definitely not exaggerating. However, American sweets were the last thing I wanted to eat. It was so humid there, the sun was shining all day and we were frying ourselves in about 35 degrees celsius. 

Sometimes we would just drink water all day and eat some bagels. You could buy 3 bagels for $1. 2014-07-04 18.10.25

On the other hand, the water bottles were quite pricey, around $3 for 1,5 liter. After few days we realized the cheapest brand is Poland spring so that became our ultimate choice. Just until we found out you could get a $1 sweet ice tea of any size in McDonalds. Don’t judge. We are just students, okay? 

Living in New York on a budget was not as difficult as I would expect. 

Vanessa's dumplings, a restaurant 20m from our apartment, so cheap and delicious! $2 for dumplings.
Vanessa’s dumplings, a restaurant 20m from our apartment, so cheap and delicious! $2 for dumplings.

And there was always something happening. 

Urban Bites
Urban Bites
The 4th of July
The 4th of July
WitchFest
WitchsFest
Summer Stage, a free festival in Central Park, where we saw Bonobo and discovered Odesza.
Summer Stage, a free festival in Central Park, where we saw Bonobo and discovered Odesza.

There were events happening every day, 24/7. Probably that is why they call New York a city that never sleeps. Everything happens in New York. Don’t be fooled though. Most nightlife I’ve seen in NY was happening between 8 – 11 pm. The shops are closing by 6 pm. Achja, I really hoped I could do shopping all the time. The only shops that were opened until 10 pm were those around Times Square (Victoria’s secret, H&M, Forever 21..).  

Times Square
Times Square

Sometimes it gets surreal and you will feel lost.

2014-07-04 16.12.14

So at those times it is the best just to get out.

Coney Island (1 - 1,5 hour by train from the Manhattan centre)
Coney Island (1 – 1,5 hour by train from the Manhattan centre)
Or simply enter some of the city's park. This is Central park with the playground and skyscrapers in the back. I loved this view.
Or simply enter some of the city’s park. This is Central park with the playground and skyscrapers in the back. I loved this view.
Or take a free ferry to Staten Island, take a look at the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the South Beach.
Or take a free ferry to Staten Island, take a look at the Statue of Liberty and enjoy the South Beach.

There is plenty of things to do in New York. I definitely recommend staying for two weeks. Then you can enjoy everything at your own pace, feel the vibes… However, as everybody was reassuring us that a week is enough for NY, we also booked two trips with Megabus. About 2 months ahead so the tickets were around $3 round trip/person.

Washington D.C., 4 hours by bus from Manhattan.
Washington D.C., 4 hours by bus from Manhattan.
And Boston. Because why the heck not?
And Boston. Because why the heck not?

I loved staying in New York. Hopefully you can sense the atmosphere from all the photos but I doubt it. The atmosphere must be experienced. I saw plenty of movies and photos of New York before but I would never expect it to be soooo … everything. It was an intense experience, surprising and tender, just like losing the virginity. New York is a big and beautiful lover that will love you and spank you and it is really only up to you if you will let yourself go and enjoy every minute.. or not. 

See you!
See you!
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