November 25, 2016
I first visited New York in high school for a choir competition. We were tourists. Teenage tourists. We went on many tours which included the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial, Central Park and Rockefeller Center. Although I had been to a few large cities before, NYC really does take the prize. So last year, I decided to take the plunge: go alone to New York City.
I purchased my tickets about a week before Thanksgiving which gave me plenty of time to research and plan every moment of my time in the Big Apple. I was, after all, only in New York for 23 hours and 15 minutes.
Talk about a rush! My Lyft driver drove from LaGuardia Airport to the South Street Seaport and dropped me off at Brooklyn Bridge Bike Rental. I wish now that I had taken more pictures but at the time, it was dark and rainy at just past 2 p.m. More than anything, I was focused on keeping myself on the sidewalks and avoiding cabs. After 2 hours, I was damp and sweating under all my layers. The predicted weather for that weekend was mid-40’s during the day and mid-30’s at night so I was prepared to freeze. After returning my bike, I strolled a few shops down and saw the Paris Cafe on the corner which was already decorated for Christmas. I grabbed a to-go coffee and hailed a cab to my next destination.
It began to rain as I jumped from the cab and ran inside the Staten Island Ferry terminal. I arrived just in time to run up the ramp and into the mouth of the ferry. The 25 minute trip was smooth and enjoyable-it could even be romantic! We docked at Saint George terminal on Staten Island. Since I hadn’t made plans to venture out of the terminal, I made my way onto the next ferry back to the city. I could have visited the Staten Island Museum but it can wait for another day! As we arrived back at our original terminal, the sky finally opened and drenched everyone and we scattered to find shelter. Being unfamiliar with where I was, I jumped in a cab and headed uptown. I had originally planned to visit Washington Square Park after the ferry but the rain had washed that plan away. I ended up on Broadway searching for a great dinner spot. I stumbled upon Atlantic Grill off 64th and Broadway. I loved the cozy atmosphere and friendly faces. I chose a spot at the bar and chatted with the bartender.
As recommended, I ordered the Dynamic Lobster Roll and it did not disappoint! I chatted with a nice older couple, shared a drink with them and said my goodbyes. I crossed Broadway and approached Lincoln Center. At just a few minutes before 8:00 p.m., I took my seat in the upper mezzanine to see the beloved Nutcracker ballet performed by the wondrous New York City Ballet. One of my favorite ballerinas, Ashley Bouder, was performing and she, as always, gave a stellar performance.
After the show, I met up with a few friends for drinks in the Upper West Side until the wee hours. I woke around 5:30 a.m. and walked a few blocks to Central Park.
The park was bustling with runners and dogs. I stopped in for a hot tea to-go at the coffee shop near the baseball field. There was a chill that morning which was not helped by random gusts of wind so I held on to my cup for warmth.
On my way through the park, I passed Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the Mall (my favorite!), Wollman Ice Rink and the Pond.
I reflected on the brief but exciting adventure I had just experienced. I think I was smiling all the way to the airport, even though I was sad to be leaving. I surprised myself. I actually did it! There is an old stigma that says women shouldn’t travel alone. I say this is largely outdated. If I can do it, anyone can! Fear is the greatest motivator. Fear has the ability to propel you forward or it can stifle those desires. How could I? Who would go with me? What would I do? I can’t.
“What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson