Like any culture-seeking young adult, I had to visit New York City. It’s got soul, it’s got style, it’s got class, and sure, it’s badass.
All in all, it was everything and nothing that I expected. I believe that’s the charm of the city- everyone gets a little something different out of it, and somehow, little by little, it starts to beckon you to come back to it. I remember having the lowest moments, and being over-the-moon excited to come back to my own bed, and my own shower- but looking back on it now, I can only remember the energy of the city, and all the places that I have yet to see. Maybe it’s relationship goggles, maybe it’s Maybelline…all I know is that this city deserves your visit, and you deserve all the best it has to offer.
So with that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about my New York trip….
Starting off, I would like to share some of my wisdom with my fellow young, impressionable, and most importantly, broke fellow humans. Do not stay in Manhattan for your trip. Even with an airbnb shared between you and 3 other girlfriends. The so-called “apartment” will be tiny, will most likely not have its own private bathroom, and you will cry for your own clean, white tub within the first night. Oh, and you’ll be wasting precious money that could be spent on draft iced lattes from La Colombe.
One of the best parts of NYC was its impressive transportation system. As soon as we landed in LaGuardia, there were ATM-like stations right before you get out of the airport where you can purchase a metro card. For $32 USD, you can buy a 7-day unlimited pass. That gets you on all the subways PLUS any busses anytime of the day for the next week. Considering the hoops (and money) you have to jump through for the same kind of experience in, say, London, this is the best deal that you’ll find in the city. And surprisingly, New York is not that hard to get through. As we found out very quickly, you can get from Upper Manhattan to Queens in the short span of 20 minutes. And be able to cross a bridge. And watch said crossing from the comfort of your bus seat. So why shell out the extra $100/night for a fancy spot in Manhattan? Find a nice house that you can all be comfortable in (with bathrooms that are only shared between you and your group) outside the city, and you can still get into the city quickly, and get back late- even if it’s 2AM.
OK, now that that rant is done…let me tell you about how I spent my New York visit.
Day 1: Monday
Flew in, bought a Metro card- got on a bus and got into Manhattan. I must say, the city planning is astonishing, it’s almost impossible to get lost. The numbering system works flawlessly- if you know you’re supposed to be staying at 142nd and 3rd, you just find out which intersection you’re at and move in the direction that would get you closest to the number you need. It’s idiot-proof.
We stayed in Harlem, and of course, my boyfriend freaked out as soon as he realized he was close to Big L’s street, and I was excited it was only a 10 minute walk away from Central Park- win-win. Overall, I’d say it was a fine location to stay in- you could walk to places, and you’re technically uptown, so getting around the city on the subway was a breeze.
That night, we went to see a Mets game at Citi Field, and while I’m definitely more of a home-turf baseball watcher, I will admit that it was a blast once you have a beer…or two. It’s certainly an experience, and you can call yourself anti-mainstream for choosing Mets over the Yankees.
Day 2: Tuesday
What can I say, this city truly has someone for everyone. Visiting New York for the first time, of course we had to check out a famous pizza restaurant. So we set out that night to check out Lombardi’s in Little Italy, and to our surprise (and delight), it was at the same time that the Annual Feast of San Gennaro was taking place. What is the Annual Feast of San Gennaro, you ask? Something to do with religion…sounds like a saint was involved…and you get to shut down an entire block and set up food and drinks (alcoholic) booths all over, and just have a good time. It’s essentially a 2 week long block party. Oh, and yes- Lombardi’s is as amazing as advertised 🙂
Day 3: Wednesday
Now, this day I was looking forward to the most. If you are a true Louis C.K fan, then you will know what I’m talking about when I say Comedy Cellar. For the rest of you humourless souls, let me explain a bit.
Louis C.K, along with his standup comedy, also likes to write and direct. More recently, he’s had a series named “Louie”, where he plays himself as the lead character. In the first couple seasons, he cuts to scenes of himself performing in little comedy venues- one of them being the Comedy Cellar. This led me to research the place. Turns out it’s kind of a big deal- it’s famous for harbouring some prominent names in comedy- Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, etc. It’s pretty much the place that comedians go to when they’d like to try out new material, and need a feel for it. So think of it like you’re part of a focus group for a professional comedian’s standup.
So here’s the low-down on the place: We reserved our spot for a night of our choice online (for free). Once you get there, you realize it’s a pretty small spot. You all line up to get in, and then ushers will lead you to a seat that they choose (based on optimization of the tables/your group). Luckily, we were ushered to a seat up front. Then, they push your seats together just so- making sure that there is mathematically pre-ordained spacing in between you and the person next to you, as well as around you. You will have to order 2 drinks minimum (on top of the $14 ticket that you have to pay for at the door), but I’ve never heard of anyone complaining about being forced to drink. And then, once the show starts, there will be an MC to lead the show, and on our particular night, we’ve had 5 different comedians come up and do their bit. There were some faces I recognized (though I wouldn’t be able to tell you their names off the top of my head), and it was the best stand-up experience I’ve ever had. Felt authentic, raw, and overall- very New York. If you’re going to do one thing while visiting NYC, go to this place.
Day 4: Thursday
I believe this was an off-day, the one day that we didn’t have something particular planned. We spent this day visiting the Met (which is surprisingly, a cheap attraction that you can visit in New York), and doing the cliché Top of the Rock tour. Of course, you can go on top of the Empire State building instead (don’t believe there was that much of a difference in price), but I would recommend one thing: Go during the daytime. We tried to be posh and go during dusk, aka. sunset, but by the time we actually got up to the top…it was pretty much nighttime. So if you want to see how majestic Central Park looks in the middle of this concrete jungle city, choose daytime suffering.
Day 5: Friday
Essentially, the last day. Prior to the trip, I had found an event on Resident Advisor for a recording of BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix with the one and only Pete Tong. For those of you who do not know, this was the first time that an Essential Mix recording ran in New York, and Seth Troxler was the star DJ.
Now, this event was dirt cheap ($30/each), and held at a club called Output in Brooklyn. Pete Tong himself played a set, as well as came back to mix alongside Troxler later on in the night (or early morning). All in all, it’s a great club, so even if there aren’t any legendary events occurring there, I’d still recommend checking it out. They have a rooftop patio that’s comfortable, and you can see the New York City skyline while grabbing a gin and tonic on their rooftop bar. If anything, this is the one spot that would be instagram-worthy to show off your posh and fabulous lifestyle.
So there it is- a quick recap of my New York City trip. Some highlights include seeing the back of Cynthia Nixon’s head as she supposedly walked right past me and my boyfriend could not believe that I didn’t notice, La Colombe draft iced lattes (I can’t emphasize these enough), tuna melts from B&H Dairy, and specialty hot sauce shops in Williamsburg. There truly is something for everyone, and if you decide to explore outside of the Yelp reviews, you will love it.