A First Look at New York City


I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about New York. I moved to London before even visiting the Big Apple! On my way back home to Vancouver, perhaps to ease the pain of my UK visa expiring, I made a plan to stop over in New York City.

This worked out a lot better than I’d hoped, because I was able to stay with my old Fulham flatmates (remember this Indian wedding?) and bring along our other roomie! We had five days to hit the pavement and figure out what NYC is all about.

As tourists, I’d say we did pretty well! I wrote several lists in the back of my Lonely Planet pocket guide and we got through most of them. This was my first time using a Lonely Planet guide. I’ve purchased one before, for Spain, but really didn’t like it, and actually replaced it with another brand. Their pocket guides, though, are amazing! This one was full of colour and photos, had places for notes, and a great array of restaurant and bar suggestions. And of course, it listed all the top attractions for us travel nerds.

We were able to spend Sunday with our lovely hosts before they had to go back to work. We went for Sunday brunch in Brooklyn, walked the High Line in the Meatpacking District, saw Union Square, the Flatiron Building, Washington Square Park and had cheesecake at Junior’s. It was a full day with the five-hour time difference!

The rest of the week we saw every big sight in the city. We went up to the top of Rockefeller Centre, wandered through Central Park, visited Columbia University, took the ferry to Staten Island and saw the Statue of Liberty. We ate Pinkberry frozen yogurt, tried the way-too-big New York style pizza slices, and ate hot dogs on the steps of the Met. Then we went in! We wandered down Park and Madison avenues, went to see the buildings immortalized by Friends and Sex and the City, and wandered through the gorgeous halls of the New York Public Library.

And of course, we saw Times Square during the day and at night! It wasn’t until we saw it after dark on our last day in town, following a few cocktails with Keerthi and Kyle at the bar in the Renaissance hotel that overlooks the craziness below, that I realized why she’d insisted we see it at night. The city never sleeps because the lights are always on, and so very bright!

I had an absolutely amazing first time in New York City. I know I’ll be back again soon. Maybe for an extended stay? I won’t count it out.

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