Towards the end of last year I went to NYC with my mom and sister. We did a late celebration of my 30th birthday (I turned 30 in August) and an early celebration of my baby sis graduating with her Masters!
I had been to NYC once before but it was years (and years and years) ago and it was actually only a day trip. Needless to say I was so excited to get back there!
We stayed in Weehawken, NJ and took the ferry or bus/subway into NYC each day of the 3 days that we were there. The view out our hotel was aaaaaaaaaaaamzing. We stayed at the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel. It was super convenient because the ferry picked us up at the dock right outside the hotel!
We saw so many amazing things and it was great to be surrounded by so much energy! When I think back on it, though-- one of my favorite memories was actually a person. Cut to the first full day we spent in the city. We took the ferry in to the city and back to Jersey the night before and wanted to try the bus/subway route. We were all pretty confident with our tourist bus routes in hand, packed like sardines on a bus on a Friday afternoon. We were naively talking about what stops the bus would be making before we made it to Penn station. (For those that don't know-- there is no stop. Apparently this is a commonly known fact. Apparently we were sticking out like a sore thumb.) While my mom, sister and I went back and forth spewing incorrect information, (thankfully) a man decided to cut in. "There is no stop." Long pause as we just stare at him. "First time in the city?" I probably turned 50 shades of red and said yes. The man introduced himself (Rich) and proceeded to share tips for getting around the city and gave us the low down on the subway system. He mentioned that he was going back to work but was going the same way as us and if we could keep up (seriously, total New Yorker-- I loved it) we could tag along. Even though we should not have AT ALL, we shuffled quickly behind him through the thickest crowd of people in the busiest station I had ever been in. He helped us get our Metro Card and told us what train we should look for. After probably about 30 straight seconds of Thank you-Thank you-Thank you-Thank you's I shook his hand and he willingly threw himself back into the crowd of people (walking faster than I ever have--even when on the mission to grab the last slice of pizza, might I add).
We made it the rest of the weekend totally fine, but I know it had a lot to do with Rich's help. He explained that he had lived in the city for years and years but decided to settle down with his wife and young kids in Jersey. **Funny side note: the last day of our trip (old pros at the transit system at that point) we were waiting to catch the bus and look across the street and who do we see but Rich! We all laughed and waved and thanked him again before hopping on the bus. So funny how tiny the world is. Also heartwarming to know there are actually really nice people out there. Nicest, guy. Thanks Rich! You rock, Rich!
We made it to the World Trade Center memorial which was a really harrowing experience. The last time I was in NYC was right after 9/11 and the whole city had a quietness throughout it, something I didn't expect. This time, NYC was how I expected it to be--loud and busy. However, when we were walking up to the memorial, that old feeling was there. People were quieter, most not talking. I was in awe the whole time-- the amount of names on the stones, the size of the memorial itself, the community there to remember and mourn all these years later. It was another part of the trip that will always stick out to me.
We kept the bulk of our trip to sightseeing , walking around and taking it all in. We actually spent a huge chunk of one of the days in Central Park. When I go back I can easily spend a whole other day there, it truly is magical!
Overall, NYC was a lot of fun and I actually can't wait to go back and explore more! I know we barely dipped our toes into all that city has to offer!
Any suggestions of things I HAVE to do would be awesome. Obviously I need some other Rich's in my life to get through a vacation. (I kid, I kid--kinda.) ;) :)