“That’s SO American!” ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

July 10th 2017

I have never been so last minute in my life.

Most of you know that I like being very organised and planning ahead. Especially when it comes to holidays, I like booking and organising things at least 3 months early.

But sometime in May, I ended up looking at flights to New York. Yeah, New York. The city I have gone on and on about throughout the years on my blog, the one that I have admired for its beautiful skyline and dreamed of exploring one day… New York. At first, it was just a crazy idea, “ha, imagine if I travel to NYC this year. That’d be cool”

Only to realise that I could actually make it happen. I mean, why not?

Nothing was stopping me. I had annual leave left to use up, I had enough money, the only the thing I needed to do was book it. And I did.

After a Twitter poll naturally, of course. ๐Ÿ˜†

Once I got everything confirmed at work, flights and the hotel were sorted and I found myself less than a month to plan the biggest trip this year. Whilst planning it, I couldn’t believe I was scheduling in time to go up the Top of the Rock (yes, I have a holiday calendar, don’t judge ๐Ÿ˜…) Looking back now,ย it all still feels like a weird dream but I have metro tickets, receipts, left over American money and a hell lot of photos and videos.

Also, Matt is a great travel bud. ๐Ÿ’‘

This is a long blog post, I will be summarising five days today and the next five days in a separate post. You can quickly navigate to each day here:


Day One: A long flight, “I don’t get jet lag”, confusion, “it smells like park in here”


If there’s one thing I learned about Matt, it’s that he likes surprising me. ๐Ÿ˜†

On our way to the airport, Matt surprised me with all his photo/video/documentation equipment.

Yeah, it’s a lot. But did we get amazing shots? Yeahhhh we did. ๐Ÿ˜‚ The flight was long and not one that I’m used to at all, but it was really fun. We got into some conversation with an old American couple next to us who was impressed by mine and Matt’s “technical backgrounds” and talked to us a lot about how they travelled all the way to England to find lost family which was interesting.

Matt also downloaded all the High School Musical trilogy (after I had mentioned how I watch it at once every summer #tradition) so we watched it pretty much until we got there. This really inspired us to break out into songs throughout the trip ๐Ÿ˜…

Storytime: After a lonnnnnnggggg hour in JFK once we landed, we headed to take the AirTrain to Manhattan. Hamdah would know this but I have a tendency to always walk ahead when I’m exploring, I can’t help it, I get super excited ๐Ÿ˜† I was a little ahead of Matt and jumped on the next AirTrain. We were both slow and tired from travelling, and next thing we know the AirTrain shut and I find myself in it alone! It wasn’t such a big deal but I do get anxious when I’m alone in a place I’ve never been to. Thankfully the last stop was my stop so I didn’t have to worry too much, Matt sent me very reassuring messages tooย ๐Ÿ˜…

From Jamaica Station, we bought a week Metro ticket and got on the subway to Manhattan. My immediate thought looking at the subway map was “what the fuck” In my previous trips, Hamdah would have all of public transport sorted. She has a secret talent of understanding the system really well and really quickly!

Both Matt and I hadn’t much of a clue but we sort of just yolo’ed to one that was going to the general direction of Manhattan. We needed to switch to another subway from Penn Station towards Central Park (where our hotel was) but I ended up falling asleep. Matt was super tired and didn’t realise we missed our stop ๐Ÿ˜†ย We ended up at the One World Trade Centre (which we didn’t realise at the time)

Once we finally got to the hotel, I was super hyped to drop off all our stuff and get some food! We decided to get pizza – which by the way was HUGE – and eat it at Central Park.

We found a place to sit by the Lake, it was fun watching people on the boats. There was one guy who was proper into it and was whizzing around and another couple who clearly had no idea what they were doing, the girl looked a bit panicked like, “what have we done” ๐Ÿ˜‚

 

Misty Central Park

I saw my first yellow taxi on this day. They’re real, guys. I squealed. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Day Two: Don’t trust Elmo, Am I in a movie, rain, Macy’s


On our first full day, we decided to start the day exploring Central Park. Matt had been to NY before but said that he didn’t get to spend as much time in it as he would’ve liked. Luckily our hotel was literally a 2-minute walk from the park so we could visit it every morning or on our way back to the hotel at the end of the day.

As we were exploring Central Park, I recognised a few spots where my favourite movies were shot. It was surreal walking through!

Our route was: Strawberry Fields > Bethesda Fountain > Literary Walk > Playmate Arch > Umpire Rock

Have you guys seen that scene from Enchanted? It was shot here!

Baseball

Umpire Rock

We then walked down towards Times Square. You know you’re getting closer to Times Square when you see the flashing screens of ads cover buildings. Up until getting to Times Square, I didn’t really believe I was in New York. The yellow cabs were a reminder but what really struck me was when I sat in the centre of Times Square, ย people watching and felt the NYC “vibe” unfold before me. It was

It was buzzzzzing! ๐Ÿ

Storytime: Matt pointed out that there was a group of people dressed up as Elmo, Olaf, Hello Kitty. Once I spotted them, I got really excited and rushed to them for a photo. I quickly realised when they kept telling me not to be so “worried” about my bags, they were really dodgy. They offered to take a photo of us which we had taken, but they then suddenly started refusing to give back his phone. Luckily, I was really assertive and took the phone back and started to quickly walk away. They kept following us for a bit asking for money but we got away from them in the crowds. It was quite scary but I’m glad that in the moment I was really aware!

They offered to take a photo of us which we had taken, but they then suddenly started refusing to give back his phone. Luckily, I was really assertive and took the phone back and started to quickly walk away. They kept following us for a bit asking for money but we got away from them in the crowds. It was quite scary but I’m glad that in the moment I was really aware!

It started to rain a lot soon after so Matt and I went into the Disney store nearby where I bought my Disney-themed New York pin for my backpack!

The Disney stores in the UK has nothing on the one in NY. Every corner was so magical and Matt caught me on video being amazed by everything ๐Ÿ˜†

My favourite part was going up to the second floor (I KNOW RIGHT, THEY SPOIL NEW YORKERS!!???) and looking up where there were the lights from Tangled decorated all the way up. And you all know how much I LOVE that scene.ย 

I see the light ๐Ÿ˜

There was also a magical mirror where when you tapped a wand near it, a short clip from a random Disney film would show up. I nearly cried. ๐Ÿ˜‚

When we left the store, it was still raining so we decided to eat somewhere nearby. We went to Applebee’s for lunch. It was still raining a lot for the rest of the day so I suggested that we would go to a mall and have a look around, we ended up at Macy’s which we spent most of the time chilling at a Starbucks (and not spending money on anything!) It didn’t really interest us.

It was still raining a lot for the rest of the day so I suggested that we would go to a mall and have a look around, we ended up at Macy’s which we spent most of the time chilling at a Starbucks (and not spending money on anything!) It didn’t really interest us. ๐Ÿ˜†ย It was interesting to everyone in a trance with buying all the things~

Once the rain stopped, Matt wanted to show me Grand Central Station. On our way there, we went to Bryant Park. A park where outdoor films show in the summer which is pretty cool. I liked how it was in the middle of the city, we got some awesome shots! I’ve always been a fan of seeing a mix of nature and city – much like my own hometown! We also came across a lot of wedding photo shoots which was super cute!

We also came across a lot of wedding photo shoots which was super cute!

Grand Central is exactly like, you know, Madagascar.

A post shared by Matt Burman (@_mattburman) on

There was another wedding photoshoot going on – can you spot them in Matt’s video?

Look an Apple store!

I was referring to Madagascar the whole time. Seriously though guys, IT’S JUST LIKE MADAGASCAR??!!! Was expecting Marty to jump up at any moment ๐Ÿ‘€

There were these two security guards who were super nice, I noticed that they were quite keen on taking photos with tourists so I jumped at the chance! Whilst having my photo taken, they asked if I keep up with the football back in the UK. Unfortunately, I don’t.ย ๐Ÿ˜†

“That’d be 20 dollars, Miss” “Wait, what?” “Just kidding” ๐Ÿ˜…


Day Three: Adventuring in Central Park, falling in love with Shake Shack, Flatiron is real, Sunset


We spent most of the morning exploring Central Park – uncovering lots more beautiful places!

Strawberry Fields

Since Matt and I are extra asf, we waited for a bit to have this photo taken. There was a bunch of tourists doing all sorts of things – gotta do it for the ‘gram!

Shakespeare Gardens

Matt tried flying his drone here because it was the only place in Central Park that didn’t have that many people. But the drone did startย following some bypassers so there was a moment of panic where we had to chase after it and switch it off ๐Ÿ˜†

Belvedere Castle

Thao commented on one of my Instagram photos (this is why I love posting on the go!) and told us to look for the castle in the middle of Central Park. After walking around the Great Lawn Oval (which is pretty damn great!) we figured out how to get up the castle.

It had an awesome view of the lake and the city!

We decided to go to the Natural History museum after this – but decided took a different path down from where we came up. We found some cute spots – I especially like this one, I felt like I was a video game character discovering a secret area ๐Ÿ˜

Natural History Museum

We spent quite a while in the Natural History Museum, it was nice looking at all the different exhibitions. Note: I overheard that the displays don’t come alive at night.

I especially enjoyed learning about Filipino history!

Once we left the museum, the weather dramatically changed. It was the first time since we arrived that we saw blue skies. A lot of our friends back home had been sharing the rare weather in Sheffield (typical when I’ve left!) and was teasing us! It was strangely satisfying sharing photos of NYC with blue skies and the sunshine ๐Ÿ˜‰

Madison Square Park, Shake Shack, Flatiron Building

We headed down towards Madison Square Park where Matt was raving to me about Shake Shack. I hadn’t heard of it at all before but since I came back from the States, it’s all I’ve been thinking about and researching! A big shout out to Micah for telling me that there is a Shake Shack in London (SERIOUS HYPE)

On our way to Madison Square Park, we passed the Flatiron building. I posted my reaction to it on Instagram and Snapchat, so some of you might already know this but I was SUPER excited. Up till recently, I honestly thought the building wasn’t real at all – sort of like those images you see online that you know are modified in some way but boy was I wrong. The Flatiron building is flat and pretty legit.ย ๐Ÿ˜‚

I was super fascinated by it and took a TON of photos from different angles, probably enough to create a 3D model! ๐Ÿ˜…

In the late afternoon, we got on the subway to One World Trade Centre. We still weren’t very confident in the subway system, ended up getting on the wrong subway and ending up in Brooklyn… oops. It didn’t really help that it was a Sunday and lots of the subways systems had changed services. We ended up talking to a fellow Hackathoner though, which was super cool! Matt pointed out that she was a Hackathoner because of her t-shirt – it was pretty cool and reminded me of how communities are connected worldwide!

One World Trade Centre

I found the One World Trade Centre beautiful but did sadden me a little bit. Matt told me that every time it is one of the victims birthdays, they would leave a rose by their name. I spotted a few roses!

Financial District

Our route from the One World Trade Centre: Down Wall Street >ย New York Stock Exchange > Charging Bull > Battery Parkย 

I had completely forgotten that the Charging Bull was in New York! When Matt mentioned it, I was pretty excited to see it in real life. Photos I had seen in real life looked great – I remember seeing the little girl facing the bull too on social media and feeling super inspired.

When we got there though, there were so many tourists that we couldn’t get a shot of the bull or see it for that matter! ๐Ÿ˜†

We waited a little bit for this photo (which I thought was extremely creative but it turns out everyone was doing it – haha!) but it was worth it! You go, girl, keep doing you!

Yes, that crowd of people from the previous photo was all looking at me as Matt took this photo!

The evening was spent at one of the best places in New York to catch beautiful sunsets: Battery Park. Battery Park slowly became one of my favourite places in NYC.

This was the first time I saw Lady Liberty in real life too. And she was looking fine that day. ๐Ÿ˜ We get a closer look at here the following days but from a far, she was real. Matt had to repeat this a few times throughout the 10 days, I was clearly overwhelmed! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Day Four: Yellow submarine, Spanglish, Mystic Village, Thunderstorms


We planned to go to Connecticut to meet up with some of Matt’s family. We decided to skip breakfast in the hotel and grabbed a Starbucks to take on the train with us! Georgie and Holly had mentioned the Whispering Walls on Twitter so before we got on the train, we decided to try it out. It was very interesting – it actually worked!

The train ride was quite smooth and went by quickly – I always enjoy looking out the window to see the changing scenes whichever train I take! We were blessed with some awesome views. On our second train to CT, there was a lady beside us who was just singing her heart out. It was funny to us because it doesnโ€™t happen in the UK at all – everyone sort of just keeps to themselves quietly.

This wasnโ€™t the first time since we arrived that we witnessed someone was singing out loud in English and breaking out in rap in Spanish, it happened on the first few days too! Love New Yorkers/Americans.

Our day was really fun, we were spoiled with the best doughnuts ever (no exaggeration) from Flanders Donut, Bagel and Bake Shop, the best wood fired Pizza and ice cream from the little village we went to in CT called Mystic Village.

Matt had been here when he was younger so it was a nostalgic experience for him. We went into one of his favourite shops – Sticky Situations – where we tried a range of different honey and vinegar (such an interesting mix!)

Mattโ€™s family also took us to the New London Naval Submarine Museum where we to a little self-guided tour of life as a submariner (I totally made that up! What do you call people who work/live on a submarine?) We actually went into a little submarine (where the exhibit was) – itโ€™s not ideal for people who are claustrophobic though.

We had woken up pretty early to catch the train to CT so on the way back to NY, we were exhausted and slept for most of our train back. It was forecasted to rain and thunder that evening, once we got back to NY it was pouring it down! On our way back to our hotel, we decided to walk through Times Square and catch the subway from there. It was nice to see it calm(er) compared to during the day.

My attempt on capturing the buzz in Times Square / NYC ๐ŸŒ†

A post shared by Pauline P. Narvas (@paw.lean) on

Had to be included in this post, I’m so proud of how it turned out!


Day Five: Chelsea, Central Park


Visiting Chelsea (a neighbourhood on the West Side of Manhattan) was one of the main things I was really looking forward to seeing! Originally, we planned to participate in some group activities and events taking place in the High Line (which is, by the way, a cool railway-turned-park) but woke up a little late and missed the meditation and tai-chi class we signed up for (we were EXHAUSTED after travelling to CT) But we still checked it out anyway, we got a glimpse of the tai-chi class and found that they were all older people taking part.

Whilst we were up the High Line, was took a stroll towards the VaynerMedia building. Matt had recently introduced me to Gary Vee, I can confirm I am a big fan so it was awesome seeing his building in real life after binge watching his YouTube and Instagram videos. I recommend you check him out for that daily motivation!

We walked to each end of the High Line and was blessed with more amazing views – you all know how I feel about views ๐Ÿ˜

We set-up a tripod to take these photos – we tried to do perfect yoga poses but balance wasn’t on it that day xD I love how they turned out though!

๐Ÿ˜‚

After the High Line, we went down and walked to the pier where we had an awesome view of New Jersey from Hudson River Park and Pier 45 – both great places to hang out, chill and have an hour nap under the sun โ˜€ย There were a lot of people who were doing HIIT, running, doing their cool down and stretch by the pier – it was really motivating. I kept saying to Matt I couldnโ€™t wait to get back home just to workout (for some reason, I canโ€™t workout whilst Iโ€™m on holiday – it never feels โ€˜rightโ€™. Plus, I didnโ€™t bring any workout clothes anyway!)

For lunch, we headed to Chelsea Market where I introduced Matt to the best thing ever: Chicken Adobo at Takumi. Chelsea Market was PACKED with people – there was food everywhere. I think there is an upstairs (they had elevators) but when Matt and I tried to explore, the lift didnโ€™t go up at all and a guard just started saying โ€œthereโ€™s nothing upstairs, nothing, nothing!โ€ But why have elevators? ๐Ÿค”

If anyone knows the mystery of the upstairs Chelsea Market let me know! Iโ€™m still curious xD

We decided to spend the rest of the day exploring my favourite place; Central Park.

 

Our route: North Woods > The Blockhouse > Huddlestone > Upper East Side > 96th Street > Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis > Alice in Wonderland

It was a long walk but we had plenty of breaks! I began to realise that I loved being surrounded by nature and surprised myself – initially I thought I would love the city so much and just want to spend the whole time there (and not as often in parks!) but I learned that although the city is great and I love that buzz, the green spaces made me feel the happiest, the most content with everything and just really enjoyed seeing so many trees and wildlife.

I started appreciating Sheffield a little more for always giving me that green space (something I had taken for granted up to this point ๐Ÿ˜…)


Part two of my NYC trip will be up next week! If you have any questions on NYC, ask away~ I hope you enjoyed reading the first five days of my NYC experience, I can confirm, it’s so American.


Posted under: Travel


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10 comments

  1. Nancy says:

    I feel like the older I get, the more spontaneous I become. Eg, I like to plan my work travel trips out weeks in advance – only to find myself doing it the night before. Whoops!

    It’s cool that you put together the trip to NYC in a matter of weeks! Look at you pulling off this neat travel op ;). Glad to hear both of you enjoying your time out there! Oh man, you were looking at pizza as if it’s your first love XD. (You can never go wrong with pizza).

    The parks in NYC are beautiful! Shoot, there’s history with these places! I’ve seen Times Square so many times in movies. I can see why they look to shoot there! I never trust these costume characters because they’re only doing it for the money… Kinda realized it when I was in Vegas.

    You need to get to one of the Disney parks if you want a grand experience of the Disney store! XD

    You two went to all of the cool places out there! I can’t get over legit the parks and gardens are! It’s definitely a different atmosphere than what LA could’ve given you. (Probably better if you’re on foot!)

    The pictures of you and Matt are sweet! I bought an iPhone tripod for a similar purpose XD. Your yoga poses still look legit.

    Thanks for sharing some of your experience out there! Looking forward to your next 5 days ;).

  2. Liv says:

    Reading about my home from the perspective of a traveler always makes me happy. ^^ I lived in New York 11 years and some of these places – like Chelsea Market, The High Line, and Strawberry Fields I only went to last summer when my friend was visiting from Australia! I can’t guarantee this, but Chelsea Market is the first floor of a building that is likely to have a lot of offices, such as Google’s small NYC branch.

    I’m glad you really enjoyed Central Park – it is probably the most beautiful place in the city since the city is overlooking all the nature. ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t even know where Belvedere Castle is, HAHA! Central Park is really far away from where I lived (right next to Snowdays yo, about 40 minutes travel) that my friends and I hardly ever head up. A lot of us made it over last summer though since it was a Pokemon Go goldmine.

    As for evil Elmo, those people dress up in order to make money from tourists who want photos with them, and sometimes they are pushy and force you to take the photo and then ask for money. I wouldn just avoid getting photos with them. :O

    It sounds really nice you guys got to check out some of the USA outside of New York! Slower for sure, and more peaceful. Connecticut is also a really nice state. You guys also got caught in those random summer thunderstorms! To be honest I really miss those out here in California. Those were the indicators that it’s summer, and “the weather is gonna be beautiful once this rain passes”.

    Can’t wait to read your next post!

  3. Holly says:

    This post has just made me even more exciting for New York next month and I didn’t think that was possible!

    The New York subway is so complicated. I normally pick up subway systems fine but that one is something else. I’ve found a really good app though that tells you exactly what trains you need to get to go to certain places so I’m looking forward to trying that out.

    I really want to spend more time in Central Park because last time I went we only explored a really small part of the park. I’m planning on hiring a boat although I think Tyrone worries about my rowing abilities!

    Yeah, don’t trust any one dressed up in Times Square! When I went to Egypt we were told not to let any of the locals use your camera to take your picture because they will make you pay to get your phone back.

    I went to the Starbucks in Macy’s! I don’t even like Starbucks but when the jetlag hits you’ve got to get that coffee!

    Battery Park is probably my favourite place in New York. I just love being by the water and when the sun is out it’s just magical. I’m hoping to go up World Trade One when we go to New York, just because the lifts look so funky, haha!

    I didn’t get chance to visit Chelsea when I was last in NYC but I really want to visit the High Line and the piers. I looks amazing.

  4. Dabin says:

    New York looks dreamy and the sunset is stunningly beautiful! New York has always been on my bucket list and I can’t wait for my visit to NY someday. It seems and sounds like you had so much fun in New York! One thing I love most about travelling is that you get to have tons of memories to recall and talk about! Love this NY post! xx

    Dabin / https://dabindb.blogspot.kr/

  5. And now I want to go to NYC. XD

    But kudos for going for it! Sounds like you had a blast! And such awesome pictures!

  6. Rezina says:

    Yay for New York! I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there – I liked following your journey via social media, haha. You guys took such great pictures! I like the ones where you guys are in it because you guys look so happy! It makes me happy just looking at them xD The incident with Elmo, Olaf, and Hello Kitty sounds really scary! Sounds like they’re used to tricking unsuspecting tourists. Also LOL at Grand Central & Madagascar.

    An interesting fact I heard about Grand Central is that the light used to filter in really prettily but now that there are so many buildings, all the buildings cover where the light used to filter in through the super large windows.

    All the parks are also really pretty! I agree that the mixture of green spaces/city spaces is really nice. I also very much appreciate the greenery in my state and it always feels strange not to see them when we go traveling.

    Excited to read your part 2!

  7. Eena says:

    I really enjoyed reading this, Pauline! I’m so glad you and Matt had an awesome time in NY. You look so genuinely happy in all the photos – makes me happy ♥

  8. Cat says:

    Aahh, definitely be careful with people like that costume group on the street! I’m glad you were able to get your phone back and were able to lose them in the crowds! I don’t think I’ve been in a Disney store in NYC, but that’s so neat how they had the lights from Tangled. So pretty!

    I love walking through Central Park! I think the first time we ran into Belvedere Castle, it was by accident, and we were like, why is there a castle here, haha. The Natural History Museum is a really interesting place to visit! I also really like the Metropolitan.

    Yay, I’m glad you got a photo with the girl facing the bull! There was some talk of removing that statue, so it’s good to see that it’s still there.

    That sounds really nice to take a small break from NYC to visit Matt’s family. Even better that you had so much good food!

    I always see people posting neat photos of the High Line. I’ve been to NYC so often (and lived in NY for a while), and I don’t think I’ve ever gone, haha. I need to make a point to go there some time. Also, I really love that last photo! Beautiful colors!

    (Ah, by the way, a couple parts of your entry got duplicated? The story of the costumed people shows up twice, and the wedding photo shoots sentence is there twice.)

  9. Claudine says:

    Aww, what a fun trip! I really felt that you enjoyed yourself just by reading this post ๐Ÿ™‚

    I super miss New York! I really love the photos you took and I learned lots of new spots that I should check out when I come back ๐Ÿ™‚ The parks are beautiful, any touch of nature in the middle of a busy city is always a great thing!

    Ah I almost fell for those costumed characters too the last time I went there. One time I had a photo taken with a guy dressed up as Snoopy and he was asking for a $5 “tip” and wouldn’t let us go until we gave it to him! Good thing you guys managed to get away from them!

  10. Amy says:

    I loved reading this post, Pauline. New York sounds amazing! I’d love to go one day. I can’t believe you booked it so last minute though. I’d have wanted months and months to plan! It’s great that you’re taking all these opportunities while you can. I wish I’d done some travelling while I was at uni. Unfortunately I spent most of my money on clothes and food back then. Oops.

    I can’t believe Matt took so many devices with him. That’s insane. I literally just take my phone if I go somewhere! You definitely got some great shots though, so seems like it was worth it.

    OMG, is that mac’n’cheese on your pizza? Please tell me it is, ’cause that’s amazing. I have to have one! Pizza is life.

    I can’t believe those people wouldn’t give Matt his phone back. That’s awful. I’d usually trust people in costume as well, because surely they’re dressed like that for pictures? I mean, at least put up a sign saying how much you pay if you want money for it. Don’t try to steal someone’s phone!

    Central Park looks so cool. I’ve seen it so many times on TV. I bet it’s amazing when it’s right there in front of you. And the same with the yellow taxis as well. I’d have been just as excited.

    I WANT TO GO TO THAT DISNEY STORE! Those lanterns are absolutely beautiful and I can’t believe they have two floors. Like, what?! You look like you had a magical time in there and I’m not surprised.

    Off to read your next post now!