14.10.2010 - 17.10.2010 50 °F
This past weekend I went to NYC, the "Big Apple", on a trip organized by McGill's international student society. In terms of my friends from here, it was me, Karla, Carlotta, Sofia, Anders, and Aris.
SO. NYC was incredible! It wasn't exactly what I expected to be honest.. it's been so romanticized in movies/tv shows that I kind of expected something a little more perfect/glamorous..which was kind of silly because NYC is really just a HUGE city. That being said, it's really lively, interesting, and unique city and there is SO much to see..but, in my opinion, the only part that was really "perfect"-ish was Times Square, which was probably my favorite place!
I'll just go through the weekend in order:
We left Montreal last Thursday night at 1am on a bus with about 50 other international students from McGill (we were supposed to leave at midnight, but ah well). We got to the border around 1:45am and were there for 2 HOURS! That part wasn't so great...and we didn't really fall asleep til 4am when we were on the road again. It was pretty rough sleeping on the bus, but I did manage to get a few hours of restless sleep.. Anyway, we got to the big apple at about 10am, dropped our bags off at our hostel (Hostelling International - SUPER nice hostel..practically a hotel!), then we went out on the town!
First, Karla, Sofia, Carlotta and I went to get breakfast/lunch at the diner that was in the TV show Seinfeld..it wasn't anything special really, just a diner, but it's kinda cool to be able to say that we were there! Then we took the subway over to Greenwich Village and Soho, which we walked around pretty much all afternoon looking at shops and kind of taking in the city. Greenwich Village and Soho weren't really the stereotypical NYC that you imagine when you think of the city..it's a lot of residences and restaurants...not really any skyscrapers.
Then we headed back to our hostel around 5pm to meet up with the rest of the group. From there the whole group, ~50 people, went to see the Empire State Building...we went to the observation deck on the 86th floor and were able to see the most AMAZING views of NYC..literally amazing..there are really no words to describe how ENORMOUS the city is. It just goes on and on (and on)!! Everybody kind of stayed at the top for about 30-45 mins taking in the view...a couple of us had a nice chat with one of the security guards about New Years Eve in NYC. He was a really friendly old guy who was telling us how he avoids going out anywhere in the city during New Years because it's so crazy!
After the empire state building, Karla, Carlotta, Sofia, Anders, Aris and I went off to see Times Square - AMAZING. Totally lit up..it was like daytime at 10pm!! I absolutely loved this part! We went to get a stereotypical "American" dinner at TGIF (this was a big deal for everyone but me seeing as they're from all over - Denmark, Mexico, and France to be exact! ..but i went with it!) Did i mention that this TGIF looked out right over Times Square?! Incroyable!
After a very delicious, and wayyy overpriced meal, we went back to our hostel and got ready to head out to the meatpacking district - a hoppin place to go out apparently..around midnight we got on the subway near our hostel and took it toward the Meatpacking District. We got off and basically just started wandering the streets...there were people everywhere!...it was what I imagine 1st Ave. in Minneapolis would look like on New Years Eve, but bigger, and more crowded! But for as great as New York's nightlife is, it's both ridiculously expensive and insanely exclusive...You literally cannot get into any of the best places unless you know someone (or you're a celebrity!)..That being said, even the less exclusive places (where we ended up haha) had a dress code beyond anything anywhere else I've ever been. Overall, it was a great time though.
Saturday..we got up at 10am (2 hours later than we meant to..whoops!) We headed out to see the Statue of Liberty (from afar) and the Brooklyn Bridge in the a.m. Then around 2:30-3pm we had to be back toward Times Square to buy discount tickets for Broadway that night...on our way back we took the subway to Grand Central Station, which was totally gorgeous, and then we went to wait in line for our Broadway tickets (we got 50% off tickets to Chicago! and we only had to wait about 1 hour, so pretty good deal!) After that we (the girls) window shopped the beautiful designer stores on 5th Ave. We also walked around Rockefeller Center (which we all thought was 1 building, but apparently it's a collection of buildings that we happened to be standing in the middle of when we asked someone where it was..embarrassing!) Then, we grabbed a quick slice of pizza and some red bull, and at 8pm we headed to see Chicago! It was SOOOO GOOD! I absolutely loved it! It was just like the movie Chicago, with the same plot and whatnot, but it was actually a little more humorous, and each actor put their own twist on the characters, which I really liked! Totally worth seeing!!
After our Broadway show, we walked through Times Square one last time and really tried to take it in. Then we took the subway back to our hostel - drank another red bull and got ready to go out again. Along with a majority of the McGill group, we headed out to this club called Pacha (apparently they're really popular clubs that are all over Europe)..but when we got there, cover was $50!!!! We kind of had a group debate about whether we should just pay or go somewhere else...we ended up going to another club nearby that had a $30 cover plus mandatory $4 coat check, so with the cab ride, we probably didn't save that much - but this 2nd place had like 4 floors with different music styles playing on each floor. We found a floor playing some fun European house/techno music that had fire eaters on a stage and a gymnast/acrobat person that descended on a rope from the ceiling. It was unreal!
Sunday morning we got up at 9:15am, went to breakfast at a cute little cafe in the area of Manhatten where our hostel was. Then around noon, we took the subway to the financial district to see wall street and ground zero. After that we went shopping at century 21 - a HUGE discount designer store (I could've spent days shoping there! but, alas, we didn't have time..) I did manage to find a really cute purse though! And after than, we had to be back to the hostel by 3:30 to head home on the bus.
And that was my weekend! Approximately 54 hours to take in all that NYC had to offer! I'm actually amazed at how much we got through, but I will admit, I think I've only just recovered from all of the walking and sleep deprivation! Overall, it was amazing and I'm really glad I went. I don't think I could ever live anywhere as big as NYC, but I can definitely see myself going back on a regular basis to explore more of the hidden gems of the city, AND to see more Broadway shows, of course!!
I'll post pictures as soon as I can!