Ah the city that never sleeps. We were beyond excited as we drove into New York on the Greyhound, while listening to Alicia Keys’ solo version of ‘New York’ to set the mood.
On arrival, we instantly got lost in the fast pace of commuters running in every direction, though we managed to hail a yellow cab which took us to our hostel.
Words cannot describe this place; it was simply awful. Instead of a room to retire to, we were given a prison cell along a corridor with pieces of wood slotted in as dividers; the whole place was cold, dirty and smelt disgusting, so much so that we felt like caged battery hens. Our “room” was two beds squished in next to each other with just enough floor space left to stand up on. This isn’t us being princesses by the way, we’ve been to our fair share of gritty hostels and campsites, but this was in a league of its own. If you would like to have a look at the reviews of this place, look here.
However, the location was convenient and we had a roof (just about) over our heads so we didn’t let this ruin out final few days in America. That evening, Alice’s friend Janina who lives in New York took us out to experience the nightlife. We worked our way through various bars, getting a little merry along the way.
Next, we hailed down a taxi which drove us past Times Square, which is breathtaking by night. I can still conjure up in my mind the excitement I felt when I first saw it. The next and final stop along our crawl was a rooftop bar. Reliving Vegas! I was smashed by this point, and being so high up meant the wind was getting in my eyes. As a result, I apparently kept screaming at Alice, “I’m crying! I’m cryingggg!” To add the cherry, a local guy named Josh told me he was a professional ballroom dancer, so next minute, I was enthusiastically ballroom dancing around with him on the rooftop.
Our first day of exploring in New York was a comical nightmare as we had $6 between us due to a delay with both our money transfers. We quickly spent this on our meal for the day-one shared MacDonald happy meal. Nevertheless, we had a brilliant day walking through Times Square visiting the many shops and attractions on offer. Next, we visited the New York State Library which was very exciting because I do love words. We also walked past the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Tower and had a wander through Grand Central Station. Over the following two days, we walked across Brooklyn Bridge, sailed past the Statue of Liberty and visited the MET museum. Ah, my love for television echoed all around me in this city.
We were fortunate to be in New York over July 4th – Independence Day. To celebrate, we headed over to the Hudson River to watch the fireworks. The surrounding streets were ridiculously crowded as thousands of people gathered to walk to the river. It felt like a military operation just getting there, with one guy commenting out loud, “we’re like sheep to the slaughter!” The fireworks were incredible though and definitely worth the crowds. During the walk back into the city, we heard a little girl of about three years old complaining that her feet hurt, to which her mother replied, “yes everyone’s do, not just yours!” So mean!
The following day, our USA roadtrip came to an end, though not before I left my passport at KFC, which I fortunately tracked down. We parted ways at JFK airport, with Alice in tears, and I with a heart of stone. This was a journey of a lifetime that I will never forget!