Six of us international students decided to take a weekend trip to New York City. On Friday night, we met on the 12:17 AM bus that brought us from college to the Commons, and from there we trudged along in the -6 °C cold for about a mile towards the bus station. It was seriously cold out there and I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes after some time. Another thing that happens when I’m out in the cold for too long is my face gets stiff and the lips don’t move as much, so words come out slurred. Then I pop some gum in, to get my face muscles working again.
Our bus was scheduled to reach Port Authority bus terminal at 6:50 AM. I dozed off on the bus and by the time I woke, we were already in the city and pulling in to Port Authority. Tall buildings surrounded us for as far as our eyes could see. It was wonderful to be back in a city again! First stop, Starbucks, for some morning joe.
The wind was really strong and it didn’t prove to be a warmer respite from Ithaca, but it was New York City after all and I was going to soak it in no matter how cold it was. But we’ll be back in spring! That way, we can be out on the streets more.
Roads here have a grid system, so it’s easy finding your way around. Just keep walking block by block till you get to your destination. That said, the tall buildings stretch on for as far as your eye can see because the avenues are very long. It also helps to find out the direction of traffic on the avenues and streets as some of them are one-way only.
We covered the whole SoHo area, I think. We walked quite a bit, including Chinatown, where there are literally thousands of Chinese, maybe Japanese and Koreans too. Being Chinese, I fit in rather well and I didn’t feel different from the crowd. Lunch was at a comfy and intimate Italian bistro along Elizabeth St. The food was really good and easily one of the best lunches I’ve had in the US so far.
We were off to Times Square in the evening. N and I were just snapping photos the whole time because we were in such awe. The lights, the sights and the sounds were incredible. Yellow Manhattan taxis, subway grates like the one Marilyn Monroe stood over, flashy Broadway marquees of Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Rent, A Chorus Line, Chicago, just to name a few. These iconic images of Times Square were just amazing to take in. The evening got better when we managed to score half-priced tickets and first-row circle seats to Rent ten minutes before the show started.
The hotel we stayed at for the night was the Herald Square Hotel. We each paid a very reasonable $47 for the night’s stay. The hotel was at a great location on 31st St and within walking distance of Macy’s, Penn Station, Koreatown and Times Square. We could see the Empire State Building from our hotel room window.
New York was a blast. We’re already planning our next one. Now back to the snow and cold Ithaca.