We could fly to New York. I could show you that place.
– Above and Beyond – Fly to New York
If there is one thing that I can recommend to everyone in my life, it is to travel alone. Sure, it’s a completely different story when you’re on a road trip with family or friends. It makes the kilometres go faster. You do group activities and truly enjoy each others’ company – or wish you could tear each other apart. But traveling alone is an experience in itself. You learn so much about yourself, your tolerance, your interests, everything. You learn more about the place you are visiting instead of being so consumed in what to do next. You come at peace with yourself and the world around you.
I had always considered traveling alone but had never done it until I was forced to do so. I had traveled to Montreal with a group of girls and things just didn’t end up quite the way we all had planned. At the end, I was left alone in an almost unfamiliar city for two days. I had the option to leave, sulk, or enjoy my time. I didn’t dwell on the fact that I had been left alone. In fact, after everything that happened with these girls, I was so very thankful for this opportunity to just be alone. I enjoyed my company very much. I explored the city. I enjoyed the delights of culinary perfection. I even met up with a former professor and was introduced to amazing Italian food. I walked a lot! And it was a liberating experience. All in all, I feel I came out stronger from this forced situation and I realized the true possibilities of traveling alone.
So, I did it again. This time I wasn’t truly alone, I visited my friends in New York City and they were amazing hostesses and took great care of me. They showed me the city from their own perspectives and I got some time to be alone when they were busy with their own lives. It was mostly a last-minute trip. In fact, I told one of my friends I was headed to New York on the airplane waiting to take off.
I feel like New York City can be viewed in two perspectives. One perspective is that, even if you are alone, you cannot possibly feel alone because there are so many people around you at all times. The city is crawling with people and your personal space is out of the question. There are so many possible interactions from the moment you step out until you’re back inside again in your own comfortable space. A second perspective is that you are alone and feel alone because of the amount of people in the city. Everyone is preoccupied. No one has the time to just stand, or sit and take in everything around them. People are rude and ignorant. Unwelcoming and just cold. If you’re a tourist? Good luck asking someone for directions. If you ask the wrong people, they’ll scam you for something, or send you the wrong way. I’m not saying everyone in New York is like that, but I’ve been there quite a few times already and even though each time I’ve had a different experience, I still never felt connected with the people of New York.
Regardless, being in this intimidating city all alone was quite an exciting experience. Times square never felt so gigantic before. And I was so glad I decided to bring my Nikes with me. I walked around so much again. I truly enjoyed the crazy world around me. I knew I had no end goal other than to eat somewhere when I got hungry and to meet up with my friends at some point. But having a whole day even, just to myself and the city – it was a good feeling. I visited a lot of places where I was struck by awe at the architecture. I people-watched at parks. I took pictures of the city, to revisit at a later date. I was in my own little world. No one bothered me, and I didn’t bother anyone. I didn’t feel truly lonely, just alone for that day, and that was okay.
Here are some pictures from my trip. I went during February (2016) for I believe five days. I had a lot of fun with my friends! Most importantly, I let myself truly indulge.
I did fly to New York, whereas in the past I’ve always travelled by car. The funniest part of my flight was getting hit on by the pilots – where the wing-woman was the air hostess. It made for an interesting delay and flight.
I landed, and even though I was tired from the delay, missing the connecting flight and waiting forever in the airport lounge area, I was still ready to go out and explore immediately. After a much needed cup of coffee at Starbucks and some catch-up, we went to a place called Kati Roll. The concept is very simple, but it is absolutely delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about it right now.
Kati Roll wall
Then we grabbed some nearby dessert – rolled up ice cream. I even forget the name of the place, but it was so satisfying.
One of my favourite moments from this trip was the very first day, after food, we decided to get ready to go out and because we were dead centre in the city, we had no place to fix up. So we decided to go to a Starbucks (classy I know) to get ready. To our surprise, we would find ourselves in a hotel room that was being used as a “temporary bathroom”. It was absolutely hilarious…we went up three floors and came to this sign for the bathroom. Opened the door, and there’s a full size bed inside. So confused, we just laughed and continued to get ready in the washroom of the hotel room. It felt wrong, but we followed the signs! It was a *much classier* place to get ready compared to a Starbucks washroom.
We finally made it to a rooftop patio and bar. The view was breathtaking and even though it was freezing outside, the heaters made it bearable. We took pictures, tried on the blanket robes and ran back inside, where we took up a booth and listened to music, drank virgin mojitos and enjoyed each others’ company. All in all, a successful night for having slept only 2 hours!
After being rested and fed, we went on a trip to Long Island City. I met this friend of a friend who was absolutely entertaining. She was funny and friendly and I had such a good time with the both of them. After that, we picked up my other friend from the airport and made plans for the night. Having been up all day and late night the night before, we wanted to do something low key and just chill.
The next day, I forced my friend to take me to Rockefeller centre. And the views were just incredible!
A friend of mine told me about Magnolia Bakery and although the last couple times I went to NYC, I didn’t get the chance to try it, this time I made it a goal. I went, but wasn’t able to try what I really wanted to – banana pudding. They sold out of it. I settled for the amazing cupcakes and a slice of cake. (We shared, don’t judge!)
A must-have for me in NYC ever since I’ve been introduced to it has been the Halal Guys. This time around however, I felt it had changed. It didn’t taste as good as it used to, or maybe my expectations were too high! But it was still very good nonetheless.
NYC getting creative with their metro warnings and courtesy callings.
The next day, I found myself alone in NYC while everyone was busy with work. I quite enjoyed it. This is Bryant Park.
Feeling that sun in Times Square.
New York Public Library
The High Line
Best Guacamole out there!
Another must-go-to place is Max Brenner. A phenomenal chocolatey experience.
Times Square at night is fun! This city truly never sleeps.
My last night, I stayed at a friend’s place in Brooklyn and although we didn’t get to check off all the things on the list, it was such a pretty place and I felt so welcomed and comfortable.
My friend introduced me to quite possibly the best dessert I’ve had in a very long time – a cronut! Soon after I would have an obsession with cornuts! I suggest Dominique Ansel Bakery
cornuts to everyone! Get two, you will definitely not be able to eat two, but you will regret not getting one for later if you don’t get two!
We also made a pitstop at Ladurée … I had to! I was in NYC and there was no way I was going back without these macarons. Next to Pierre Hermé from Paris, and Nadège from Toronto, these are my favourite macarons!
Off I went, back to reality!