I’d probably get down on one knee and propose to it. The energy of the city hits you like a wrecking ball (wink), the moment you set foot on this concrete jungle (enter Alicia Keys). In my case, the moment I got out of the Amtrak, travelling a few hours from Philadelphia. I’m in love!
It’s dirty. But like the pinoy home made ice cream, it’s dirty good! There’s something about the vibe that jolts you, very “to your face” and unapologetic. From the NYC train station, I walked to Tryp hotel on 35th Street, which is beside the NYPD. I’m in awe, they look like celebrities!
Like a child, I was absorbent as a sponge, sucking in all that I could take, from the air, the sound, the sight of different cultures and colors in droves, emotions from every corner I look, from harried to happy, the chaos of it all. Usually I’d get stressed by these, but maybe because it was my first time in NYC, or maybe I’ve been prepared to expect this “feeling” from all the movies I’ve seen that are set in the Big Apple. It was everything I expected and more. I’m a fan!
I had three days to explore the city before hitting the train again to go to Connecticut. That definitely isn’t enough. So instead of doing just the “touristy” thing and attempt to super humanly go to all that’s iconic, I took a deep breath and just experience every single milli-second I was there. Every corner, every avenue, every art deco building, I try to make it all worth while.
Upon checking in with some friends, we decided to rest a bit while those who had energy, planned the itinerary. It didn’t take long before we decided to just take the plunge and start our NYC adventure, tired or not. First, we went to the mother of all Macy’s stores just a few blocks from the hotel. The building is a sight to behold! Even with reconstruction, it still had touches of classic Beaux Art & Art Deco. It feels very old world, like an old friend, it’s like you have memories built there already.
The Flat Iron district was up next. There we checked out all the specialty shops that couldn’t be found anywhere else. Based on history, there was an influx of Italian migrants way back the 1820s and they have quite an influence in the city. So we went to Little Italy to have dinner and even the waiters (I’m assuming they’re the family who owns the restaurant) are guess what? Italian! (duh!) Who can speak little english, what an authentic experience.
It’s entertainment in 360 degrees, literally and figuratively. A theater in the round, it looks like a classic circus set you see in old movies. The actors were simply brilliant, each one a triple threat with fantastic comedic timing, not to mention primal & sexy. This is the lust part of my trip, haha! One of the performers even went full frontal, OMG!!! You should catch it. Teaser here.
It would even be more tragic if you went to New York and didn’t see a Broadway play. So the next day, I took a deep breath and with the little money I had, got myself a ticket to watch Pippin at the Music Box on West 45th Street. I decided to walk so I’d have a chance to explore New York by myself, keeping in mind what I was told to not look people in the eye because you could get mugged. It was a long walk but truly worth it.
I was in tears once I settled in my seat. Never had I imagined that I’d be able to see Pippin live on Broadway. I know all the songs and kept myself from singing and gain an irate seat mate. Who doesn’t know “Corner of the sky?” The song explains exactly where I am in my life journey. The feeling is inexplicable.
Apart from watching plays and eating at hole in the wall restaurants, with my travel companions, we went to the Chelsea district where we toured an abandoned Train Station that was turned into a park called High Line. It’s so pretty I could imagine myself having a quaint house and live there.
The New York experience will not be complete without having at least a glint of the Empire State building, Central park, Brooklyn bridge, or some mundane activities like a hotdog breakfast in Time Square , riding their infamous yellow cab and taking the subway. So many places to see with so little time. To experience the subway at least, we took it going to Soho. The NY subway is just like what you see in movies, bedraggled and kinda old. But it serves it’s purpose anyway, so what the heck. Soho on the other hand, is like a village, with smaller side streets, very cosmopolitan yet “homey”.
There is definitely so much more to see in NYC. I have yet to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, maybe on my next visit (if ever there’d be one). Nevertheless, It was an enriching trip. Travelling really does make you grow by leaps and bounds and there is a bigger world out there only made smaller by technology. The thing is, you really have to experience it yourself and be there at the moment. Of course, nothing beats traveling with great friends.
And so it’s been a while since that trip to New York, and here I am in Manila, back to the daily grind. and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. I didn’t see the other side of NYC, the struggles of people making a living in New York (seeing all the “Humans of New York” posts, it’s not easy). Our struggles are the same, we are all the same.
Having said that, If New York City were human, I wouldn’t marry it. I’ll visit it again no doubt. Like an old friend. I still love Manila despite the despites. It is where family and real friends are. And, when everything else fails, they’re the one’s who will stick by you, and that’s all that matters. So, ’til the next trip New York! In the mean time, I’ll try to make it here in Manila, somehow I feel that if I do make it here, I’ll still make it anywhere.