Happy New Year Friends :D
Hope you will have an awesome 2017.
In case you haven't noticed i been away for a few weeks traveling. Since this is supposed to be a travel blog, i think is time to talk about traveling.
Before digging in, this will be the first part of four. I want to focus on how it was planned, the gear and the photos.
All good adventures/stories have an unexpected start. This one started in May of 2016. I was in Paris working and after making hard but needed decisions i started talking with some friends about stuff. One of them is a friend from University, we know each other for at least 12 years and she also has a passion for traveling. After a few minutes, i asked what about going to New York on New Year's Eve?
In five minutes we knew we were going. The main reason, it was much less expensive than we were expecting. And to be honest is New York.
Fast forward to December and there we were.
This was my real first time in New York. I have been there before but only for a few hours and there was still a feeling of amazement experiencing everything again. The first impact is to realize how big things are and how Men were able to create such a city. There were times we felt we were in the movie. I think the words we used the most were "This is Gigantic". In a way, it is like in the movies, and we felt we were in a movie except for the parts it looked much more epic.
With that said there are things that are not so good. I was amazed how the train/subway tracks are so poorly taken cared of. Most of them are old and very degraded, the tracks filled with garbage. In a few places, it was raining inside. With that said, it was one of the things i was excited to experience. It was like visiting a city within a city. There was always something happening. Someone playing instruments, singing, dancing and performing. These are the people that, in my opinion, make the wait and the ride much more enjoyable. I don't want to sound that the subway doesn't work because it does and it is very efficient however it could be better. Should i mention how many times we took the wrong subway?
Going back to New Year eve, it was a "disaster". I was expecting a lot of people to go to Times Square. It was a million times worse then i was expecting. We were ready to get there early but we were not counting the extra security measures. They would start letting people in around 3 PM. We started going there around 1:30/2PM but all the streets were already closed. Every time we asked where we should go, the police would say "Go down another block. Maybe they will let you in." I remember starting close to the 45th Street and walked all the way to the 38th and after that go all the way around to the 7th Avenue. Once we got there we were being squeezed like sardines. There are too many people and we decided to try something else after almost three hours waiting. After some rest and drinking some needed beers we decided to go to Brooklyn to watch the fireworks by the bridge. At least we and a few thousand people were waiting for some kind of fireworks which didn't happen. We could only see it far away i believe it was on Ellis Island. Everyone was extremely disappointed. Still, we went for a few drinks and laugh at the all thing. It wouldn't be a proper trip if everything went according to the plan. The lesson learned about New York New Year's Eve? Next time we want to go to Times Square take a tent and stay there the night before to guarantee a spot or try something else like Central Park or Coney Island. We only knew about this places after we gave up on Times Square and still decide to go to Brooklyn. Lesson learned.
But New York is not only about the New Year's Eve. Sure we were there mostly for it but not only. Something i was surprised was the amount of diversity that exists in the city. The best example has to be China Town and Little Italy. How two completely different cultures can be found and separated by one road. Should i mention all the Mexicans, Indians on the streets stands? Personally, i love all this diversity. It makes the city much more colorful and i am experiencing different things all the time. For me New York was not and is not about the fancy streets, people, buildings but all the characters that i found on it. From Mexican women dressed up as Elmo on Times Square to the old men playing chess on Union Square. And to be completely true even the tourist give something to the city.
There are iconic places we had to go, Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building. We could not have started the year in a better way then to go to the Top Of the Rock to watch the sunset. It was one of the few days that we had good weather we made the most of it. I wish i had time to learn a bit more about the history of the building but i wanted to be sure i had the best spot for the photos i wanted to do. More on that latter.
For the obvious reason, we had to go to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Even being outside there is a feeling of helplessness. Having seen it on TV, knowing what was there and what happen if we didn't fell something we were not human. After Auschwitz, this was the place the made me more emotional. There were times that i was thinking to myself "How was this possible?". My way to respect this place was to not photograph inside the museum. I wanted to learn and see as much as i could about what happened there. This is a place everyone should go at least once in their lifetime.
After a few days, we were surprised how much we were not spending. Besides the drinks on New Year Eve we were managing our money very well. It was the first time i ever managed to stay on the budget i set myself to. Again, more on that later. There was only one time that i made the mistake to order something without asking first how much and the guy took advantage of me. Once again lesson learned. It was worth it because it was very good. There is so much to choose from and not so expensive. As i said as long as we asked the prices before we could choose either to eat inside or on the stands. We also learned that the prices would get more expensive the closer we would get to touristic areas like Times Square. The worst thing was the giant Pretzel. Horrible and expensive. Never Again.
There is so much to do and to see in New York that one week is not enough. I had a bought a city pass to get in in three attractions and i only used two because i couldn't decide what i wanted to see and i wanted to do something else. In the end, i did what i wanted to do. I missed a few things but overall i saw, ate and experienced what i wanted. As always i wish i could have learned more about the history of the city but i feel i experienced it on the streets with all the diversity. I hope i have the chance to go back to New York and continue to experience it all. Right now i feel that i have seen a lot and there is still a lot more to see.