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Travelogue: New York City

July 2010
Where We Stayed: With Family

I spent 10 days in New York in late July/early August. I traveled alone for the majority of my time on the East Coast. I took about 10,000 photos (or so it seemed). I walked and walked, and then walked some more. I covered just about every Manhattan neighborhood – Chinatown, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwhich Village, the Upper West Side, and everything in between. Here are some general observations about my time in NY:

  • Everything is expensive. I’m used to big city prices, having lived in Chicago. But New York is exceedingly expensive.
  • The fact that people say “I’m waiting on line” instead of “I’m waiting in line”. That takes some getting used to – as I immediately think of online equaling the Internet.
  • The Subway in NY is much cleaner and more efficient than the El – but my complaint is that very few cars have maps or signs telling you what the next stop is. You gotta pay attention!
  • Does anyone speak English in New York? Sometimes I think the answer is no.
  • The food tastes different. There must be truth to the notion that the water makes the bagel – well, it changes the taste of many other foods as well!
  • There are people everywhere, all the time, constantly, buzzing about. If you are the least bit claustrophobic or agoraphobic, this might not be the city for you.
  • Traveling alone was also interesting. I tell people that my trip was 90% pure awesome and 10% depressingly lonely. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for the most part, I enjoyed the time to myself. It’s funny how you don’t realize how much you depend on other people – if only for simple conversation and keeping company. I was reminded of this quote by Douglas Coupland: “Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony.” Truth.

I believe that every American should visit Ellis Island at some point. Ellis Island served as the gateway for millions of immigrants coming into the United States from 1892-1954. Chances are, some part of your family ties back to Ellis Island. And the Statue of Liberty is just cool. She’s a babe!

People-watching is one of my all-time favorite activities. I could sit and watch people for hours. I always wonder who everyone is — are they happy? What do they do for a living? Why are they walking so quickly? Is everything alright in their life? Why did that woman choose to wear such unflattering pants? Did he just get his heart broken? Why does that child look so angry? Who are those flowers for? What’s everybody’s secret? Everyone has a secret that could break your heart. I love wondering about people. Here’s a small collection of photos from New York that involve people.

Bridges. New York has a lot of them. The Brooklyn Bridge is probably my favorite – because of its history and because it’s just so beautiful. I also like the Williamsburg Bridge — because it’s got a PINK pedestrian walkway! Super cool. If you ever find yourself in New York, I’d highly recommend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’ll take you longer than you’d expect (I think it’s about 1 mile across), but it’s well worth it.

One of the downsides to traveling alone is that I didn’t get to eat out as much as I would have liked. Eating alone, at sit-down restaurants, can be a little depressing and can get expensive! But this didn’t stop me from devouring some of New York’s culinary treats – of course, with an obvious bias toward cupcakes and sweets :)

Here are some photos of New York’s more popular tourist destinations — Strawberry Fields, Times Square, Hotel Chelsea, the aesthetically-pleasing Apple store, and the classic diner featured in Seinfeld.