I’m extremely sad to report that this was my last full day in the city. These last ten days have been so incredibly wonderful! I’m so glad I chose to come here. This is perfect timing because now I need to go home and pay off my credit card. The bank has fixed the error that was made, so at least I have the money to pay off the card! A special thank you to Chase Bank for getting their act together!
Today was good. I probably walked somewhere around 4 or 5 miles around downtown, trying to fit as much in the day as was physically possible. I did some more shopping- don’t you know I hate shopping but managed to find some more shirts and another pair of pants to wear when I go out.
I thought the perfect end to a perfect trip would be one more musical. I highly recommend you see this one when you’re in the city. Anastasia was extremely good! It was much like the cartoon, only take out the magical Rasputin character and tell what was really going on in Russian history with the Romanov family. I don’t know how accurate the storyline was, but the woman who played the part of Anastasia was perfect! I will definitely be back to see this one again!
Tomorrow morning I will board a plane and fly back to Denver for a week of work trips and then head home to Utah for a few days. I am so blessed to get to have these experiences! I hope I never become a person who takes this life that I’ve been given for granted. I’ve met so many coworkers who often do! I hope they can find whatever it is that makes them happy.
I can’t wait to come back to New York City! Wanna come with?
My downtown hotel is a sad joke. It is located right in, or maybe just outside of Chinatown. No big deal, that’s access to some great food, after all. I walk in the front door and there is a very long staircase leading up to the front desk. When I reach the top, I have to ring the buzzer to get the clerk’s attention. He buzzes me in. Makes me wonder what this neighborhood is like. Do I dare go out at night?
This definitely was NOT the picture on display when I booked the room via booking.com. Let me describe it to you- picture a twin size bed… and that is all I need to describe the size of the room. No shelves, no vanity, no desk, no window. There was, however, a fan bolted to the ceiling (who needs a/c?). Oh, let’s not forget the stains on the ceiling tiles, from a leak in the room above me.
The restrooms are shared ones down the hall. Each bathroom smelled like either urine, feces, sweat, or some combination of those smells. It’s the kind of hotel where you know beyond that shadow of a doubt that you will be wearing shower shoes, even if you decide to just stay in your own room. The only good thing about the situation is that I saved [some] money by staying here. I really don’t hang out in my room. Rooms are, for the most part, a place to sleep and a place to store my stuff. That’s it.
Tonight was more musical theatre. I can now say I have seen the live version of Sweeney Todd. The set was a carbon coby of Harringtons, a pie shop that exists today in London. It was more like a dinner theatre, the way the cast used members of the audience in their act. Very clever! For an additional fee, they offered “pie service” where you showed up to the theatre early and ate some pie. Very clever, it being Sweeney Todd and all. I didn’t want the pie service as I’m already not eating as healthy as I should. This is an excellent movie to see for Halloween, by the way- well maybe if you’re a mature adult. The whole premise makes me hungry.
New York City really isn’t New York City unless you stop to buy a hotdog from a guy on the street. For me, it’s always the same: a sausage (they’re larger and spicier than a regular dog) with sour kraut and mustard. There is simply no better way to eat a dog on the street! Your argument is invalid.
Today was a day for two musicals! Months ago, I bought tickets to Waitress, but it was for a matinee’. I had the night free and decided that it was best to go see another musical. I discovered this terrible app called TodayTix. The reason it’s terrible is that it takes the unsold, or returned tickets to events and sells them to you at a fraction of the price. It’s usually a good deal, but I noticed that some of the prices weren’t really deals at all. A few clicks and swipes and I was also finally able to see Miss Saigon!
I met Evelyn and Elaine while waiting in the Waitress line. They are with a senior citizen group and are from Long Island.
Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant that was decent at best. You can always tell if the food is going to be good by how the chips and salsa taste at the beginning. My salsa was weak, probably closer to ketchup than an actual salsa. The main course was a little better, it was some kind of fish with plantains. I would order it again, but I just wouldn’t get the chips and salsa there. No, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant.
I don’t have much to report on today. This was more or less a day of rest. It took about 4 hours to get from Staten Island to my next stop, which is the Bronx (Walk to the train, train to the ferry, wait for the ferry, ferry arrives and then breaks down for about 45 minutes, ferry ride takes about 30 minutes to Manhattan, then finding the right train that would let me transfer to another train that would take me all the way up above the Bronx zoo- it was exhausting!).
This is the first time I have stayed in a hotel on this trip. When I was booking, this seemed like the best option. After my long commute, I thought the best thing to do when I arrived was to try to take a nap. That didn’t happen, as they’re pounding away next door, building or renovating something. I was so tired, I didn’t even think about putting in earplugs.
I gave up and hopped back on the train, went down to Chelsea and walked around until I found some Mediterranean food for dinner. It was ok- some kind of lamb shoulder, I believe. Nothing worth blogging about, but here I am blogging about it.
Later on, I was looking for the right train to get back up to the Bronx but finally gave up. Come to find out, the train I needed wasn’t in service because they were doing some construction on the line. Instead, I got a Lyft ride back to my hotel. My driver took me via the upper east side, which reminded me that I really need to explore that part of the city as well. So much to see, so little time! That will happen on another trip.
I just finished breakfast at Mike’s Place, a restaurant that has been here for at least 20 years. The food is diner food, but it’s really good! Sort of like Denny’s but better. My Airbnb host, Ritaanne suggested that I try it since it’s only a few blocks from the house (and her son works there). One thing I didn’t realize last night is that the house here is about half a block from the shoreline! It’s so great! She told me that there once was a nice walkway and wall, but it all got wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, a few years back.
Words of Wisdom
I decided to take the train and ferry back over to Manhattan and explore a little before having dinner at Mirandi. This is the first this year that has felt like autumn is coming because of the overcast weather. I came to the ground zero, the 9/11 memorial site, and I was very pleased to discover that they’ve removed the wall, so you can now walk up all the way to the fountains without having to wait in line or pay any fees. I noticed that you only have to pay to get into the museum. I’ll have to check that out another day. Also, nearby there is a new mall. The area has changed so much!
A New Mall
I love coming to Mirandi! I try to get here every time I’m in the city if I have the time.
This is what I’ve been waiting for! The ferry ride back to Staten Island was perfect with the night view of the city! What a wonderful view! I have to give myself kudos, these pictures turned out rather nice, even though they were just taken with my iPhone 7.
Brooklyn: My major complaint against this Airbnb is that the hosts didn’t provide me with any bath towels. This means that yesterday I had to dry off with my clothes (this was annoying because all I had were dirty, stinky clothes), and this morning I had to dry off with paper towels. Hopefully, after I check out and they come down to clean the apartment, they’ll see all the paper towels in the bathroom trash and take the hint.
Manhattan: My lunch was terrific! I have always been a fan of ramen noodles, even the cheap kind you buy when you are a poor college student! They’re delicious and comforting. A dear friend told me to try out a restaurant called Ippudo. This was the ultimate ramen! I will be coming back for future visits!
Staten Island: I have arrived at my next stop- I had no idea what Staten Island would be like. It seems so much more relaxed than the fast pace of the other boroughs. The ferry to cross over from Manhattan is entirely free, and I look forward to crossing tomorrow night again to see all the lights on the shore!
My Staten Island Airbnb is probably the nicest one I’ve ever stayed in. So many of these places are created as an afterthought. People want the income from renting out their business, but they all don’t seem to want to put in the time or effort to make it feel like home. I really can’t complain about my Brooklyn stay, but this new place is so much more comfortable! It has that feeling of home.
It is 100% necessary that I have pizza while I’m here. This is not negotiable. I’m not a huge fan of pizza, but since I’m in New York I must do as the New Yorker’s do. I just tried to grab a piece from the restaurant nearby, until I found out that they don’t sell it by the slice. As glutinous as I am, I dare not eat a whole pie. So I’ll get pizza another time.
This afternoon I’m sitting near the waterfront, right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. My western skyline is the giant buildings of Manhattan. I love this city. I would hate to live here. I love this city. I just finished lunch. I settled for a burger and fries at Shake Shack. It wasn’t the pizza experience I was craving, but an experience still. Very overpriced, but this is a tourist area and this is New York City, after all.
Fulton Market, Manhattan, New York | 14:35
I just crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge- this is something I’ve always wanted to do! Not really bucket list worthy, in my opinion, but this is probably one of the most (if not THE MOST) famous bridges in the world. Seriously- every natural disaster movie has a scene where the Brooklyn Bridge falls into the water and thousands of people die. Lucky for me, there were no natural disasters (or Godzillas) while I was crossing.
After crossing the bridge, I turned left. I decided to walk around the lower east side, one of the parts of the city that I’d never explored. I stumbled upon the Fulton Market. This is a great area to explore! Now I’m sitting in probably the nicest, swankiest cinema I’ve ever been in. Waiting for American Assassin to start. Ticket cost me $20… and that was for the cheaper seat! The expensive seats are $32 and they come with a personal concierge/ server. I opted to carry my own beverage, rather than having it delivered to me by a servant.
For dinner, I found a Pret A Manger. This is a restaurant that started in France (I do believe) and has spread to many countries. I first discovered it in Scotland and am happy to learn that there are 92 of them in New York City, so far. You can go there to get fresh made sandwiches, soups, snacks and sweets. They believe in sustainable farming, getting produce locally, and all kinds of hippy crap. Their food is so good! Even though the sandwiches are premade, they have no expiration date so everything is removed and donated at the end of the day.
Tonight’s broadway was The Play That Goes Wrong. It was really funny! It’s basically a play that is supposed to be serious, but the actors keep screwing everything up. One has stage fright, another is an over-actor, etc. Also the set is very cheaply made, and so it keeps falling apart. It’s like a grand comedy of errors. Tickets were only $35! It was a great deal, even though my seat was way up in the nose-bleeds!
Brooklyn: So much to write about- I hope I’m don’t get too tired before I finish this entry. I woke up this morning at about 08:00. I decided that I’d walk the 14 miles from where I was in Jamaica to where I needed to be. Yes, that is correct. My thought process was this: Think of how many beautiful pictures I can take along the way!
After 6 miles of walking through sketchy neighborhoods, I was done walking. I stopped at a gas station and bought an egg salad sandwich and a bottle of water. I ate it in the park across the street. With food in me, I felt like I could handle the next 8 miles. Keep in mind, I have a heavy backpack on and am dragging a roller bag behind.
About a mile later, I knew that enough was enough. I called for a Lyft. See- my intentions were good, but as they say- the will is strong, but the flesh is weak. Soon, a driver met me and took me to Brooklyn, near my next Airbnb.
Once he had dropped me off and had left, I realized I had left my backpack in front of the house where I’d called for the Lyft! I am such an airhead sometimes! I start to freak out a bit. Inside that bag is my iPad and other expensive things!
I considered not going back for a brief moment. I felt that by this time, my bag would have most likely been stolen. I didn’t know what I should do, so I stood on the side of the road and said a prayer. I can’t afford to be throwing away iPads (especially 12.9-inch ones)! I decided to call another driver to take me back to where I’d left the bag.
A guy named Joseph came to pick me up. I told him the story, and he sped the entire drive back. Most of the ride, I’m chatting with him, acting like this is no big deal. When I’m not talking with him, I’m praying, hoping that my bag hasn’t been stolen. We get there, and low and behold- my backpack is there against the tree where I’d left it.
I’m so happy now that I could cry! I’m trying to keep it together in front of Joseph as he drives me back to Brooklyn. He told me that if I’d have left it anywhere in Brooklyn, we would have never found it!
I found my Brooklyn Airbnb, which is an entire story in itself because the Airbnb app sent me to the wrong location when I’d asked for directions. Thank goodness I was able to find it on my own! By this time, I’m so exhausted from the walk and the drama that I bring to my own life, but I’m thankful. I tried to fall asleep for a while but was unable to calm my thoughts. So I just lay there, pretending to be asleep for about half an hour.
Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant on 8th Avenue called Chef Yu. Incredibly delicious chicken with curry sauce. I love finding new places to eat! I love food! I’m surprised that I’m not four times my size!
Tonight I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was so cool! It very much reminded me of the movie but didn’t follow the same storyline. I had to call Kas, my sister-in-law because I remember she’d once told me that it is a story that she enjoyed.
I haven’t read the book yet, but a friend sent me a link explaining that the original idea for Charlie was to write him as a little black boy. But in the time it was written, that wouldn’t have gone over too well, is my understanding. This was discovered in an interview with the author’s widow. Click here to read the article.
Jamaica: The bed here is so comfortable! I was mentally checked out last night by about 20:00. I slept all through the night until about 06:00 and then got up, showered, and ventured out to find something for breakfast. I met Roseann, my host, on my way out the door and asked if she could point me in the right direction for breakfast. Something local that isn’t part of a chain.
The restaurant she suggested wasn’t open yet, so I walked down the street until I came to one called Tru Jerk & Soul. I asked the lady behind the counter if they had anything for breakfast. She turned around and started lifting the lids on a bunch of pans. This was not a traditional breakfast food in the western sense- no eggs, bacon, pancakes, or anything like that. She told me that the food was authentic Jamaican. She gave me a plate with white fish, potatoes, some greens, and okra. It would call it southern style, but nothing was fried. It was very delicious! She made me a to-go plate, but I ate it all there.
After breakfast, I walked around for a while, wondering what there was to see and do. I consulted the internet, and it didn’t offer much help. I saw a park, a few churches, some more restaurants, but that’s all there was. I did come across a grade school, just as all the kids were making their way inside. The students wore uniforms, and as much as I wanted to take some pictures, I didn’t want to be the creepy guy who is by himself, taking pictures of the little kids. They were cute as hell, though. Instead, I headed back to the house to prepare for whatever was next.
The house was shaking because they’re doing construction nearby. I noticed on the map that it’s about a 3-mile trek to the nearest train station. I plan on walking there, to avoid having to stand around waiting for any busses. I need to get an early start toward Manhattan. Wicked tonight!
My walk to the rail station was just over 3 miles! I could have called for a Lyft, but the more I walk, the more money I can save since this entire trip will be on a credit card (thanks to a $1400 mistake by my bank)- the less I swipe my card, the better.
When I stepped off of the subway in Manhattan, it was only a few blocks walk before I came upon a street that had been blocked off by the police. This was the yearly San Gerrano Festival. I had no idea that I would find this, but there was every kind of street vendor imaginable. All the fried food a guy could ask for in life, games with prizes, and all the restaurants had set up select dining areas out on the street itself. It was awesome!
The Feast of San Gennaro (Festa di San Gennaro) is an Italian-American festival. Originally a one-day religious commemoration, the festival was first celebrated in the United States in September 1926, when immigrants from Naples congregated along Mulberry Street in the Little Italy section of Manhattan in New York City to continue the tradition they had followed in Italy to celebrate Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples. His feast day is September 19 in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.
I grabbed lunch at a restaurant called Paesano. I wasn’t craving Italian food, but I had to pee like a racehorse, and I saw a sign that read: RESTROOM IS FOR CUSTOMER USE ONLY. At that point, it didn’t matter what kind of food they were serving. I was going to eat something so that I could use the facilities. The food was good!
I made my way to the SoHo Apple Store for a few minutes. I was hoping they’d have the iPhone X on display, but the guy in front told me that they wouldn’t get any until we can preorder them. I’m going to have to wait, in other words. I’m not sure if I’m going to order one or not. Yes, I’d love one, but there’s nothing wrong with my iPhone 7. If I do get one, I’ll pay for it by working extra trips, so I don’t have to spend any of my savings or go into any debt for it. I’m a responsible adult, after all (yeah, right).
I walked further south and then ended up coming north to Washington Square Park. That was a great place to sit and rest for a while. There were thousands of people in the square. It was mad! Many people love to be in the city, but I think they need these parks to keep their sanity.
I walked north until I got to Time’s Square. This is the place to go if you ever want to people-watch. Every kind of person is here, including this man whose name is Jason Hunter. This is his song/art piece called Ignore. It’s was catchy, albeit annoying. You can Google the words ‘Jason Hunter Ignore,’ and this same song comes up on YouTube. It seems as if he’s been pushing this same art piece for a while now.
Finally, it was time to make my way to The Gershwin Theatre and see Wicked. My seat was next to a girl who was visiting from Pahrump, Nevada. She told me she is in town for a continuing education seminar, something to do with nursing. She’s traveling by herself and says this is her first time in New York City.
This cast of Wicked is probably the best cast I’ve ever seen! The girl playing Elphaba had an incredible range, and she did some things with the high notes that I’d never heard before. This is my fourth time seeing this musical, and every time it just gets better! The first time was with Colee when she came to visit, the second time with LaDawn, the third time was when the traveling company came to Louisville, and I went with friends Ashly and Tammy.
Every time I see this play, it just gets better! There were even moments when I got goosebumps or a little bit teary-eyed. I know the storyline, and I know what’s coming, but this cast did so well, I was in constant chills!
I grabbed a Lyft outside when the play was over and rode back to Jamaica. This was a long ride and one that cost me about $60! So much for saving money- I only did this because I wanted to get back faster. I’m not sure how late the subway runs, but I knew that even if I rode back that way to Jamaica Station, I’d still be getting a ride for that last 3 miles.
I love my life so much and so I often I feel guilty that I need a vacation. I guess need is a harsh word. I want a vacation, that is. I would like a brief escape from my everyday, where I won’t have to set an alarm in the morning. I thought that it was time to check off another item on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to spend a week in New York City, as I first mentioned here on December 10th. (Link: https://davsaddiction.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/2189/) As of today, this dream is becoming a reality.
Years ago, I went to New York City for 4 or 5 delays with my friend Colee and her friend Amy. Even though that’s close to a week, I haven’t checked off bucket list item #72. This is because it wasn’t a full week in the city and because we actually stayed on the New Jersey side, taking the Weehawken ferry over each morning.
I arrived at the airport way too early! That’s the thing- if I’m going somewhere that is fun or exciting, I don’t sleep very well. I woke up at 04:00 and after 45 minutes of laying there, I decided it was time to get up and get ready. My flight doesn’t even leave until 10:20. I remember the same thing happened last year when I was going to Scotland. My body woke up so early, long before the sun even came out. My flight wasn’t leaving until about way late in the afternoon but I want to get to the airport. I remember Dawn having to tell me to relax and go back to sleep. There is no way I’d be able to fall back to sleep! Why even try?
I’m having trouble staying awake in the airport. After I get my boarding pass, in another 38 minutes, my mission is clear: Find a Pepsi.
DEN > LGA | 10:54
My seat is 27 C. The girl in 27 A told me that she is an art student on a class trip. There are about 20 students in their group, and they’re going to spend a week in New York City where they will go to different galleries. She told me that she is excited, but a bit nervous about getting around in the city. I told her not to worry and that it’s very easy.
The guy in seat 27 B is a Yogi and he’s making his way to London where he is going to attend University for the next 18 months, this will be his first time flying internationally and he’s also excited. London is wonderful, and he’s going to love it! I’d like to get back there someday. I’m somewhat jealous. At the moment, he’s sitting cross-legged doing some kind of meditation. At least he doesn’t smell like he hasn’t showered. I sometimes worry when the person next to me has dreadlocks. It’s my understanding that you can’t really wash your hair with dreads. Yes or No? Who knows?
I’m watching Lara Croft: Tomb Raider on my iPad. I don’t think Angelina Jolie does a very good job with the Lara Croft character. I’m scratching my head wondering what caused me to purchase this movie in the first place. It must have been on sale for like $4.99 or something on the iTunes store. Perhaps I bought it because Daniel Craig is in it. That’s very likely- he’s a great actor!
Jamaica, New York | 18:42
I finally made it to New York City! After a 50 minutes Lyft ride (that only cost about $32), I’m happy to have found the first Airbnb. The neighborhood is very cozy and homely. It seems rather safe. My studio apartment sits above the family home. It’s small, but more than I need. I will post more tomorrow. It’s early still but I’m extremely exhausted!