Flying into NY at night (quick side note, while not my first plane trip, this was the first time I'd flown by myself.) As I was saying, flying into NY at night... it was breathtaking. The buildings, the lights, … I was able to make out Central Park, the Empire State Building, a ball park (Mets or Yankees). I couldn't believe that I was finally in New York.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get picked up from the airport, so I booked a shuttle. No way was I taking the subway in a new city...with bags...at night. That shuttle was the best thing I could've done. Not only did I get a mini-tour of the city at night, like Times Square and Lincoln Center, but I got to see the ritzy hotels that the other shuttle riders were staying at. I was the last drop off so the driver and I talked about gentrification in the city. I finally arrived at my friend's place, which is walking distance to the Hudson River and a convenient subway station.
I had decided to get an early start on my first day in NY by leaving with my friend on his way to work. On the agenda? A quick sightseeing tour of Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral with a stroll through Central Park, all on the way to the final destination – The Met. I bought my seven-day unlimited Metro pass - $33. Not a bad deal seeing that I'd be using it (almost) everyday. Riding with my friend eased nerves about riding the subway by myself. Taking the morning train was interesting; it was full, but was told that it could get worse. During the times I rode the train, I never felt unsafe and only once did I feel someone was rude by unnecessarily pushing.
I get off on W. 50th St. and make a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a pumpkin latte (tastier than Starbucks I might add.) As I go up the stairs, trusty earbuds inserted, camera in pocket, I begin my exploration of this historical city. I was in awe. Buildings that I had seen on TV, streets that I had read about, all here for me to see first hand. I was smiling so much on the inside that I had hoped that my silly grin wasn't showing on the outside. I walk east on 50th St. and I first see Radio City Music Hall. I keep walking toward Rockefeller Center – I couldn't believe I was in New York! I snapped a few pics as workers began setting up for the ice skating rink.
A few steps further and there it was, St. Patrick's Cathedral – it was gorgeous. Wish I would have had time to go inside, but I was on a tight schedule to make it to The Met when it opened.
So I head north, walking along 5th Ave. gawking at at all of the designer stores with price tags way out of my budget – but it was still nice to window shop. I got to the Plaza Hotel, right across from
Central Park, but again, no time to go inside. I was hoping to have a delicious Belgian waffle breakfast at the nearby Wafels & Dinges cart, but no, the cart wasn't open. (Although I had seen someone inside and did think about knocking on the cart).
On to Central Park. Figured I'd take the scenic route and boy, it did not disappoint. I walked by the Pond, Gapstow Bridge, The Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop, walked The Mall and Literary Walk (with statues of various authors), Bethesda Terrace, Bethesda Fountain, the Loeb Boathouse, model boat sailing pond, Alice in Wonderland statue, the Glade Arch … phew. And this wasn't even half of the park! After all this I made it to the Met.
Oh, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, better known as The Met. I knew this museum could take an entire day (or more) to see everything, so I decided on the current exhibit – Rodin – and a few of the galleries. This is a must-see on a visit to New York. (As of March 1, 2018, the "pay as you wish" admission will be replaced with a mandatory admission fee). After two hours, I still hadn't seen half of what the museum had to offer. I will be back. (Additional bonus – same day admission is free to the Met's other museums, the Met Breuer and the Cloisters).
So off to the Cloisters I went. But first, a quick Nathan's hot dog from a cart, and finally, a Belgium waffle with cookie butter for dessert. I walked west along Central Park and found the Columbus Circle station to take the A train to the museum. That train was like riding Indiana Jones at Disneyland. It was the jerkiest train ride.
I made it to Fort Tryon Park where the Cloisters is located. Google maps wasn't very helpful in getting me to the museum. So I decided to walk through the park and follow the trails heading west toward the Hudson River. I found my way to the the gorgeous medieval building. The museum was serene and the gardens gorgeous. It's a great place to rest and collect your thoughts.
I ended my long day with a walk down Broadway (my friend had suggested taking a scenic walk by the Hudson, but I couldn't find the route and I didn't want to get lost wandering aimlessly the in park.)
Day one in New York was long, but I had seen so much. I couldn't wait to explore more.
Elizabeth Pose is a first time solo traveler and a lifelong certifiable "foodie". This is her first blog post; however, she is a fellow professional writer and editor of local print, so she knows her stuff. Make sure to subscribe and keep updated on further New York adventures and local Los Angeles "foodie" posts.