We made our way to the concrete jungle on a cold crisp November morning. I love flying in the morning or during the day, I like to to see the clouds and get lost in them. Once up in the air, we coasted through the white fluffy desert towards our destination. The world below popped in and out of vision, it sparkled and for a second it looked as if it was encased in glass. Sitting there quietly, peacefully, and fragile like it could shatter at any moment.
When the wheels hit the ground a sense of relief flooded my body, as well as, a sense of panic. As soon as the fresh air in the cabin turned off all I smelt was other people’s breath and stale air. It’s a clear fog but thick enough to leave you feeling light-headed. Off the plane we walked and into the first cab we saw. The ride started off fair enough, my bestie and I, bright-eyed and filled with excitement. Well, until we stopped seeing signs for the Queensboro Bridge and were taken down awful side streets filled with garbage and graffiti. Obviously our first thoughts were something out of a Criminal Minds episode, we looked at each other, eyes screaming with fear until finally we found ourselves on crossing the bridge, being thrust toward possibilities. More specifically the possibility of our cabbie getting into an accident. HE DROVE WAY TOO CLOSE TO THE OTHER CARS. He honked like a child just discovering the sounds that a car can make, and when another cabbie cut him off he rolled down his window, screamed, and spit on the other cab. Nothing like a nice hork to welcome you to New York.
Tuning that episode out of my mind I spent the next two days with my bestie power-walking around the city. We didn’t have maps or data on our phones but somehow we always found our way. It was kind of exciting to get lost in a city that we don’t really know. We stayed pretty close to our hotel on the first day, opting for lunch at Shake Shack – they have the best burgers on the planet. The meat is so succulent and juicy. It tastes as meat should, LIKE MEAT, not charcoal or crazy spices. It’s the kind of burger you savour and the perfect fuel for a long day of walking. That day took us through Central Park, to the New York Public Library where scenes from Sex and the City (the movie) popped into my head. The building is absolutely gorgeous, regal and wonderful. The study rooms are filled with books, computers, and eager students studying (or watching Netflix). I felt at home.
On Sunday we walked from our hotel on 40th Street (right beside the bus terminal, which made our neighbours a rather interesting bunch) to Ground Zero and let me tell you it wasn’t a straight line either! We zigged and zagged through various neighbourhoods from Soho to Greenwhich, down Fifth Avenue and back up again, through Madison Square Park and over to NYU, finally (somehow) ending our six-hour walk at Ground Zero. We did a little bit of shopping, treated ourselves to something nice and even stopped in at Strand Book Store. Three floors of BOOKS. The top floor being rare and used books with hefty price tags, musty smells, and literary genius pulsating off of the walls. The best part of that day was stumbling into Eataly on 5th Avenue, across from Madison Square Park. It’s a huge market filled with restaurants and fresh food, cookbooks and imported goods from Italy. PLUS an excellent cafe with the BEST coffee in the world (LavAzza). Kathryn (my bestie) had a hot chocolate which she said tasted like melted chocolate and steamed milk. It was the creamiest, most delicious hot chocolate she ever had! She can no longer have hot chocolate from Tim’s because of this one and it MUST have been good because she didn’t offer me a sip (I’m not mad though and she’s not sorry).
Our final day was a rough one. We could barely walk from the day before. My shins felt like I had been kicked incessantly by a little brat and Kathryn’s calves kept seizing up. BUT we made most of it with another walk around the city, a delicious lunch at Carmine’s on 44th street and a bit more shopping. So, what was the highlight of this trip? What made this trip different from my last trip to New York? Kathryn. I’ve known Kathryn since the tenth grade and even back then she was one of the few people I could really be myself around. I’ve never travelled with her before so I’ll admit I was a little worried. What if we didn’t get along? What if we fought? What if we ran out of things to say to each other? Thankfully none of my fears were realized. She was the PERFECT travelling companion and we’re more alike than I think either of us knew. It was so nice to have unlimited girl-talk-time with someone who is honest (even when it needs to be brutal), laid back, and who just wants to have a good time. Travelling with her is exactly what I needed at this point in my life. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take some more chances, to make some changes, and to figure out exactly what I want.
Thanks for everything Kpicks, love you!