The decision to spend a week in New York began with a text thread that went like this:
A: Sup kid
R: Don’t buy a car
R: Where is your bucket list to travel?
A: Like…so many places
R: I wanna travel!
R: Like why don’t we go somewhere
A: Yay! Let’s travel together!!
Two months later we were on a redeye to JFK. We paid for the whole trip ourselves, made all the necessary, and unnecessary, arrangements (forgoing drinks for two weeks so I could afford a real salon pre-trip haircut seems like a necessary arrangement) for what would be my first trip out of the state without my parents. Rachel had more travel experience than I did but it was a huge independent step for the both of us.
We stayed the first few days with my cousin in his trendy Brooklyn apartment, Bushwick. Despite the drag of traveling 5 hours on an overnight flight, we were glad to arrive so early because by the time we had eaten, napped, and freshened up in was barely noon and we spent the rest of our day roaming the Museum of Modern Art, our first museum of five. In the days that followed we: rode the subway, always in fear of accidentally ending up in New Jersey; visited the Statue of Liberty up close, though the Staten Island ferry view is still free and just as stunning; roamed Ellis Island which bears a haunting and reverent atmosphere of the millions of people who passed through, were rejected, and in some cases never left; visited the legendary Mood Fabrics where we found inspiration in the gorgeous materials, fabrics, and fashion students roaming the aisles; and saw some freaky shit at the Museum of Sex where we found the most hilarious souvenirs, though figured Mom and Dad probably didn’t want a condom with Darth Vader saying, “ I WILL NOT BE YOUR FATHER”.
There were a lot of mishaps and mistakes and a couple hangry meltdowns—all on my part, Rachel was an angel—which all ended up enriching our whole experience. Like losing my Metro card twice or having to take an Uber home because we took the wrong train three times in a row. One detour led us to Times Square. There was no plan in our itinerary to visit the cliché tourist spot but when Rachel realized we were a quick train ride it seemed like a cool pit stop that was actually like walking into another world altogether. It was drizzling, but in Times Square there was no rain, in fact, it was noticeably warmer, and at maybe 7:00pm it was as bright as day. The overwhelming crowds didn’t even dampen the experience of such a high voltage environment.
The last half of our trip was spent in a funky airbnb in Astoria, the experience of which was so mixed that there is no room here to explain except that what is advertised is not always what you will get.
We spent 10 hours at the MET.
Our last day was the busiest and maybe the best but I could never really choose. Starting the day at the Guggenheim, we took the most fabulous pictures and mostly ignored the actually art (we didn’t understand the installations but the lighting was super flattering), had a champagne brunch at Tavern on the Green, roamed Central Park buzzed on said champagne, said goodbye to the MET Gossip Girl style, watched the sun set from the Empire State Building, had dinner in Korea Town, and then rode the Uber from Hell all the way to Newark at 4:00am to catch yet another redeye home in time for Easter. Oh, and Rachel dislocated her knee the night before we even left home. I could not, and probably never would have, made the trip without such a reliable and easy-going friend as her. I hope we have more stories to share in the future, as we are already planning more harebrained and wonderful trips.