the first time i ventured to new york city, was in the summer of 2005. it was a confusing time in my life, as there were some tough decisions to be made when it came to school, relationships, and growing up in general. playing on my discman was the brand new coldplay x and y album, and most importantly the song fix you. as our red eye flight approached jfk, the lyrics "lights will guide you home" played and before even landing in nyc, i had already fallen in love. it had been a long dream of mine to visit manhattan and when we woke up the next morning to see it in the daylight, i was so thrilled that i threw up. just like an excited puppy would.
two years later, i found myself on the last day of our second family vacation to new york city. and though i was two years older and wiser, i was once again in nyc to do a little soul searching (or perhaps i'm just a drama queen. nah, boys are just the worst). i call this particular day the best day ever in nyc. and though it might not sound that special to you, it's a day that i often think of and smile.
i spent the best day ever in nyc alone, which was a rarity on a family trip with 19 others (how do the duggars do it?). it was not to be wasted, and i was on a very specific mission; i was to act only as new yorkers do for the entire day while on a quest to find the spot where sally drops off harry at the beginning of when harry met sally. my favourite movie and my favourite city. with the sun shining and coldplay on my ipod shuffle for nostalgia, i set off.
my observations led me to walk as fast as i could like i was in a big hurry to something super duper important. this was both fun and great exercise. i also stood on the closest possible edge of the sidewalk or on the street itself when waiting for a moment to cross. and of course, i took the subway with ease to my memorized directions to washington square park (a real new yorker wouldn't carry a map with them). i even pretended to check my phone at times, though international roaming made it impossible to actually use.
i was asked for directions 3 separate times by tourists on the way to the park. twice on the subway platform and once while walking. "people actually think that I'M a new yorker", i thought and i was even able to correctly answer their questions. found my own way to washington square park and sat to read a magazine and people watch. i then made my way over to the washington arch, snapped the above picture, and then stood in awe for a good 10 minutes. felt an indescribable sense of happiness that i'd set off on a journey, though such a small one, and completed it. nothing could ruin my mood.
took my time wandering around the city, getting lost in its beauty. stopped in a coffee shop to rest my feet, shopped in any decent looking boutiques. snapped a few more city pictures, with my favourite songs still playing in my ears. and just when i thought this simple nyc day couldn't get ANY better, i heard someone yelling through my head phones.
"hey, you! hey, girl with the sunglasses, slow down!" they were yelling at me. thinking i'd maybe dropped something or worse, that i had toilet paper stuck to my sandal or something, i stopped in my tracks and took my ear phones out. i swivelled around to find myself face to face with an incredibly handsome man in a suit. "i'm sorry," he said, "but i was having lunch with my co-workers and saw you walking past. i just had to come talk to you." was this a joke? this kind of thing NEVER happens to me, and certainly not in vancouver. i stood frozen, unable to say anything at all in return. "i just ran this whole block to catch up to you, you sure do walk fast," he said, breaking the silence. after explaining that i was from out of town, and him admitting that he was actually from new jersey (pffft) i believe we even exchanged numbers despite the fact that i was seeing someone back home. for all his flattery, the least i could do was give him my phone number, right?
we never saw each other again and to be honest, i don't even remember his name. but in a moment of time when i desperately needed something good to happen, new york pulled through for me. it was then that i realized that i'm a city girl. not because some stranger hit on me (but really, i wouldn't complain if it happened often lol), but because before this day, i would have never gone to a coffee shop, eaten lunch, or wandered around downtown alone. i wouldn't have dreamed of having an adventure myself. the best day ever in nyc opened up my eyes to a world of possibility.
i moved to vancouver soon after and i'm still with that guy i was seeing. if you happen to still be reading, i'm so excited to announce that in exactly a week, we're headed to new york city for a much needed vacation together!!! but we need your help. we're looking for your expert new york recommendations, for anything from restaurants, shopping, sight seeing, must-visit neighbourhoods, cool things to-do etc. your suggestions are much appreciated, thank you lovelies!