Good evening to all!
It's quite blustery-windy tonight (and it has been practically all day) in good ole Dallas. I cleaned out my purse last night and I found all of my New York receipts, plane ticket stubs, and other little mementos. This ablution of sorts brought with it a moment of reminiscence: I remembered the thrill of exploration, the thrill of getting lost and finding my way back home. I miss New York dearly, I miss my love, I miss my limitless freedom. While I can't exactly have all of those things here, it does feel good to remember all the crazy things I did on my trip. (And since I did mention before...if I had a chance to write about the actual trip, more than just the "catalyst story," here's what happened...)
I woke up in Texas, briefly touched Georgia soil (well, Georgia airport floor), and arrived in New York in a span of 6 hours (give or take that time zone change). The moment we got off the plane at the LaGuardia Airport, we were greeted by a different rhythm. Everybody moving along, nobody stopping, all with a purpose. Taxis and cars and buses honking in the airport traffic. My sister and I called for our shuttle bus and shared it with a bunch of Canadians talking about Rugby. Upon arriving to our room, we were famished; we hadn't eaten since morningtime, unless you count the tiny pretzel baggy from the plane ride. Nani used her awesome food ordering skills and ordered pizza. Dinner was served and we were exhausted from traveling. Sleep.
|Our first time at a subway/train stop.|
So we got on the 7 train, Times Square-bound. I unknowingly sat next to a homeless man with a crossword puzzle---it's okay, he was dozing off. We kind of knew where the train was headed, but we didn't really have an idea of where we would get off---it was, after all, our first day in the actual city. Luckily, Grand Central Station was the penultimate (I think) stop, so we got off there. To this day, I still don't know how we wandered up to the well-known center-lobby-place-thingy, you know, the setting for that big scene from Friends With Benefits, but we did, and with just my Google Maps app on my phone, we navigated out of the station.
The great thing about being in a city for the first time and wandering around in it is that you never really know where you might arrive. New York has a surplus of very interesting, unique, and always worthwhile, places and attractions to see, and frankly, I was overwhelmed. If I want to see everything New York has to offer, I'd have to move there. (And I'm seriously considering it, no lies.) Anyway, we toured the UN (an unexpected educational visit, I suppose), and after getting our dose of international relations, we decided to walk to Times Square. In perambulating aimlessly, we found several clothing stores (and it wasn't until Saturday that I was kind of able to piece my mental map of our travels together, we were on 5th Ave. without knowing it!) and bought a few things.
And then...there it was. Times Square.
|So many colors. Ads and people.|
|Bright lights, screens, and purpose.|
So we were there. And then I impulsively decided to buy tickets to The Phantom of the Opera that evening at the Majestic. It was, by the way, awesome. Amazing. Getting back home afterward, not so much.
Yes, this is the part of my travel story that gets kind of scary. It was impossible to get a taxi to take us home, not to mention unnecessarily expensive, and we reluctantly decided to take the train back home. Unfortunately, I got us off at the wrong stop, and oops, we were super far away from the hotel, in the middle of Queens, in the middle of the night, AND it started pouring down on us. But there was no time to be scared, I was in SURVIVAL MODE. I mentioned before that if a rapist or murderer or some kind of felon had attempted to attack us, he would've regretted that decision. I would have mostly likely severely injured (if not accidentally killed) that poor hypothetical criminal. Thank God no rapist was around! Thank God indeed, actually, for I really don't see how a taxi appeared out of nowhere right in front of us. Some passenger got out and Nani immediately slid into the taxi and I gave the taxi driver the address. We shortly made it back home then, too late for our tastes! The adrenaline was still pumping through my body, but I eventually fell into a deep and restful slumber.
|At the Met, with my friend Vincent van Gogh.|
It was another day, and we were ready for another adventure. I mean, we had already gotten lost---at NIGHT, mind you---what else could happen to us now? We went back to Times Square and did some more shopping and walking, and then we walked all the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You know, that museum, in all its magnitude and glory, seems like a microcosm of New York in retrospect. Just like New York, the Met has so many works and so much rich history that one day, let alone five hours, is not enough to take it all in. Overwhelming. I contemplated not meeting with the former-love-of-my-life so that I could enjoy as much as I could of the Met, but we were hungry---and tired from all the walking---God, the walking!---so we ended up meeting with him. And well, you know that part of the story: if you need a refresher, here you go.
We had some lovely tasting pizza and some really good gelato with a rather bland name---Grom, I believe? It was a nice evening, and we all parted ways at Union Square. (I do apologize, I didn't take any pictures of that evening, it was better that way, my own sense of foreshadowing, I guess.) This time, when we got on the train back home, we didn't get lost. I felt a real sense of accomplishment.
Our last full day in New York consisted of trains, walking, walking some more, and Coney Island, and the moment I decided to leave my heart in New York.
|I wonder what these buildings would say if they could talk.|
The days before this Saturday had been mostly gloomy: the sky had been mostly cloudy and rainy, and the weather was kind of stuffy at times because of everyone crowding around and walking so near to each other.
|St. Patrick's Cathedral. So majestic and stoic.|
St. Patrick's Cathedral had been on my list of things to see at New York, but I had given up on finding it, since we were pressed for time. But I guess St. Patrick found me.
|And of course, we had to take a picture in front of the hotel from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.|
And then, we finally made it to Coney Island, which I didn't know was in Brooklyn, but yeah, it was, or it is, actually. It was the perfect way to end our trip to New York. The sky was gorgeous, the great big clouds billowing above us, the seagulls letting themselves be navigated by the wind. It was then that I truly wanted to stay in New York forever, and all those moments when I used to say "I'm scared" did not compare to the things I had encountered there. I realized that I could (and can) do a lot more than I thought I could...
|Some of the Coney Island attractions, empty.|
|Of course we couldn't forget the hot dog (or in my case, the fries)!|
I am happy to say, that while I am back in Dallas now, it's quite alright. After this trip and the end of the former-love-of-my-life, I've been making more positive life-changing decisions. And regardless of how things work out with my career, studies, and love, I'm not going to regret any of my decisions and actions. It's all for the best.
Till next time, New York!