“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you’re the one who will decide where to go.” – Dr. Seuss.
I’ve been here a month tomorrow. Yes, the fastest month of my life! And I have to say, I’ve never felt so settled in a place as quickly as I feel settled in New York. I think everyone belongs in New York, and it felt like home from the first week on – which is incredible because when I lived in Spain, I don’t think I felt truly settled until after Christmas!
All I feel like I’ve been doing is job-hunting and all everyone keeps telling me is how much I’ve gotten to do here in such a short space of time. And it’s true, I have gotten to do some exciting things in the midst of it all and I haven’t even really been trying – I’ve just been going with the flow and doing whatever my heart desires. So, I decided I’d share some of the random little things I’ve done here that might not cross your mind as quickly as maybe Times Square or The Statue of Liberty do when you think of NYC.
Last weekend we went to Governor’s Island – which until coming to New York – I had never even heard of. Governor’s Island is an abandoned island which used to be the Army military base and then later the Coast Guard Barracks, until 1996. In 1996, it was abandoned and left derelict, until recently when the people of New York decided to turn it into a public space. It’s stunning, there are old abandoned houses there which are quite sinister and intriguing. While we were there, there was an art fair on, which meant a lot of the houses were transformed into galleries and one was even a haunted house. The haunted house was terrifying! I’d recommend it to even the most cynical of people – I wasn’t expecting to be scared at all but wow was I wrong! There’s also a lovely park area where you can hang out in view of the Statue of Liberty. The boat goes from the Battery Maritime building right beside The Staten Island Ferry terminal and a return ticket is only $2. You can also rent bikes and cycle around the whole island too.
The New York City Ballet
You may have seen on my snapchat (IFtravels) that I had the best day of my life on Sunday. I got up early and hopped on the 1 train to 66th Street to go to the Lincoln Centre box office for opening time – and I managed to get my hands on the $30 under 30 promotional tickets that the New York City Ballet have on offer. If you’re in New York and you are under 30, I would highly recommend it. It was outstanding. I loved the ballet, obviously, as they are one of the best ballet companies in the world but the people watching at the Lincoln Centre is also off the charts. Everyone is dressed to the nines and sipping champagne. It’s a people-watching haven. I managed to get tickets in Orchestra – so I was sitting in a seat that cost $30 beside people that have season tickets and others who spent $250 on their tickets! I’ve never felt so lucky, it was like all of my dreams had come true. Now I’ve been to the ballet in London, Paris and New York – what a treat!
This is a must-do, if you have time in New York. Go to Port Authority and hop on a bus up state. If you’re a hiking fan and want a day break out of the city – you drive an hour and a half and you’re in rural America. The hike isn’t too difficult but it’s views are breathtaking and it’s such a wonderful escape. The return bus cost $27 and it’s definitely worth it. I felt like I was in Dirty Dancing the movie – away on vacation for the day. There’s a cabin-style hotel there that do lovely food too for after your hike. It’s a great way to see what up state is like, because it’s a different world from Manhattan!
A Piano Bar
I met up with a friend of mine, Dennis, from Staten Island recently and we went to a piano bar on 55th street – I didn’t think I ever cared to go to a piano bar but it felt so New York and it really was an experience in itself. There are hundreds of them around the city so just pick whichever one you fancy and it’s like being transported back in time for an evening!
Trinity Church Cemetery
As you’ll know from my snapchat again, my housemates held a yard sale at their friends house last weekend. A friend of theirs has a front yard (which is extremely unusual for Manhattan) but they brought some vintage clothes, some home ware and tidbits and sold them out the front for the day. It was so fun to go and hang out. But across the way from the house on W 153rd Street, there is a ginormous cemetery with ancient tombs and graves. My housemate and I went for a walk around it and it was fascinating to see. Most of the tombstones didn’t even have writing left on them and had sunken into the ground but it was cool and creepy all at the same time. Charles Dickens son was buried there along with some other well known historical figures.
So that’s it, if you happen to be in New York for longer than a quick holiday – as you can imagine, you’re sure to never get bored. I have so many more things that I’ve done and have yet to do, because this city never ceases to surprise and delight. But these are just a few things that I wanted to share right away – some of my personal highlights! I’ll be sharing many many more throughout the year too, I’m sure!
If you fancy it, I’ve gone daft on snapchat and I’m snap-happy, chatting away to the camera like a lunatic, follow along, my username is ‘IFtravels’. You can also get daily updates on my Instagram. And don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Twitter too.