I have just got home from almost four months in the states, and I thought I should try get some of my memories and experiences down while they are still vivid in my mind.
New York City was our first stop, we arrived in the afternoon tired after the long haul from Sydney with a pit stop in Los Angeles. All up about 20 hours in the air of which I slept about two of. So needless to say I wasn’t the best version of myself when I arrived and was keen to locate a bed. However it wasn’t going to be easy that day, we booked a air BNB in Brooklyn. I had heard Brooklyn was cool and vibrant so we chose that accomodation.
When we jumped in a Uber from the airport and started heading to the address. I began to notice how huge Brooklyn is and how far we actually were staying from the Brooklyn Bridge. Anyhow we finally got to our bed for the night after a random location change by our air BNB host. We were on the South Eastern side of Prospect park and the neighbourhood looked a little rough. We were grumpy and hungry but had to hit the streets and find some food.
As soon as we hit the street we got hustled. The hustle was simple walk into the tourist drop a black bag with a bottle of Henessey in it. I of course say “Sorry mate” even though it’s not my fault and it begins. He claims there were two full huge bottles in there and I need to replace them ($50-$75USD). I call bullshit but I’m in the hustle and I know it. I don’t dig on confrontation but I couldn’t afford to give away most of my daily budget to a hustler. We argue about for along time, he threatens a fight, I call his bluff and suggest I fight Kangaroos at home. He rethinks and we eventually settle on $10 and he finally leaves me alone. At this stage I’m a bit of a mess tired, Hungry and stressed out. I grab a sandwich and a couple beers from a deli and scuttle back to our accomodation to recover. Our first impressions weren’t great but we knew we were in a bad mental state to judge. So we slept on it.
Note: Brooklyn is actually quite cool but I would recommend staying close to the river and the Brooklyn Bridge. The deeper in you go the more real and less holiday it gets.
The next day still bit jet lagged and out of sync with the American time. We got up early and we jumped on the subway and headed for the more familiar streets of Manhattan. We got off at the first stop after the Brooklyn Bridge grabbed a coffee and walked the bridge. It was about seven in the morning and fog was settled low over the city. The bridge was empty of the crowds that are common later in the day, I shot a few cliched photos of the big and the city. As you walk back to Manhattan the bridge walkway provides great views down into the streets of Chinatown. Walking through Chinatown in the morning is great. People are doing Tai Chi in the parks, popular bakeries have lines out the door on to the streets and street merchants are setting up for the day. I took a few photos of the people on the street that morning which I really liked. I normally don’t like shooting people going about their daily business, it feels intrusive sometimes but it was busy and nobody seemed to mind.
The next thing we wanted to do was go to the 9-11 memorial site and go up the one world building. Last time I was in NYC the twin towers were still standing, however only about a week after I left they came tumbling down. It was such a tragic event it really stuck in my mind and I felt compelled to return there. The memorial itself is two large square black holes that mark where the buildings stood, that has water cascading into them. It is very symbolic and respectful.
Nearby the One World building stands over half a kilometre high and contains one hundred and four floors. I was a little nervous and the elevator on the way up scared me but it was an amazing view from the top. There was plenty to do up there and we where up the for about an hour before we caught the equally scary elevator back down.
In my google searches of what to do in NYC I also found the “high line”. It is a decommissioned raised highway that runs through Chelsea parallel with the western shore of Manhattan. They have planted up the space so it is now a beautiful green space up off the street. It was a hot day, at regular intervals there were stalls selling art, ice-creams and drinks. It is a nice way to escape from the hustle and bustle while staying on the island. We walked the full length of it and I really loved it. Anyway we had ran out of time and left the next morning.
I’m sure there is heaps more to do in NYC but we were on a backpackers budget. I hope you found this useful.