Impressions of a City: NYC
The Good, Bad, & Smelly of It All!
I have to be honest with you, I have mixed feelings about New York City. I think I went in with my expectations much too high, so the letdown was somewhat inevitable, I suppose. To be fair, I believe that had I experienced NYC for the first time in my 20’s & 30’s, or even pre pandemic, I’m sure my experience would have been different. As it is, I was setting foot in the city for the first time at 45, post pandemic, and it was an outright assault to my senses and overwhelming to say the least.
Day 1 (13,638 Steps)
We arrived in the city just after 3pm, checked into our hotel, had a mini rest and headed out the door by 4:30pm to walk to B&H, because no photographer goes to NYC without visiting B&H. In true, you only have this one afternoon to complete this task style, it was pouring down rain, and in spite of having umbrellas, we were soaked by the time we got there. Soggy sneakers, making squishing noises as I browsed cameras wasn’t how I’d always pictured my experience, but it is what it is.
From there we ventured to Madison Square Park to enjoy a burger from the original Shake Shack for dinner. The burger was as you’d expect, albeit slightly undercooked, but the atmosphere was lovely. I really enjoyed MSP, as it was contrasty and vibrant just after the rain, making it quite visually appealing. It was also a bit of respite from the crowded streets around us, so I was thankful for our time spent there.
Once we had our fill of the lovely serenity of MSP, we moved on to our last stop of the evening, Times Square. And let me tell you, I would have been perfectly happy to make that our last time there. It was insane and really not worth all the hype. We did end up having to go back through the area on several occasions to get from point A to point B, but I can certainly say I wouldn’t go out of my way to experience it again.
We headed back to our hotel after that, for some much needed rest after our long day of driving and exploring the city. And I went to bed that night thinking, this is NYC? With the trash piled up everywhere, the smell of urine, garbage, and marijuana constantly assaulting your nostrils. The constant honking, sirens, and construction. This is what everyone raves about? I knew I was either going to be majorly disappointed in the rest of our trip or I was going to have to view this city with a fresh set of eyes the next morning. And that’s exactly what I did!
Day 2 (26, 039 Steps)
The next day, my husband got up early to do some street photography and I slept in. When he came back to the hotel, he brought breakfast by way of Liberty Street Bagels (so yummy & OMG that schmear!) which was much appreciated. And then we headed out to our first experience of the day, The High Line.
This is one of my favourite parts of the trip, as it got us above street level and away from some of the noise and smells, and gave us a different perspective from which to see the city, all while being surrounded by nature. I can’t recommend it enough! While on the High Line we made a few stops, such as Little Island and The Vessel.
After all that walking we were hungry, so we headed to 2 Bros Pizza for a slice and enjoyed it in Bryant Park. We followed up that slice with a taco from Los Tacos #1, because hello, food is yummy!
We then headed over to Rockefeller Center to enjoy the Top of the Rock and to also check out 5th Ave shopping, and of course, a stop in at St Patrick’s Cathedral. And the rest of the evening is a blur, as we were exhausted from all the walking and exploring. So, we grabbed some dinner close to the hotel, had ourselves a nice meal and a leisurely walk back to the hotel, and just stayed in for an evening of rest.
Day 3 (32, 244 Steps)
This was our last day in NYC and we woke up super sore with blisters on our feet and not much motivation to get up and go, but alas, we managed to do just that. We got an Uber to take us to the Brooklyn Bridge for early morning and were able to explore and photograph that beautiful structure without too many people around. Sweet!
From there we explored the DUMBO area of Brooklyn where we grabbed a bagel for breakfast and enjoyed the vibes of the neighborhood. We’ll definitely be going back to that area on our next trip to the city. It was so much nicer in Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn than in Midtown. Lesson learned!
We then made our way back to Midtown, stopping here and there for interesting landmarks and some snacks & lunch. We really enjoyed this day, but I have to be honest, we were in pain! Blisters on our feet, aching legs, and it was hot. We stopped at the Bull, Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Washington Square Park, The Ghostbusters fire house, other small parks, Central Park, and then we ended our day with dinner at Smashburger. Whew!
It was a whirlwind visit and I came away from it knowing we’d be back again, and feeling better prepared for that future visit. I now know that staying in Midtown (with all it’s noises & smells) isn’t going to work for me, so we’ll make sure to get something in lower Manhattan or Brooklyn next time. My husband came away IN LOVE with NYC, but of course. He loves street photography, so no matter the conditions, he was loving it and can’t wait to get back.
Now I am preparing for the rest of my trips this year. In a few weeks we are taking a quick weekend trip to Erie, so I can enjoy some shopping and yummy foods I can’t get here in Canada, eh! And then in August we head back to Alberta for some more exploring of The Rockies and Calgary. Sometime after that I have to figure out a time to see my son in the states (still unsure of how that will play out), and then for Christmas we are off to Hawaii! I’m so, so glad to be back to traveling. I know we are incredibly blessed to be able to make these trips happen, and I am forever grateful.
Until next time… be loving, be kind, be better!