New York is indescribably huge, crowded, chaotic, enchanting. I stayed in NY for a little bit more than a week and I loved it, even if it rained all the time and it was freezing as hell! The usual lucky me. The very first morning I woke up at 7am nonetheless the tiredness from the day before, but adrenaline and happiness always defeat the rest. The night before I was too exhausted to shower, so I got up realized I was on the other side of the ocean, laughed about it and started to get ready for the day. One of the best thing about the Q4 Hotel is that in the room I was staying there’s a private bathroom and since my roomies were still sleeping I took a long warm shower but since tragedy is always on my side I realized that I still didn’t have an adaptor plug for my hair dryer, but I was too happy to let me down by such little things so what I did was to get dressed and try to dry them with my towel as much as I could.
The day starts, I’m hungry as never before in my entire life and as soon ad I get out from the Q4 Hotel I find a little truck selling bagels, 1$ breakfast and I run the world. After breakfast I have to take the subway to reach downtown, I’m staying in Queens and go walking is not a good idea. After buying a subway weekly ticket, I’m ready to conquer Manhattan. I spend the first day walking around, amazed by these huge skyscrapers, trying to not get killed by the crazy traffic and getting lost at every corner as I always do. Ok guys, just so you they say it’s kinda impossible to get lost in Manhattan because the streets work this way: Manhattan has a rectangular shape and it’s easy to sweep it (THEY SAY), Avenues and Streets are indicated by numbers with some exceptions; the horizontal ones are “Streets” while the vertical ones are “Avenues”; Streets’ numbers go from South to North, while the Avenues’ numbers go from East to West. Easy, but not for me that I have a really bad sense of direction but never mind I figured everything out just wandering around, I loved it.
Wandering around took me first to Times Square and if I have to describe it with one word I’d say LIGHTS. You cannot even imagine the amount of lights, of screens of every size and shape.. I guess they have six-zeros electricity bills. LOL
MoMA after lunch and it’s been crazily amazing, I spent 4 hours inside listening to the audio guide and staring at paintings I studied in high schools, it gave me goosebumps to see something that is actually real, that someone painted centuries ago, I was speechless. Inside you will find contemporary art and artists such as Van Gogh, Degas, Dalì, Chagall, Boccioni and much more. MoMa it’s very big and I enjoyed my afternoon there while outside was raining. At a certain point a shy sun came out and I decided to go to have a walk in Central Park before going to the hostel for dinner. Central Park is the heart of Manhattan, it’s a huge park where you can find people walking dogs, jogging, working out, kids playing.. lovely! Just the time of couples of pictures and it started raining again so I made my way back to Q4 Hotel where they organize something every night, it was a real pleasure staying with them, we went to the rooftop enjoyed the view of the Empire State Building, talked and laughed and I couldn’t believe that I was in the land of dreams.
The day after rain was there again but it didn’t stop me and I went to the subway stop to catch the train to go to downtown but I don’t know what happened, probably I was too sleepy but I passed the gates and then, convinced to have taken the wrong gate I went out again making it impossible to pass again. Don’t ask me why it works like this but the lady at the ticket office told me that if I get in and out and then in again the card won’t work for 80 minutes. LIKE WTF.
Ok, let’s explore Queens’ neighborhood then. So many people from different countries living their lives, talking about their problems and their successes, doing groceries, kids going to school.. I LOVED IT. One of my favorite things to do, when I travel, is to see the life of others going on, try to put me in their shoes! I got to the Queensboro’s Bridge that connects Manhattan to Queens, such a breathtaking landscape from there!
After this freaking 80 minutes passed I took the subway and I decided to go see another museum praying for the rain to give me a truce, so I visited The MET where you can see work of arts from the ancient Greece, Egypt, and Roman Empire; paintings of famous European, American artists but also a lot of African, Asian, Australian stunning masterpieces. I got lost a couple of times but I surely loved it! After lunch, I’ve met with Chiara and together we went first to the Guggenheim Museum that was such a disappointment since it was EMPTY, I think everyone goes just because it’s famous. I felt dumb as hell. We comforted ourselves going to Soho, Little Italy, and China Town. Soho is adorable, full of street art, graffitis inspired by Keith Hiring about love, peace, unity; little shops all around, weird-dressed but super cool people everywhere it reminded me of Camden Town in London. Little Italy it’s a nice area but nothing special, I mean it’s full of Italian restaurants but that’s it; China Town…. hmm.. a little dirty I would say but I had the best dumplings of my life there. I forgot to mention that the only time I took the subway was in the morning the rest of the day I just walked. Do I deserve a prize? Hell yeah!
I passed the third day it walking under the pouring rain around the area of the Columbia University, they were preparing for the graduation ceremony and I felt in an another reality, the movie one, where they throw their hat in the air to celebrate such important step of someone’s life and I wondered if this will ever happen to me since I’m doing my best to NOT pass my Economics exam and consequently not graduate. Whatever. Near the university, there is another beautiful park: Riverside Park that is literally on the river side of the Hudson River. DUHHH. The rain during the afternoon decided to let me breathe for a couple of hours so I took the subway and see the World Trade Center, Wall Street, and Ground Zero. Visiting Ground Zero shocked me and this is what I wrote in my little notebook in front of this huge fountain:
“In this very moment, I’m in front of the 9/11 Memorial and nothing I’ve ever seen in 23 years of life never hit me this hard and so deeply. A huge chasm in the ground with waterfalls that seem to reach the center of the earth; names along the fountain and some roses here and there and so much bitterness seeing this people taking selfies smiling like they were taking a picture next to any other monument. No respect for the names on this fountain. Today is a windy and rainy day and as soon as I got closer, the water from the fountain hit my face like the drizzle. I must be honest, I feel so overwhelmed staring at this huge hole in front of me. The hole created by this tragedy that I don’t I will never understand. This place is poetic.”
I’m very sensitive and I couldn’t handle the heavy atmosphere, I needed to go away.
Soaking wet and cold as hell I went back to the hostel, I needed a warm shower ASAP and to relax and make some plans for the days to come and contemplate life. For dinner, I met with Chiara and then we went together to a 13th-floor rooftop bar that was so expensive and chic that I felt embarrassed even for getting inside. But the ambiance was nice and it was worth the awkwardness. After our awkward presence in that lounge bar, we went back to my hostel together because it was karaoke night, and beer helped us to perform like true Beyoncès. What a night!
The following morning I wanted to visit Brooklyn so I met with Chiara for breakfast and then we took the subway together. Brooklyn is sparkling, young, modern, it’s an outdoor art gallery made of stunning graffitis and all of them were about love, peace, humanity; music was coming from everywhere and the streets were full of people and the atmosphere was so energetic! We also crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, took tons of pictures and enjoyed the view. We were fully equipped: phones, camera, GoPro, Polaroid Camera. We had everything.
For dinner, Chiara took me to the Surf Bar, a place where you eat on surfboards with your feet in the sand, in Brooklyn! The food was amazing, and the staff was perfect saving us from our troubles (yes, we poured juice on ourselves lol). A perfect night with a nice company!
Second to last day, I needed to tick one of the things that’re on my bucket list: see the pastry shop of the famous Carlo’s Bakery of Cake Boss. Took the train to Hoboken on the only sunny day of my stay in NY. Damn, I almost forgot the shape of the sun! I was feeling energetic and ready to walk and it was one of the best walks of my life! After getting off the train I found the bakery in 5 minutes I don’t know I think I’m kinda connected with food like mothers with babies, took some selfies but the line was way too long and I didn’t have enough time to stop even if I wanted to taste his Red Velvet cupcake. Hoboken is such a lovely area, no traffic, no chaos, only families, kids playing on playgrounds and they have a splendid view of the Manhattan skyline. Another thing I knew was there: Frank Sinatra House, actually only a blue star as a sign of where he lived and if you know me you also know my passion for Jazz, Blues, Soul. Sinatra is not among my favorites but still he was one of the greatest.
The last day I just took a quick walk through Soho, one of the parts of New York I liked the most but I spent the rest of the day organizing my suitcases for the great adventure: Coast to Coast trip! But first.. a quick stop in Wisconsin! But that’s another story!
- Q4 Hotel is highly recommended! 15 mins and you are in downtown Manhattan. Affordable prices. Best staff ever, best nights ever, best hostel ever! If i’m going to NY again it will be Q4 Hotel again! Here is their FB page:
- Subway costs: 1 ride 3$, weekly ticket 32$
- MoMa museum is for free, The MET it’s with an offer from a minimum of 2$, Guggenheim it’s around 15$ but absolutely not worth it!
- New York is freaking expensive. Also the air you breathe is expensive so behold pockets!
- Take your University ID with you, it will be useful for discounts in museum and galleries, even if you are not american!