My first trip to NYC was everything I hoped it would be, except for meeting a celebrity.
I traveled to Laguardia via Philadelphia and could not even contain my smile when I walked thru the gate into the airport. I quickly located ground transportation and opted to skip the cab and grab a bus and subway. This would give me time to sit back and take in the sights and sounds. Right off the bat my aggressive bus driver made my day by laying on the horn and making other drivers aware that he wasn't fooling around.
When I got off the subway and climbed the stairs I was in Manhattan. I immediately pulled out my camera and started shooting parking garages and fire escapes. Then I told myself I had better walk the three or four blocks and reach my accommodation and ditch my suitcase. I found the apartment and made my way to the 40th floor to meet Harry face-to-face. He was just as friendly and welcoming as my friend Peter assured me that he would be. And I immediately had a best friend in his dog Bailey.
That afternoon he gave me a quick tour of a few points of interest, including Times Square, the Library, Grand Central Station, Eataly, the Flatiron Building and we stopped in for a real NY pizza known all over the world. I was in awe and tried to memorize everything I was experiencing. We then made our way to a sports bar for a drink, which soon turned into... well I could make up a number but what's the point in that. I had a strong buzz and felt like a local. We then went back to Harry's place to change, grab another very strong drink (who knew Texans could out drink a Maritimer???) and headed out to meet up with some friends and performed an impromptu pub crawl. I think it was around 3 or 4 am when we stopped at a convenience store to buy triscuits to eat before passing out.
Friday morning I was up early with the dog and I just hung out quietly, watching out the window at the amazing views... the Statue of Liberty in the distance, the Empire State Building, the Hudson River... until finally I couldn't waste another minute. I knocked on my host's bedroom door and asked where his linen closet was so I could grab a face cloth and towel. That day, while he ran errands and worked a bit, I headed to Times Square to grab on of the double-decker tour buses. I did downtown and saw all the must-sees for a first-time traveller. I mentally made notes of places I hoped to get back to, but unfortunately didn't this time. When the tour was done, I found some lunch and sat smack-dab in the middle of Times Square and watched the world revolve around me. After lunch I walked back to Central Park and strolled thru a small fraction of the park. After the park I went into the mall, on the ground level of the Time-Warner towers and hung out charging my iPhone and keeping my eye out for two of the most popular residents of the complex, Beyonce and Jay-Z. Sadly I didn't see one person who could pass for either of them. Ha! I then made a few text messages and secured plans with Harry. I returned to homebase, had a shower and then we went out for dinner and drinks. A friend of Harry's for New Orleans joined us and then we ended up in the Meat Packing district having cocktails and living the life. That night ended around 2am.
I woke up early Saturday and headed back to Times Square to buy tourist items to bring home to the family and then met up with Harry at Vinyl for brunch. Now apparently brunch is a new concept in Manattan... who knew Nova Scotia was so far ahead socially? Bahaha. After brunch I grabbed a rental car and drove north to Mansfield Massachusetts to see the Maroon 5 concert. The concert was amazing. I literally had chills multiple times and I was able to make a fan in the nose-bleed section's day when I gave him my spare ticket to row 27, versus his "field" seating. Post-concert I drove back to Connecticut where I crashed in a hotel prior to heading to the airport and home.
It ended up only being the better part of two days in NYC, and I had questioned whether it was even worth going for that amount of time but I have no regrets. I fell in love with the city, as I'm sure most people do, and now I've done some things I won't have to do the next time I go back. And my gracious host as asked me to come back anytime. And hey with free accommodations a mere 6 blocks from Times Square how can I pass up that offer.
It was a great way to start my 34th year... and I believe it's indicative of the year I am going to have.