You guys, I am not even going to try and make any excuses for my long absence from this blog. However, I will say that I have trouble juggling my work, and social life, therefore my blog has suffered again. With that being said, I do want to commit to this blog more, so I have decided to post twice a week. I will start with Music Monday, I’ll be posting music video reviews or my current playlist on Spotify and tell you all why I love the songs. The second day of the week will be Friday, I’ll post anything related to travel, music, and daily life topics. Now without any further ado, here is today’s blog post.
At the beginning of this year, I made a decision that I would like to go to New York City by myself for the long weekend in May. I wanted to have more time to explore the city by myself and do this at my own pace. Last year I went to New York City for the first time with my family but I didn’t get the chance to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do and see. So this trip was all for that!
I booked my flight for May 18th to May 21st, I have never traveled solo to a city where I am not meeting anybody and where I am literally all alone to explore and navigate throughout this busy city. Let me describe what my days were like and what I did.
My plane was scheduled to take off at 10:27 AM, so I woke up extra early that day to make sure I shower, double check if I packed everything that I need. Going to the airport I carried one small carry-on backpack and I had a big suitcase because I was planning to buy some things while I was in New York. I flew with American Airlines and I don’t have any complaints about my flight it was very quick and the view was coming into NYC was absolutely fantastic. Seeing the beautiful cityscape below made me even more excited for the days that were coming up.
Also when we were flying out of Toronto there was a wonderful view of the city and Lake Ontario.
I arrived in the city around noon, I was debating whether or not to take an Uber or a taxi. I had enough money with me but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t waste all my money on taxis so I tried to figure out the most inexpensive way to get into the city. Lucky for me I stumbled across an airport staff who let me know there was a shuttle bus which costs only $16. If I were to take a cab it would probably cost around $30 or $40. I got on the bus and there weren’t that many people, the drive was also quite quick because there wasn’t any traffic. The bus arrived at Grand Central Station and when I got off I debated whether to take the subway to my hostel or walk.
My walk was probably around 20 minutes and let’s keep in mind that I was pulling around a very heavy suitcase. I wanted to challenge myself and navigate throughout the city by following the map. I am not the best at following directions and I get lost quite easily even in my own city. I pulled out my phone I clicked on the Maps app and I started following the GPS. Let’s just say somehow I managed not to follow the GPS properly but eventually after 20 minutes or so I arrived at my hostel around 2 PM. I was quite early because check-in time wasn’t until 3 PM so I decided to leave my big suitcase and go out to Dunkin’ Donuts to kill some time. I haven’t been to Dunkin’ Donuts since 2001 so it was exciting for me to go back and have a delicious donut to unwind after my trip.
After I relaxed for a bit, enjoyed my donut and iced green tea, I walked back to my hostel. I walked down some side streets so I can see more of the neighborhood. Then I went to CVS because I needed to get a few things like soap and I also bought some miscellaneous items. I went back to my hostel, got my suitcase, went up to my room and I napped. I was up at 6:30 AM so I was feeling tired and getting some sleep was essential. After I got some much-needed sleep, around 6:30 PM I started getting ready to go and see Aladdin on Broadway. I was very, very excited to go and I couldn’t wait. This was my first time attending a show solo in a different country. I’m used to going to concerts by myself because my friends and I have very different tastes in music so it kind of felt weird going by myself. I decided to ignore this feeling and wait to see how I would feel when I arrive at the theatre. I got dressed up, put on my make up and got ready for a night out in New York City. I caught myself a cab and I was actually lucky because the cab just happened to be right there as someone was getting out.
Asking people to take your photo when you’re traveling solo can be a bit awkward. For example, when I got out of the cab there was a beautiful shimmering sign of the Aladdin show right across the street.
I wanted someone to take a photo of me but people were not willing to stop and take my picture. I guess it may be because I approached them and said, “excuse me can you do me a favor.” Don’t say that, instead just get straight to the point, “excuse me do you mind taking a photo of me.” Now keep in mind people are always in a rush, even tourists, but there are some who are actually willing to take your photo. After I got a few photos taken I went across the street to get inside the theatre. The theater was beautiful and I loved the architecture, the feeling of awkwardness came back again but I pushed it away.
This was a false feeling and I didn’t want this to get in the way of having a good time. The show was fantastic, the acting, dancing, and singing were superb. The actor who played genie was memorable for me because he put so much effort into his performance. During intermission, I purchased some souvenirs and then it was time for the second half of the show. After the performance, I wondered what to do next, whether to go back to the hostel right away or go for a walk through Time Square. I decided to walk around for a bit and enjoy the nightlife in NYC. I felt safe because there were police officers everywhere, and I also was very aware of the surroundings. Just in case!
I suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed at how many people were there at 11 PM, it felt like it was daytime. I never actually experienced the crowds of people at Time Square when I was there last year. Never to this extent, at least! I walked around, took photos of the busy nightlife and I purchased some souvenirs for my friends. Then it was onto the toughest task of all, catching a cab. If you’ve been to NYC you know how tough it is to catch a cab and it took me 35 minutes to get one. I am not kidding! I even got the help from two police officers trying to stop a cab for me, but that didn’t work either. I thanked them for trying to help me and I proceeded walking to the side streets with a higher chance of catching a cab. After 35 minutes I finally managed to stop a cab, I was so relieved and happy. The taxi ride was nice and I had a good chat with him, many people I’ve run into at NYC to move to Canada. I can’t blame them for feeling this way, and we are pretty great. I finally arrived at my hostel, and I couldn’t wait to go to bed. I stayed up a bit to watch a show on Netflix and then it was time for dreamland.
May 19, 2018
The next day I woke up around 8 AM and I did what I typically do when I wake up on a weekend, stay in bed for a while. I can’t get up right away I need to give myself a few minutes to wake up. When I finally got up I proceeded to complete my typical morning routine, put on my makeup and pick an outfit for the day. Unfortunately, it was raining a lot that day, it was gloomy and cold. I was a bit disappointed because I needed a sunny day for my photography. However, that wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying the day.
After I got ready I went downstairs to the lobby and sat there for a while waiting for the rain to stop. It didn’t and it was raining hard, but I decided to go ahead and just brave the day. I walked all the way to Grand Central Station to hop on the subway, the subway is not difficult to navigate if you pay attention.
I actually got off by accident at the wrong station but luckily I ended up at Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.
Visiting the library was already on my list, so I thought this was a funny accident. I spend about an hour and a half in the library exploring and taking lots of photos. I was fascinated by the beautiful artwork and the architecture.
I bought some gifts from the gift shop and then I decided to make my way down to Macy’s. My mother requested to buy some stuff from there so it was time for that. It was very crowded that day so I couldn’t wait to leave the store. Truthfully, this trip wasn’t about the shopping it was all about sightseeing. Going back I got lost quite a bit, but with the help of some kind strangers, I managed to get back to Grand Central station.
Before I exited the station I stopped to listen to a jazz busker, he was very kind and was telling me a bit about his music. I can’t say no to discussing music, because music is life. I mean, you can tell from my domain name that I love music. After we chatted I left and went back to my hostel, I arrived around 3 PM. I was so tired I decided to rest for an hour and take a nap. At 4 PM it was time to be on the go again and luckily it stopped raining which was great. The day before I wanted to go and capture some day shots of Times Square so it was time to be on the move again. Yet again there were many people so I took some photos and then I was on a quest to find a pizza place. I walked a few blocks until I ran into the first pizza shop I went to in NYC last year. It is called Gotham Pizza, I really like the name (if you are a DC Comics fan then you’ll know why). The pizza was really good and highly recommend going to this place. After my meal, I wanted to go to the Empire State building and go up to the observation deck. Now that’s when I got really lost. I decided to walk to the Empire State Building but I ended up going in the wrong direction. At one point I gave up and decided to take a cab, when I arrived we were told the fog is very thick and we will not be able to see the city at all. So I decided to go back to the hostel, but before that, I went to the supermarket to purchase some food so I can save some money. I also bought some breakfast for the following day with the purpose of not trying to hunt down for a food place. I arrived at the hostel around 8 PM and then I binge watched 13 Reasons Why.
May 20, 2018
We have finally arrived at my favorite day of the entire trip, it was such a warm and sunny day. Actually, it was so hot, I was sweating profusely! Maybe you don’t need to know that but there we go I said it.
Seeing the sunshine brought a huge smile to face and I was super excited to get started with my day. I bought a city pass so there were a number of places I wanted to visit like Top of The Rock, Empire State Building (again), and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The CityPASS is super useful for tourists because it allows you to enter three or more popular tourist attractions. It costs around $100 plus tax, and you can enter the touristy attractions once. I didn’t want to take too many cabs that day so I did A LOT of walking. I walked from my hostel to the Top of The Rock and it was a lovely walk. I got the chance to see different neighborhoods and unique streets. I love walking because I get to see more of the city, but this can also be tiring so make sure you rest along the way. Top of The Rock is located at Rockefeller Centre, I used my pass to get in which was very quick and easy.
When you get inside you can take a fun photo with a green screen behind you. Since it was my first time there I decided to purchase the photo for $25. My favorite part was finally going up to the top and seeing the city from above, I’ve envisioned that for so long. The view was excellent and it was so sunny. When you travel solo, picture taking is quite a task, I took a few selfies but then I had to find someone who would be willing to take a few photos of me. All you have to do is ask politely someone for their time and then offer to take their photo. Big thanks to the kind strangers who took a few photos of me!!! Now let’s talk about the views! The views were spectacular, to see the Empire State Building like this and finally take a photo like the ones I always find on Google was awesome. After taking soo many photos there, I got some souvenirs and I was onto my next destination.
As I exited the Top of the Rock building I took my time to enjoy Rockefeller Centre, it looks so wonderful in the sunshine. NYC seems even more dynamic during the summer with beautiful outdoor patios. I was making my way towards the Empire State Building, but in the corner of my eye, I saw St. Patricks Cathedral across the street. I decided to go in and I stayed for the full service. The details inside were beautiful, the artwork, the glass stained windows were stunning.
After the service I walked down to the Empire State building, I was excited to finally go inside and take some beautiful photos. As I expected the views were awesome, there is something about NYC views from above that’s so amazing.
I wrapped up my stay there and I decided to go grab some food before I continued walked to the Iron Building District. I came across a pizza place called Little Italy, it was quite busy, even busier than the other pizza restaurant. It was nice to get some food when I am on the go so much I forget to eat properly.
Afterward, I walked down to the Iron Building District and I have to say that’s when I felt like NYC is truly remarkable. Those NYC streets are amazing, you will never feel bored in NYC. The overall vibe of NYC is infectious, you feel like a true New Yorker. When I arrived I took some pictures of the building, and then I hopped on the subway to go to Brooklyn Bridge. Yet again I got lost, the subway system can be a bit confusing at times. I went back and forth quite a bit before I finally figured out which subway line to take. It was kind of comedic actually, I started laughing at myself a bit. Once I arrived the tiredness suddenly hit me, I arrived there around 2 PM. For some odd reason, I thought there weren’t going to be many people, but it was packed. It was hot and there were lots of people. My goal was to take a nice photo of the bridge but so many people were in the way. Despite this I did take some nice shots, leave to the photographer to figure out how to take nice pictures despite the circumstances. I even got a few good shots of myself!! I’ve got to admit no matter how many times I go to visit Brooklyn Bridge, I can never get sick of it.
Then I decided to go and get on a boat to see the Statue of Liberty but sadly I missed the last one and they were closing. I was disappointed but instead of being on the go again I decided to sit down by the water and enjoy the view. I think that’s one of the things we forget to do, we forget to slow down and enjoy life.
After I was done relaxing, it was time to go and see the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. That part of the city was probably my favorite, it was less busy and more interesting to me. Seeing the 9/11 Memorial was emotional, I didn’t expect to feel so emotional. For those of you who down know this, I was four years old when I watched Home Alone 2. This movie made me fall in love with New York and seeing the twin towers, it was my goal to see them in person one day. I think that’s why I got emotional because I never got the chance to see the twin towers. However, the Freedom Tower was beautiful!
Then I walked into the 9/11 Museum, before entering I got the chance to chat with one of the workers. He was giving me tourism tips, and talking about the creation of the museum. He was very kind and it was chatting with him. Walking inside was chilling, there had items from the twin towers and an entire gallery of the victims. It was really sad, but the fact that they use this to become stronger and unite together is admirable. I bought some things from the gift shop because it helps to support the museum and keep it open for a long period of time.
Now it was time to head back, I had to make one final stop at Macy’s and the get food because I was starving. I bought myself a new purse, and then I went to Korean Town to get some delicious ramen. Downtown was so pretty with the sun setting down, I couldn’t resist taking some photos.
Then I thought of going back to Top of the Rock to take some night shots but that’s when I found out that I can’t use my CityPASS twice for the same location. So I hopped on a cab, went back to the hostel and organized my luggage. In the morning I took a cab to the airport, and I arrived in Toronto around 3 PM.
So in conclusion, do not be afraid to travel solo because for me it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I can’t wait to do this again and see more of NYC next time.
Thank you so much for reading and see you again this Friday 🙂