After leaving DC, we made a stop in Philadelphia to Tony Luke’s for some philly cheese steaks. It was good with their pickled peppers…but I expected more from one of the best philly cheese steaks in Philly. As we were making our way to our friend’s place in Queens, we didn’t even realize we were in Manhattan. We’ve been going through so many cities, that we initially didn’t even know we were right in the heart of it! It sounds stupid…because it is.
So the next morning I was greeted with a parking ticket. The signs in NYC are so confusing! They have arrows going in every direction with time frames displaying obscure requirements. We drove out to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge and found a prime parking spot only to find that a permit was required. We find a great spot soon afterwards, but it seemed too good to be true. However, after the morning’s mishap and another close call, I think my paranoia was justified.
We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and rented Citi Bikes for the day. It’s a system of bike stations that are scattered throughout the bottom half of Manhattan that allows you to see all the tourist attractions. It only costs $10, but here comes my rant. The software and number generation system that you must use to undock a bike is so glitchy that we spent a good amount of time trying to undock bikes or walking to the next closest station to make another attempt.
Anyways, our day was basically a food tour. It was a good thing that we were walking and riding bicycles all day to counteract all the calories that were being consumed. Here they are in pictures.
My personal favorite was the pastrami sandwich at Katz Deli. You haven’t had a pastrami sandwich till you had it here! Seriously…they gave a small sample as they were carving off the meat for our sandwich and it was as if the floodgates of saliva just bursted from my mouth. Yeah…I’m salivating by the mere recollection of the experience.
As we were walking in Times Square, I heard “Free tickets!” but kept on walking. With a second thought, I suggested to my friend that we should check out what kind of tickets were being passed out. They were tickets to the Letterman Show for the next afternoon…but we were planning on leaving NYC the next morning. My friend was able to answer a Trivia question and we earned the tickets!
By the end of our food tour for the day, we took the Citi Bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge and returned to the car. Lo and behold! My car was not towed and there was no ticket! Woohoo! We returned to the car with one of the doors unlocked…but nothing was stolen. EVERYTHING was in the car, so we definitely dodged a bullet there. We then drove into Manhattan and really struggled to find parking. The combination of an exhausting day coupled with the fatigue that built up over the course of the trip, the tipping point came when I just couldn’t find parking in the heart of Manhattan. I ended up having to pull over just to recollect myself. My friend took over and we found parking the at the next block! Here are some of the things we saw that day.
The following day, we hung out in Central Park. It baffles me that there is this incredible park right in the center of Manhattan! It’s very dimensional and beautiful. It’s almost enchanting how the frenzy and the noise of the streets are dampened out to make for a serene atmosphere. As we left the park to head for the Letterman Show, heavy rain came in out of nowhere!
Now when I imagine the people who reside in New York City, this is what I think. From what I’ve heard and known, there is a notion that NYC is one of those places you go to “make yourself.” There is no doubt that there is an extraordinary pace and vibrance that illuminates from the city. People come here to bring their dreams to fruition. People who are raised here, grow up with this kind of energy and I think it rubs off on them as well. This is all great, but I think it can be a double edged sword. Whatever task is at hand, they have tunnel vision and they are not willing to stop to see what surrounds them. They are not to be troubled. They are not to be bothered. I have definitely met two people who were exactly that. However, I have also met a good number of people who did not fit into my idea of a New Yorker. It was nice to actually put my perceptions to the test and see the city for what it was.
A special thanks to Andrew and Bohe (hope I spelled that right) for hosting us during our stay in NYC! You guys are awesome!