*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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Can I ask you New Yorkers that were initially not New Yorkers, is that what love feels like?
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 😉
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?
Well, if you can’t yet, it’s about to get even more dazzling, don’t you worry about that 😉
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?!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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? 😉
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?
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 😛
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!
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!)
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 😉
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!
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 😛
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!)
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!)
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? 😉
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.
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 ( 😉 )!
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!)
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!!!
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.
We’re so lame 😉 You love it, we love it, everyone loves it!
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!)
And it of course, houses the NBC studios…
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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