After I graduated in December 2017 with my Bachelor’s, I wanted to travel. It was like an itch I needed to scratch. Before, I went on family vacations to North Carolina. Where we were reminded to put on sunscreen, mini golfed, and consumed Brit’s Donuts like maniacs who had never eaten anything in their lives. Or, I went on day trips with friends and family to DC to get out of the small town for a bit.
But two weeks ago, one of my best friends, Maecy, invited me on a day trip.
To the Big Apple.
I had never been to New York. I had only been exposed to the dazzling lights and dizzying culture of the city by SNL, songs, and movies. I was so excited. My wanderlust would be quenched.
I proudly dressed as a tourist that was stuck in the 90’s. I wore my denim overalls from Old Navy (40$), H&M crop top (13$) and red Vans I borrowed from my sister (priceless). The only thing that I was missing was a Canon camera hanging from my neck. I am in love with my overalls and my fraternal grandmother swears that red is one of my colors. Thus, this outfit was born. I am sure Rachel from Friends would have pulled off this look.
We took the Mega Bus from Washington DC’s Union Station to 34th Street in New York, New York. It was a four-hour bus ride full of laughs and naps.
The first stop on our day trip was to eat. We arrived at New York at 2:30 pm and because of our excitement (we also had to run to catch the bus), we did not have breakfast. Bravo’s Pizza was by the bus stop, so we wandered there to eat. Everything smelled so good. I ordered a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza – because I’m a carnivore. Maecy had spaghetti and garlic knots.
DiGiornios may challenge Dominos but it cannot touch New York pizza. The crust is just so crisp, the cheese has Guinness Book of World Records-elasticity, the toppings were delicious, and the marina sauce was fresh and tasted like tomatoes. That sounds weird. “Of course, it would taste like tomatoes,” you would say. Just try a slice of New York pizza and you will get what I mean. I was enamored with the first bite and mourned the loss of my new love after I swallowed it whole.
After lunch, we started our trek to Times Square. On the way there I saw Macy’s. You know, the Macy’s in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “It has seven stories to it,” my human Maecy informed me as I stared at the building. It was an amazing feeling to see it up close, instead of behind a tv screen while eating ice cream floats and judging the performances, (a family tradition).
I yelled “I’m walkin’ here!” every time we crossed a street. We had to push against the crowd which consisted of: businesspeople, parents with their leashed or free-roaming children, and other young adults visiting the city. We also had to dodge cars because apparently, cars have the right of way, not pedestrians.
Have you ever been overwhelmed with beauty? That happened to me when we arrived at Times Square. Maecy ordered me to close my eyes as she guided me through the crowd.
“Open them,” she said.
The ginormous screens covered me with radiant light. I was like a moth attracted to manufactured flames. I could not look away. At every angle were silver towers that suspended me in wonder.
I fell in love with New York City at once.
For the rest of the day, Maecy and I ventured around Times Square.
We walked around the H&M store which was just … huge. Three floors of clothes and shoes and people and lights. They even had a television screen that showed people in the photo booth on one of the floors.
When we were done with H&M, we came across the Bridezilla Museum of Natural Hysteria. It was as amazing as it sounds. An animatronic T-Rex dressed as a bride waved at us to come in. We obliged. It was a whole museum dedicated to drama queens and “bridezillas” from the WE TV show and history. In the first room were photographs of models dressed as Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and Marilyn Monroe with bios of their marital careers. Next, we bathed in some ice. By “ice”, I mean diamonds. By diamonds, I mean plastic ones. They had a bathtub full of these crystals that you could take pictures with. We did. Next was a wall that said “CRAY” spelled in flower arrangements; because we were going nuts about this museum, we took a picture with the wall.
The Bridezilla Museum of Natural Hysteria was one of my favorite places. The staff was great, and the displays were hilarious. Sadly, this pop-up museum is transitioning onto the next thing. Even though I can’t take another “ice” bath, I am excited to see what happens next.
The M&M Factory was the following stop.
If you love chocolate this is the place for you. The store has three stories. Each floor is as colorful as the next. There were flavors and colors of the candy that I had no idea existed. They even gave you a chance to make your own assortment of the chocolates.
We walked around Times Square more afterwards. As we did we met interesting characters such as a musician who was named “Marqus” (that’s Marcus with a Q) and came across a street artist. He was a Bob Ross of spray paint, truly. Within two minutes he created a scene of skyscrapers with mysterious planets in the background. Maecy and I bought his finished work.
Maecy suddenly told me to cover my eyes. I did without any questions or objections. I peeked only to be able to watch my feet to avoid tripping. Maecy grabbed my hand and guided me through the crowd. She would periodically ask if my eyes were covered and I would reply that they were.
HAMILTON glowed at me with its yellow lights. The logo of the musical waved at me with it’s one finger. I could not believe it. I still cannot believe it. The cast of the acclaimed musical were singing “Wait for It” or “Satisfied” in the building. I was so close to Lin Manuel Miranda. (Even though he is not playing Hamilton anymore).
This was not the only surprise my tour guide, Maecy, had in store for me.
There was one more stop, and we had a little time left before we had to meet our bus.
At 8 pm, we took an Uber to the Brooklyn Bridge. I thought that would be it. That we would pass by the luminous bridge because we were running out of time.
Wrong again, Kate.
Maecy had us dropped off at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Which has an ice cream shop, tree lights and… a perfect view of the skyline.
The New York skyline.
Even though it was foggy the day we visited, it was still beautiful. The skyscrapers glinted across the river at us. The Empire State Building stood tall and crowned by the fog. It was breathtaking.
So, a small-town girl took on the Big Apple, and I enjoyed every bite of it. From the food, to the sites to the people. I even learned that Madison Square Garden was not a garden at all.
New York City is wrapped in history and technology. With so much to see and do there is no wonder that the city never sleeps.