September 19th, 2007, my first trip to New York City.
My friend, Lori and I dreamed all the places we wanted to go.. we pulled out an old atlas of Lori's, circling all the places we'd love to travel to..our big wish list item was NYC. And honestly I didn't think we'd get there but Lori started scouting out airlines.. we looked into hotels.. and before we knew it.. we were booking tickets on a flight sale to NYC to celebrate Lori's 40th Birthday!
In less than 2 months we planned for our big adventure.. What we thought would be way to expensive and out of reach was really do-able and affordable. We skipped over the hotels.. way to expensive.. we wanted something that would give us a better taste of life in NYC then a hotel could. We looked at different hostels and Lori booked us into a 4 person room on the Upper West Side at the Hi-youth Hostel. We were a block away from the subway line making it super easy to get around the city, purchasing a 7 day bus pass (genius of the city.. wish more places did this). The only cab ride we took was to and from the airport.
The Hi-Hostel, had some unique site-seeing opportunities, movie nights, a new kitchen at the time was being built but they had a morning cafe for about $4.00 you could get your bagel, coffee, and fruit salad.. (it's probably gone up since 2007). You meet a ton of people from around the world.. including a few New Yorkers that reside there. At the time we paid $30 a night..super cheap in comparison to a hotel.
I don't think even if I took a third trip, I'd be able to find all the little great spots in NYC.. there's so many, the jazz clubs, the flower stalls, the diversity of people, the quirky and the sometimes strange, all make you fall in love with the city.
When you go.. pack really good walking shoes.. skip the car rental.. Ask if your lost.. I never felt unsafe in this city, even at night (but use your wits always).
Visiting the Empire State.. skip the cloudy days.. you won't see much.. and go early to avoid the lines.
Do Visit the 9-11 Memorial. The paper cranes pictured below were sent from children from Japan, sending peace to New Yorkers.. They are a work of beauty! ..bring Kleenex!
People watch, play chess, go to the outdoor markets, ride the Stanton Island Ferry (it's free), explore.. rest your feet.. find an Underground Cafe and plan your next visit to this incredible city!
If you need a photographer.. call me! I'll gladly join you!