Welcome to New York

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“And it said Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you…”

Travelling to one of the greatest cities in the world was so unbelievable and not knowing what to expect was even better. You never quite realize what you’re going into, how big the skyscrapers are, the amount of people you will see and the memories you will make along the way.

I’ve shared my New York experience with many people and I always get the same question, “What was your favourite part?” That question is so difficult to answer because everything my mom and I did there, was so amazing in their own way. Although, the one memory that always stands out to me is when I looked across the street and Times Square was right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it, we made it. The bold and bright lights, thousands of people walking around and the sounds going off around you.

I’m going to start from the very beginning of our journey. Our flight leaves from Regina to Toronto, the beginning of it all and we ended up being first class. What a way to start! We got to Toronto safe and sound, to what seemed like a long and boring layover. It was time to board the tiniest plane I’ve ever been on to The Big Apple! When we were near, I looked out the window and saw the huge buildings from above and I was completely filled with excitement!

We finally got to our hotel and we unlocked our door to find the best hotel room with a window the size of the wall and a perfect view… We knew we were going to have the best New York adventure. It was Saturday evening and what else would we do besides go to Times Square? Here we went,  20 steps away and across the street. I couldn’t quite process the fact that I was in the middle of a place I have always dreamt of going to. Beyond incredible.

The next day called for SOHO shopping! That meant taking the New York subway, something completely foreign to us small city people. I’ve been told that it’s very easy to take the wrong subway and end up somewhere different but I knew we could figure it out… And we did! (Side note: the underground subway area is a very hot, humid and sweaty area but thankfully the subways are air-conditioned.) We didn’t quite ‘shop till we drop’ because that would have been an extremely expensive day.

Our first day of our Hop On Hop Off tours wasn’t quite what we expected. More like we ended up walking the entire width of Manhattan… It’s actually not as bad as you may think it is! We weren’t sure how the tour went so we got off by Port 11 so we could catch a ferry. Little did we know that we had to wait an hour and a half, with nothing but Wall Street and large business buildings surrounding us. We eventually caught the Ferry and saw Ellis Island as well as The Statue of Liberty! My mom nor I never quite expected her to be as big as she was. We got off at Port 48, the other side of Manhattan and didn’t know what to do so we walked and eventually found 42nd Street. Perfect! That’s our street and since New York is a grid, we just had to walk straight. We took a stop at Madame Tussaud’s on the way to our hotel. Madame Tussaud’s was actually really cool, except for the fact that the wax figures were very young looking and not quite convincing anymore. Although, I did fangirl when I saw the wonderful Ed Sheeran! We still had all day to do anything we wanted so we ended up walking to Rockefeller Centre to go to the Top of The Rock. My my, what a view! I’m sorry Calgary, but your tower can’t even compare to what I was seeing up there. 70 Stories above the world. That same day, we eventually walked to Grand Central Station because why not. It’s the beginning scene of Gossip Girl (no shame…), Friends with Benefits and of course Madagascar, let alone a ton of other movies. What was really cool was that knowing over a million people pass through the Grand Central Terminal every day. Every single day. So many people… Not to mention the beautiful architecture. Oh, so elegant and pretty.

Our second day for Hop On Hop Off was a little less confusing after somewhat knowing how it works. We eventually finished the whole tour after stopping at The Empire State building and going into the largest Macy’s in the world. That one isn’t a joke, it was huge. A little interesting fact for any of you have watched Titanic… The elder couple who cuddled in bed whilst the ship was sinking were the founders of Macy’s. Anyways, The Empire State building was another incredible sight. Although, it was similar to Top of The Rock only a few floors higher. We were then 86 stories above the world.

Our last full day in New York City was another fabulous day. We walked to MoMA and took a casual stroll around Central Park, which we ended up needing a map to manoeuvre around so we didn’t get lost. MoMA was really cool, I love going to Art Galleries and this one just topped everything off. Seeing “A Starry Night” by post impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh was really exciting. It is one the most recognized paintings in the world and there it was, on the wall before me. We then took a somewhat difficult but very lovely walk around Central Park. Let me tell you that the park was absolutely gorgeous, probably because it’s man-made but it almost seemed too good to be true. I wouldn’t be complaining if I lived there though…

After my New York experience, I would definitely have to recommend going there at least once in your life. It almost seems like a different world, nothing that I’m used to even if I did grow up in the city. It was such an incredible adventure and I’m so blessed that I got to share it with my mother and create the wonderful memories we now have!

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