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A Day Trip to New York

USA | Monday, 25 June 2012 | Views [881]

Watching endless episodes of SITC and Friends as a teenager, I longed for a quick day trip to NY for a whip around the vintage shops of Soho ending with an impromptu jazz performance in an underground bar and copious amounts of empty cocktail glasses before me. I imagined all sorts of sophistication that I could experience.

Living in Sydney Australia, this is an impossibility. Not even a quick morning flight would get me close to NY for a day trip because it would take me a whole day to get there. And another to get back. Not quite worth the DVT’s I would be certain to suffer.

I did however get the wonderful opportunity for countless day trips to NY after being sent to work in Philadelphia for a few months. Poor me, I had to throw myself on the sword big time to land such a horrible assignment!

The irony was, that it took me a few weeks muster the courage to go to New York. I had been given a comfortable hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Trevose which was to be my home for three months. Trevose is a cute little place 45 minutes train ride to downtown Phillie and an hour to New York (via Trenton on the Amtrak). There were rabbits and deer in my view as I looked out my hotel window. Not exactly urban, but a very cute place to hang for a while.

As company in my hotel room, I had a massive TV complete with remote control. (I mention this as we don’t have TV or remotes at home - by choice - so this was an absolute indulgence). My first few nights of jetlag were spent watching the TV, specifically endless hours of Law and Order - all filmed in New York. It scared the bejesus out of me, being the drama queen that I am I conjured up images of the NYPD finding my white Aussie body in Central Park and having to try to identify me.

After a few weeks I succumbed to the lure of the Big Apple with my $20 return ticket.

Forty minutes into the train ride I could see the monstrous buildings of the magic city gleaming in the morning sun, Springtime - shiny, warm and silver. I alighted at Madison Square Garden and felt my heart beat for what seemed like the very first time. I could hear myself breathe - like a scene from Barracca where the yellow and black taxis breathe their way up and down Times Square and Broadway. (obviously no more since this has become all pedestrian!).

I set foot in a random direction which led to a corner cafe after a few minutes walk. I drank my coffee (I admit openly that I’m not a fan of US coffee, I ate my pastry (I openly admit I am a fan of US pastries), and I “people watched” for an hour.

I walked to Battery Park and jumped on a ferry to Staten Island. And then I caught the next ferry back. I waved at the great lady (aka Statue of Liberty) and I ate a take away pretzel the size of a small loaf of bread with yet another cup of Americanised filtered coffee (aka a cup of warm brown water that tastes like earth).

I took a million photos of the acrobats and buskers in Battery Park and sneakily the amish families enjoying a picnic lunch.

I ended my first day trip in Times Square, outside Bubba Gumps calling my daughter to let her know where I was. She didn’t care, it was 3am at home.

On another day trip I spent an entire Sunday wandering all over Central Park. I joined a Spanish dance lesson under magnificent trees, I listened in to the storytellers at the Lewis Carrol “Alice” statue and ate a pastrami sandwich at the Boathouse restaurant. All by myself. I watched kids roller skate in the Park at a mini fair and again I called my family to tell them of my adventures. I wished they were with me sharing these adventures.

Another day trip saw me buying gifts for my family along Fifth Avenue, and another was purely an art gallery day.

Not once did I find myself on the film set of Law and Order and not once was I confronted by a loud obnoxious taxi driver yelling “Go back to Jersey” to other drivers. New York is a cliche, and most of them are worth smiling/laughing/crying at.

Next year marks a significant birthday of a dear friend who lives close to New York and has the luxury of having a day trip on a more regular basis than I do. So I have decided to join her for a few weeks and live like a local for a little while.

Tags: amtrak, central park, fun, law and order, new york, pretzels

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