Saturday, March 21, 2015

NYC Part 1: Travel so Life Doesn't Escape You // (Plus City Layout Guide)

For some reason, I go through this point in my life a couple of times a year where I grow very restless. I begin to feel trapped within the confines of my living space or even the entire city in which I am living in. It’s as if there is this innate part of me that only thrives when it is on the move-- experiencing a change in scenery. That is exactly the state in which I found myself the couple weeks leading up to my trip to New York City. I had been anticipating this trip since Christmas Day when my friend Morgan sent me a text message with a picture of a card from her parents stating “Good for 1 ticket to New York!” We had been discussing the idea of traveling to New York the past couple months (ever since we became friends on our trip to China and Taiwan!), but a small part of me kept thinking it wouldn't ever happen. Suddenly, my childhood (and adult) dream of roaming the streets of the Big Apple would become a reality. It might sound a bit dramatic and overexcited, but New York has always seemed like some sort of distant, out-of-reach land to me. It’s the backdrop to some of my favorite movies (You’ve Got Mail, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 13 Going on 30…) and television series (Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Sex and the City, Seinfeld…), but I always felt it would be just that--a work of fiction. For some reason, I never thought the opportunity to spend time in NYC in my twenties would present itself.

But it happened.

For my Spring Break trip, Morgan and I met at the LaGuardia airport on Saturday, March 7 where we began our adventures until our departure back to reality (aka the Midwest) on Friday, March 13. I am going to break down my trip into a couple of days per post (otherwise I would have an incredibly long post.)

First I wanted to give a little background of the layout of this magical city. I think it is a bit overwhelming unless you break it down into boroughs and neighborhoods. Before planning this trip, I didn’t know much about the layout of the city, and quite honestly it probably won’t make sense until you actually immerse yourself in it. Most people don’t realize that NYC is comprised of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Usually people only see Manhattan, because that is where all of the tourist attractions are located. However, I was able to get a brief taste of 4 of the 5 boroughs (whether it was by subway confusion or not…that is open to your interpretation :p) Below I have placed red dots on which ones I was in.
(Isn't it crazy how large and odd of a design this ONE city is?! It blows my mind!)
However, like most visitors, we were mostly in Manhattan—which is a gem all on its own! Breaking Manhattan into neighborhoods is also really helpful. Here is a list of some of the main neighborhoods:
  • Downtown
  • Financial District
  • Little Italy & Chinatown
  • Tribeca (Taylor Swift lives here…I repeat, Taylor Swift LIVES here!)
  • SoHo (Short for “South of Houston Street”)
  • Lower East Side
  • Greenwich Village
  • Midtown
  • Flatiron Distict
  • Chelsea
  • The Garment District
  • Broadway & Times Square
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Uptown Central Park
  • Upper East & West Sides (think Gossip Girl!)
  • Harlem

I have included another map which I added red dots to a number of the main areas we found ourselves. 
I also have a pink square that depicts where our hotel, the Roosevelt Hotel, is located.

Speaking of the Roosevelt Hotel...I highly recommend these accommodations if you are ever planning to visit New York. Located on the corner of 45th and Madison, it is an excellent location. It only took us about 5 minutes to walk down to Grand Central Station to get ANYWHERE! We stayed in a room with 2 double beds for a total of $140 per night (split between two people.) The building is beautiful the foyer area is filled with historical ambiance and chandeliers. If you time your trip right, there is also a rooftop bar. From our comparisons, we really couldn't get much better of a deal. (Beware: Don't expect free wi-fi connections in this city unless you are at your nearest Starbucks!)

Back to the districts! My favorite of all the districts is the Financial District--surprising, right?! I loved walking through Battery Park and gazing out at the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River. It is such a jewel in the concrete jungle. I will go into more detail on this area when I post pictures from those days.

I once heard the quote, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” That resonates with me so perfectly. I don’t think that my urge to travel necessarily has to do with me wanting to escape the realities of my busy and sometimes hectic life. Rather, when I go through the motions of my daily life, I sometimes forget to stop and appreciate my surroundings and this beautiful life I have been given. Changing my surroundings, even for a brief period of time, allows me to look at my life and this world with a refreshed perspective. That is exactly the renewal that New York provided me.

I am so excited to share more about my adventures in my next post. Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment