When I was in the US for the first time, most of my colleagues told me that I should head on over to New York. I initially wanted to go, but I had some apprehension as the plane ride costs a bit. Praveen then suggested that I take a bus to New York from DC which costs significantly cheaper. I was all set on going planning to visit from Friday all the way to Sunday.
Unfortunately, I had some issues in lodging. Apparently, the weekend that I decided to go to New York was the weekend of the Electric Daisy Carnival. This meant that the hostels were pretty much full. So I decided that I wouldn’t go to New York anymore. But then, a single night at the New York Budget Inn opened up. So on Friday afternoon, I decided to book a bus to New York (leaving in 4 hours), a room at the New York budget inn, and a bus ride back on Saturday night.With the bus ride from DC taking around 5 hours, I will pretty much have 23 hours in New York 😀
The Bus Ride:
So I took a megabus from DC’s Union Station. It passed by a few states on the way (I think it was Baltimore, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, then New York) and I was pretty much just staring out the window and taking in the scenery (It had very good weather). I think in Baltimore, a guy sat next to me and we started chatting. It turns out he was in the US Army and he was just going back to New york for the EDC. Along the way, we were chatting and he told me that the best way to enjoy New York is to just look up. He said there’s a certain charm to the city that’s different from all the other metropolises. It was pretty good timing when he said that since that was when we passed through the Lincoln Tunnel and I saw the New York cityscape with the bright neon lights of the city.
New York Budget Inn
I stayed at a hostel called the New York Budget Inn. Location wise, it was pretty good since it was a few blocks away from the Empire State Building. The price was kinda high (I think I paid 70$ per night) but my friends said that given the location, the full house due to EDC, and the fact that I booked on the same day. It wasn’t so bad. I didn’t really meet anyone in the hostel, but the staff were really helpful and friendly.
New York at Night:
After dumping my bags at the hostel, I immediately headed out to make the most of my time. I first planned on heading over to Times Square since the guy at the bus told me that it’s best to see it at night. I checked google maps and decided to walk my way there. Along the way though I stopped at some landmarks such as the New York Public Library and Bryant Park. Maybe it’s my colleagues hyping up the place and reading about it everywhere, but walking along the different streets of New York, gave me that sense of awe for some reason.
After a few more minutes of walking from Bryant Park, I was finally able to reach Times Square. It was a nice view with all of the buildings, billboards, and people just milling around. As with all tourist spots though, it was filled to the brim with people and taking a good shot (and a selfie) was a bit of a challenge. But all in all, it was pretty cool. Although admittedly, that coolness factor may have been boosted because you’re a tourist and it’s a place that’s often referenced by musicians, movies, and all other kinds of entertainment materials.
After times square, I checked the map for other areas that I should visit and decided to just get lost and walk around. I came across the Radio City Music Hall. In my head it was a famous place, but to be honest I don’t know why I know of it. After that I walked on over to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral area. From there, I took a look at the church and was looking at a good angle to take a photo of it when I realized that I was actually in the Rockefeller center. After taking my photos, I felt that I needed to rest a bit so I decided to head back to my hostel (which was a few blocks away from the Empire State buiilding)
I stayed a bit at the hostel and then realized that I really should make the most of my short time in New York. So I took a quick bath, then walked around again. I then headed on over to Korea Town. I checked Yelp for good places to visit and it took me to a bar called Krush. A cool place, it had beer pong tables, a number of tv screens, and hot Korean girls. I even got a free tequila shot from a group of girls for some reason (I can’t remember why). If ever I head back to New York, I know which place I’m visiting again.
When I already felt tired, I headed back to the hostel. I stopped for some chicken wings/tenders which I ended up eating at the lobby. It was a big order so I ended up sharing some of them with the guys at the counter.
Started at Central Park:
After waking up, I had a quick bath, checked out, and stored my luggage (a bit of a bummer that there was a fee so you can leave your luggage at their storage area). The hostel offered free coffee and donuts from Dunkin Donuts but I passed on it because I was in a rush. My goal was to see as much of New York as I can before the day ends.
My first stop was Central Park. On the way there, I stopped by the Apple Store. It had this cool elevator entrance that I just wanted to try out. I think I also tried out an iPad Pro while I was there. After a few minutes tinkering with some of the gadgets, I headed on over to the park.
The weather cooperated as it was sunny but it wasn’t too hot. I was just walking around the park admiring the scenery of having a pretty big patch of trees amidst the tall skyscrapers of New York. After walking a bit (and seeing lots of TaiChi practitioners) I decided to go to my next stop which was the MET.
MET, WTC, MSG:
My next stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the MET. I didn’t really plan on spending too much time at the museum but I ended up enjoying it. The different sections and galleries ended up making me fascinated that I didn’t realize the time. I think I spent nearly 3-4 hours there, and it still wasn’t enough. Unfortunately, staying at the MET for that long messed up my plans to visit other areas of New York.
After the MET, I headed on over to the new World Trade Center memorial. I was planning on going up the tower but the lines were quite long and I didn’t really have the money to spend. I did take some time to wander around at the south pool of the WTC memorial though.
After this, I headed back to the hostel to get my stuff. I rested a bit and then went to meet some of my colleagues who were in New York. We were supposed to meet and eat at Momofoku Nishi but it was full so we ended up eating across at Foragers Market. After that I headed on to Penn Station to board my train. Along the way, I passed by the famous Madison Square Garden.
Back to DC:
I then waited a bit and took the train ride back to Washington.I was hoping I’d get to sit next to someone who would be as fun as the army guy on the bus to New York, but I ended up sitting solo in my row 😀
When I went back to the US for a sceond time, I wanted to go back to New York. Unfortunately, I had a shorter trip this time so I wasn’t able to fit it in my schedule. This was a pity as there were still a lot of places I wanted to see. I wanted to check out the Status of Liberty or even the Brooklyn Bridge, but I guess those would have to wait for another trip.