NYC is a city I’ve been desperate to explore since always. Momentous and classic. Films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York beckoned me. Of course, Seinfeld and any Beastie Boys music video played a similar role. It was only a matter time after moving to Rochester that Megan and I would explore the Big Apple.
NYC is an intimidating beast, especially for first timers. Where do we start? Where do we stay? How on earth do we drive? Thankfully, Megan and I were joined by two experts: my work friends Kevin (yes, another Kevin) and Anthony. Kevin Two grew up in Brooklyn, so we couldn’t have asked for a better hometown tour guide and “city driving” expert.
What Other Kevin didn’t tell me was that he couldn’t drive at night without his glasses. Annnnnd he forgot to grab his glasses. This meant I had to, wait for it, drive into bustling Manhattan on a busy Friday night, first time in NYC.
Was I nervous? Scared? Thrilled? Probably all of the above. But when it came down to it we were fine. See, I was trained in the mean streets of Los Angeles and Hollywood where everyone drives like a maniac (not just the taxis). Manhattan was a juiced up version of that.
I’m happy to report that everyone survived (including my car), and besides a few near death experiences, the ride was surprisingly smooth.
122… 122 1/8? You’re Standing On It, Dude
Manhattan was… Manhattan was…
Well, let’s start here. Manhattan was crazy. We saw everything we could possibly see in our one day of subway and foot travel. It was incredible.
I could talk all day about Manhattan. To save time, let’s employ some bullet listing.
Things About Manhattan I Loved
- Street vendor food
- Central Park
- Grand Central Station
- Plaza Hotel (and its food!)
- Times Square
- Staten Island Ferry
- Shake Shack
- 5th Ave & FAO Schwarz
- Empire State Building view
- Seeing a giant rat in the subway
Things About Manhattan I Hated
- Getting swindled $60 at the Empire State Building (Stay away from NY Skyride!)
- Times Square (I can only handle so much)
- Not enough time to ever see it all
Megan and I stayed at the New York Loft Hostel in East Williamsburg. Williamsburg is (what I’ve learned) defined as the hipster end of Brooklyn. Then, what is the difference between Williamsburg and East Williamsburg? East Williamsburg is definitely Grunge Hipster.
The sun set, and we watched the street flood with hairy and smelly young twenty-somethings selling artwork, books, street rock n roll, handmade jewelry, and vintage everything.
It was so grungy, in fact, that I was half-expecting Sam Rockwell to offer me a carton of cigarettes. But I loved it. It was neat. And the hostel was eclectic and bizarre. Really, I’m not entirely sure it was a hostel. It may have just been a club that you sleep in. I don’t know. Williamsburg is weird.
Things About Brooklyn I Loved
- Williamsburg Flea Market
- Park Slope (driving tour only, due to time constraints)
- Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge views
- Bedford Ave
- Blue Bottle Coffee House
- Slightly less stressful driving
Things About Brooklyn I Hated
- Actually, I have no complaints. Needed more time!!!
Thanks for reading. What are your favorite NYC spots? Any advice for a return visit?