My Visit to the Concrete Jungle Part I

*Image taken by WC* – Don’t our faces say it all? From left to right, there’s me, AC, NS (taking the photo), WC and a very happy RC!!!

********************

I have been a bit more absent than I would like and considering I still have a load of posts to still write about my month-long travels before I even begin on my time in Boston, I am ridiculously behind schedule. But I won’t apologise because honestly guys, for the first time, it feels like I am living life as opposed to coasting through it.

I don’t want to get too ‘personal diary stuff like’ with you, but you know when you are living the way you are expected to? You are expected to go to high school, then go to university doing a degree that is expected to eventually get you a job and then once you are stable, you are expected to have morphed into a fully fledged, tax paying adult who has memories of parties and friends but really just a normal life?

Photo by WC

Photo by WC

Well, exchange has been my detour out of that routinely student to adult life transformation, and it has changed me (for the better I’d like to think!) – It’s incredible, the zest for life I’ve developed, for travel, for the desire to get out of the house and keep exploring the world before it inevitably comes crashing down!

Yes, I do want to be this close to the Empire State Building! Always! Photo by WC

Yes, I do want to be this close to the Empire State Building! Always!
Photo by WC

And I don’t want to revert back to my boring old student ways self. I want to work while I study, I want to come home exhausted from long days but with the satisfaction I did something each day (as opposed to waiting for lots of lazy days!) and I want to go around the world – I feel so confident in doing that now, and so much less cautious! I want to literally grab a bull by the horns, I have never been on such a life high before! Aladdin’s carpet literally could not reach the heights of ecstasy I have just in the past 2 and 1/2 months I have been away from home!

11254082_10205757609394345_7497979529319325656_n

Photo by WC

Kids, you don’t need alcohol (take it from an ‘american minor’) or drugs, you need life experiences. Trust.

Did I just sound like an Archie comic or what? 😉

But yes, my greatest fear right now is that I will revert back to my old ways when I get back home – can you guys promise me you won’t let me do that?

And if you didn’t read any of my personal stuff above, that’s cool too, because after mentioning the concrete jungle, I completely know what you are actually waiting for 😉


I am currently on a long weekend trip to the beautiful city of Philadelphia (home to my Fresh Prince mate!) and I have to transfer buses at New York. Since I haven’t even STARTED on Boston, you can expect to hear about Phillie probably by Easter ( 😛 ), and as we pass long streams of golden-red foliage against a bright blue, sunny sky (so classic of a New England Autumn), I feel inspired to finally share with you my trip to NYC.

thumb_IMG_1539_1024

Vivacious, lively, in-your-face-but-you-love-me New York City.

I could never live there. But how I wish I could. It takes a special kind of person to meld yourself into the eclectic millions of people who call themselves ‘New Yorkers’ and never sleep…


If you will last recall, I was in Niagara Falls in a 4am Amtrak, getting ready to depart with AC and meet my other fabulous Psychology buddies in the city of dreams and heartache. What turned out to be an 11-12 hour journey due to delays instead of a 9 hour journey did not squash our enthusiasm, and as soon as we finally started to see the buildings, you could actually feel my heart flutter.

America's Baby!

America’s Baby!

When we got off at the dive of a subway that is Penn Station, you could feel my heart start to soar (I mean, I was in an actual NY subway, magical things happen in a NY subway, like Jimmy Fallon playing in a hobo band in ‘disguise’ with U2!!!) – as soon as we stepped out onto the street, exhausted and basically battered, and ordered the bright yellow cab that oh-so-cultural New York is known for, my heart began to sing.

11855839_10205757624314718_7602976618715882257_n

Photo by WC

Can I ask you New Yorkers that were initially not New Yorkers, is that what love feels like?

11831791_10205757642075162_863937440789834571_n

Alicia Keys was just SO on point, this city is so inspiring, lights and all, it does make you feel like your dreams are about to come true. I was like a dog going to the park, desperately wanting to stick my head out the cab window as we drove down ninth avenue (fifth avenue, seventh avenue, OMG that awful but iconic naming system!!!). I wanted to soak it all in, while the taxi driver muttered unintelligibly at my over-enthusiasm. Branding tourist on my forehead wouldn’t have screamed it out as loudly as my actions were 😉

11887940_10205757649995360_7034807839335394559_n

And when we passed Tiffany & Co., I was transported back just for a second and Audrey Hep-, or rather, Holly Golightly, was smirking at me in her sweet way, as if she knew all my secrets!

I told you, New York is the HUB of culture and magic and amazing things happened at the most unexpected times 😀 Can you feel the magic as I type? Can you see the sparkles coming out of my keyboard as I try to convey my excitement?

thumb_IMG_1698_1024

Well, if you can’t yet, it’s about to get even more dazzling, don’t you worry about that 😉

The charm of NYC also comes of course from con artist dress up people who demand money after the photo :P - Photo by WC

The charm of NYC also comes of course from con artist dress up people who demand money after the photo 😛 – Photo by WC

Now, I can’t tell you about this trip in chronological order, no matter how much I wish I could. If you arm a bunch of college friends with New York Passes, comfortable shoes and cash to splash (we saved up, mind you!), then you just know that they are going to be all over the city, all the time. We were everywhere and nowhere, seeking one thing, and finding another – is that not the very essence of culturally blossoming New York?!

11836734_10205757648555324_1689465330371380792_n

Photo by WC

And a pox on me, I didn’t start recording what I did everyday (because it has been something every. single. day. for 2 1/2 months!) until I started at Boston College, so the only record I will have of my trip is what I type here (make it count Uru, make it count!)

Now, you have seen interspersed photos of Times Square already, and believe me, you will certainly be seeing more (courtesy of my friends’ and their amazing camera skills most of the time 😀 ) – I won’t insult it by trying to write about it because Times Square vibe can’t be explained in words.

thumb_IMG_1700_1024

If anything even comes close to it, you know Clockwork Orange? The montage of clips Alex is forcibly watching? It’s like being voluntarily surrounded by an advertising version of said clips, and no matter where you look, you can’t stop watching, your brain can’t stop taking it all in, till it feels like it is ready to burst.

Yes... there is an actual M&M store - a GIGANTIC store in the middle of the city!

Yes… there is an actual M&M store – a GIGANTIC store in the middle of the city!

My kind of rainbow...

My kind of rainbow… Taste the rainbow, skittles pls.

And you love every. single. second.

Before I begin on where we visited, I’d like to share with you my first real meal in New York. Not this random sandwich with mozzarella pieces that looked like the fleshy fat people usually cut off the bacon… this was just a get-me-through-the-evening-of-arrival sandwich!

Can't even remember where it was from *oops*

Can’t even remember where it was from *oops*

AC got this burger - kudos to her, it looked better than mine :P

AC got this burger – kudos to her, it looked better than mine 😛

We had all rented an airbnb in Brooklyn (I know, could we be any more badass!? – Two ‘Friends’ references there for my fellow die-hard fans!), a mere 10 minute (if that) walk from Flushington subway station (or something like that 😛 ) and when we all hugged it out and met up as a group (with NS on her way), we decided to celebrate.

WC knows what's up.

WC knows what’s up.

Not by imitating the ridiculous New York accent (sorry, but it is SO funny 😛 ) asking for ‘kahfee’, and not by leaving the apartment at all!

No, actually, Tony’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, got a rather hefty online order courtesy of some starving college students who lugged up their exchange-weight suitcases along a narrow, long staircase. More than once.

thumb_IMG_1631_1024

Extra large cheese, extra large pepperoni, mozzarella sticks, chicken/buffalo wings (can’t quite remember), drinks and of course a salad.

Because we didn’t want to appear fat, you know? 😉

It's all about moderation.. said nobody ever!

It’s all about moderation.. said nobody ever!

Of course, we aren’t cultural noobs. We know that one slice of authentic New York pizza is the size of our face (as WC has demonstrated so wonderfully!). But did we stop ourselves from over ordering? No. Did we stop ourselves from overeating? Hell no. Did we have any regrets about making this our first official New York meal?

thumb_IMG_1639_1024

thumb_IMG_1640_1024
thumb_IMG_1637_1024

WORK iT!

WORK iT!

God no. Sorry for the rising blasphemy with each ‘no’ but I need to emphasise it. We immediately felt like New York had given us a hug and started to accept us into its embrace, all because we had cheese and tomato sauce around our faces, and had to fold a slice of pizza to eat it 😛

thumb_IMG_1632_1024

We tried but failed miserably to finish all this food. Over the 5 days we were in New York. Yeah, I know. #Muricaservings #NYCservings #muffintopturnsintopizzatop


Since I am already on the topic of food, before I move on to something a little more culturally awesome, I just want to put it out there that I went to THE Bouchon Bakery. Uru Bouchon Bakery. Mrs Uru Bouchon Bakery. Dr Uru Bouchon Bakery. Chef Uru Bouchon Bak- oh, sorry, I got lost in the names I am doodling on my notebook as I dream of marrying this bakery!

thumb_IMG_1589_1024

Despite being a foodie (self-professed and obsessed), I do not know why this bakery is as famous as it is (besides the fact that its desserts are to die for!) – but I was told by a copious amount of people to go, so go I did (with AC I believe!)

thumb_IMG_1583_1024

thumb_IMG_1584_1024

You know it is true friendship when they will wait for you to take a photo of their food, then stop them halfway into eating it to take another photo ❤

We got one chocolate and one blueberry macaron, and I got this little fudgy brownie thing, whose name is (dammit!) escaping me as I type! Well, at least you still get the food porn 😉

Yassssssss

Yassssssss

Mouth watering. Utterly, entirely, mouthwatering. If only the lighting was a little better, I would show you the magic of all the shelves lined with cakes, patisseries, croissants, cookies, macarons and more!

thumb_IMG_1579_1024


Now I need you to bear with me and keep up – and I need you to know (albeit, this warning might be coming a little late) that all my posts for New York will be this long, if not longer. I can’t help it if we did everything, truly I cannot 😛

11887860_10205757639595100_7295042194714555596_n

Photo by WC

thumb_IMG_1573_1024

Well, almost everything, I am actually planning another weekend to come back (after which, I can show you EVEN MORE of this magnificent city 😀 But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!)

11836861_10205757639675102_5050587905711067022_n

Photo by WC

So, I keep mentioning culture in this post. Culture this, pop that, TV this, movie that, filming this, hub-of-life that, dream-making city. Well it really is a dream making city because you know why? You really want to know why? Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, Rockefeller Centre (Center actually!)

thumb_IMG_1571_1024

The birthplace of some of the greatest night life shows ever (Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show  starring my comedic bae, Jimmy Fallon!), the home of recordings and studio performances that have GONE DOWN IN HISTORY! I just wish I had had time to take the entire tour of this centre! Maybe next time? 😉

11846539_10205757633194940_7932839731901178756_n

Photo by WC

Now I don’t want to shock you too much, so let’s start with the simple stuff. We went to the Top of the Rock.

11855697_10205757629874857_3620986845627046108_n

Photo by WC

On an insider’s source, we were told that the queues were less than the grand Empire State Building (not like a Tom Hanks or Danny Castellano was waiting for me at the top anyway!) while the grand spanking view was exactly the same (just including said Grand Empire State Building!) – Yes, I have a slight Empire State of Mind ( 😉 )!

11880565_10205757629394845_4317886531246400776_n

Photo by WC

The wind was whipping our hair back and forth, and our eyes, once drooping from sleep, were fresh and awake again (there was definitely something in the air that night!)

11826060_10205757628394820_6703642211871679157_n

Photo by WC

Also, despite the fact that there was a massive line, even with our fast passes, we eventually made it to a little photoshoot that goes on for every visitor. For you know this building? For you know the iconic photo of construction workers eating lunch on a giant construction beam? Well, THAT PHOTO WAS TAKEN DURING CONSTRUCTION OF THE ROCK!!!

Lunch atop a skyscraper - Wikipedia

Lunch atop a skyscraper – Wikipedia

They were the FIRST to be at the Top of the Rock!!!

And we wanted to follow suit but with our lack of construction expertise, we were pretty sure we would have fallen so we decided to pose like that hehe.

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 10.16.56 am

Photo by RC

We’re so lame 😉 You love it, we love it, everyone loves it!

thumb_IMG_1568_1024

So while that was our fabulous experience on top of the Rock, how about inside of it? After all, the Godiva chocolate shop isn’t the only beauty it hides. It is also home to NBC… which is home to the aforementioned culturally iconic shows since the beginning of TV time!

It also houses the best NBC store in the world, with items ranging from Friends to the Office (when I go back, I am buying out that store!)

My fangirl is screaming!

My fangirl is screaming!

And it of course, houses the NBC studios…

Photo by WC

Photo by WC

And AC and WC actually managed to get us tickets to one of these studio shows… To be exact, WE WERE IN THE LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE FOR LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS! Ok, I’m going to be straight, he is not my favourite, but Jimmy Fallon, you are impossible to see live. And to be honest, we were just going for the experience of you know, being in a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE.

RC knows how to imitate!

RC knows how to imitate!

WE WERE THE CANNED LAUGHTER YOU HEAR!!!!

How did it go down? Well, basically, they got the free tickets by being online at a ridiculously early/late time in Australia, then at 4:30 sharp, we were outside the NBC observation deck entrance, and on being let in, we refused to budge to ensure we all got in (it’s first come, first serve, and they always overbook to ensure a full studio audience!)

Photo by WC

Photo by WC

We got in, got our security done by some very charming suited security men and were led to The Peacock Room (where we waited before being let in to the studio!) – my tattoo and I felt very much at home thanks! We also weren’t allowed any photos from this point on, sorry!!

A guide-come-comedian then led us to our seats in the studio audience, and while we were in the back, it didn’t matter! Floodlights above us, a band to the right, Seth’s actual desk at the front and cameras rolling front, right and centre, while a pre-show comedian entertained us (he was actually good as well!!!) And when the show started, we had Winona Ryder and the dad from ‘Trainwreck’ as the guest stars, and while it wasn’t all that extraordinary, I was shouting and clapping as loud as I possibly could, just to be a part of the audience itself.

11870875_10205757642795180_6730767261654653170_n

I have never done anything like it, and it. was. friggin. awesome! NS and AC even got on TV (unfortunately, we were a wee bit in the back)!!!! Let’s play ‘spot my friends’ 😛


So yes, over 2500 words later, this is a very small taste of what my friends and I did in New York.

Can you even take on Part II? Can my fingers even take on Part II? Stay tuned, because I think you might want to hear more… there is a lot more to come actually… 😉

Au revoir mes amis!

Blog Sig

|| Follow my foodie adventures ||

Instagram

Facebook

Advertisements

15 Comments

  1. SO fun to hear your take on NYC! I remember when I first came here after high school in the 80s with my best friend by ourselves. It was a lot different then (much more dangerous), and I was sooo entranced and smitten and overwhelmed by the experience. After that I always dreamed of living here, and now I do! So … ya never know…! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing your amazing and wonderfully fun adventures with us sweets. Totes jelly you get to shove giant slabs of pizza in your face. I reckon American pizza is the best in the world, even better than Italy. #bigcall

    So looking forward to the next chapter. 🙂

  3. *sigh* ahhh NY. Nice to see you again. Lol I’m so glad you had such a great time!!!! I fell so in love with NY the first time I visited, and the first few years of living there I felt the same way. After awhile it becomes kind of meh but now that I’ve moved to Ohio, I can’t wait to visit again 🙂

  4. Sounds like you’re having a great time! We were just in Boston (did an airbnb in the North End) and had a wonderful time. NYC is so great — used to work there, don’t want to live there, but love visiting. Philly is a great place too. You’re having a blast! So glad to hear you’re having a good time. 🙂

  5. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, your opening thoughts were extraordinary, and I’m confident that you won’t EVER revert back to your “student ways” after experiencing this”grown up” adventure — and re-capping it so well for the rest of us grown ups (ahem, err…) with a similar zest for life. ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! No pressure to produce Part II (or III)… just keep experiencing as you go and write when ya feel like it. (And know that your audience enjoys every word & photo!) xoxo

Sweet Comments Welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s