Photo Credit: Rob Brink
I haven’t visited New York City in twenty years. I was in university in Ottawa when three friends and I hatched the slightly insane Times-Square-for-New-Year’s-Eve plan while working the night shift over the Christmas holidays. None of us had been before. “We’ll rent a car” we said. “We’ll drive down.” “How hard can it be?”
When we reached Albany, we realized that no one had made a hotel reservation. (Oops!) From a pay phone, I booked the last two rooms available at the Howard Johnson’s near Times Square. That was our idea of calling ahead.
Of course we got lost driving into Manhattan. (All of those bridges!) We were four wide-eyed Canadian kids, barely out of adolescence, with a rented van and a poor sense of direction. We had no sense of the BIGness of New York… how we four were like bite-sized appetizers for such a city. The curious thing is that we were not at all freaked out. We were in the BIG APPLE and just as happy as we could be.
As we pulled our bags out of the back of the van, a bell hop in a bright red jacket said, “Hey, miss! Your bag’s open there. You gotta be more careful cuz you are in New York City now!” (It was a lesson that I never forgot!)
We watched the ball drop in Times Square as one year rolled into the next. I spoke to a couple of police officers and they seemed like Super Heroes to me. I ate a hot dog with mustard and relish on a street corner as the whole world rushed by in a blur of navy suits and yellow taxi cabs. I walked and I walked and I walked. I loved New York. (Don’t worry. Nothing bad happened.)
And now, two decades later, I’m going back.
DP starts his Masters on the west coast this summer and so I’ve found myself with time to spend and travels to plan and, although I was not expecting this particular invitation, New York called my name and I said, “Yes. Yes!” I’ve booked my trip (flight AND hotel) for the middle of July after most of our worldly things have been sent on a slow ship to Bangkok, after the end of the school year, after the good-byes to kindred spirits, after the flight to Canada (my ancestral home), after I’ve caught up on my missing sleep (is that even possible?)… after so many afters. But before the intensity of life in Bangkok begins. Before the traffic, the head-sweating, the new job. New York will exist in the land… in the space… in the time in between.
Tell me, lovely readers, how shall I spend my five New York days? What should I do, see, eat? Where shall I walk? What are your favourite corners of New York City? Please leave me a comment below.