It’s been some time since I’ve been to New York. Or the United States normally. If reality, it’s been so lengthy that I needed to look it up. My final journey outdoors Europe was in November 2019! (to Mauritius).
That’s two years and two months with out packing stress, with out having to take a seat in a single chair for greater than six hours, with out that gentle disorientation while you arrive in a brand new metropolis and with out discovering in your lodge that you’ve forgotten your sun shades and swimwear, however packed your gloves and three totally different pairs of trousers – despite the fact that they’re predicting a median temperature of 30 levels (86F).
Boy, how I missed this!
NEW YORK CITY TRAVEL DIARY
Bricks and Face Masks
I’ve arrived in New York, the place I’m on a piece journey with the group of StoneCycling this week. For years, I’ve been managing the social media channels, e-newsletter and weblog for this firm, which makes stunning constructing supplies from upcycled building and industrial waste.
Or, as my mates all the time say: ‘oh sure, these brick guys’.
The group of ‘brick guys’ began with founders Tom and Ward (two childhood mates of Nick) and the corporate has grown over time (alongside everybody who works for them within the manufacturing unit, logistics and monetary division) with gross sales toppers Thomas, Esther and since a short time one other Tom, who I consider is definitely referred to as Thomas, however after all that might trigger an excessive amount of confusion inside the group… in any case.
Planning a visit in Corona occasions is an absolute deal with, let me let you know, however after our triple vaccinations, testing earlier than departure, printing 10 paperwork per particular person and loading the suitcase with face masks, disinfectant and bricks (a.lot.of.bricks – the lady behind the check-in desk had some questions) we ended up deciding to go forward with the journey in any case.
With a diary filled with appointments with architects, designers and builders and after having handed all (well being)checks at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, we lastly dared to have a little bit of a breather on the airplane as we speak. Effectively, so far as that’s in any respect attainable with a rag over your mouth, after all.
Because the flight attendant by accident introduced by means of the intercom: “Women and Gentleman, after your lunch, please don’t neglect to place your face again on”. And that’s precisely what it felt like after being up within the air for lower than an hour. I believe we must always search for a skincare clinic as quickly as we land.
How handy that we’re within the nation of beauty therapies. Fortunate us!
TIP! Learn this humorous journey story of how issues went south for me as soon as at Schiphol Airport (however all was okay ultimately)…
WHICH ACTIVITIES TO DO?
The Journey Tester likes to assessment several types of excursions and actions around the globe.
From well-known vacationer sights to bucket record experiences and from guided excursions to self-guided visits of historic locations, interactive museums, viewpoints, native occasions and way more… if it seems to be fascinating to us, we’ll check it!
Regardless of the place you’re going, with our evaluations you’ll know precisely the place to seek out enjoyable actions!
That is your Captain Talking!
By the way in which, it was clear that I hadn’t flown in a really very long time, or KLM used their lockdown time to tinker with the plane, as a result of I found some good upgrades right here and there.
For instance, there was an actual socket for my laptop computer cable (which instantly gave me time to kind the beginning of a pleasant journey diary), I may lastly use my very own headphones (no extra messing round with a 2-leg enter the place you by no means have the conversion piece with you, so that you’d find yourself with sound on only one half of your headphones and ultimately simply needed to go for the trashy plastic headset they hand out), there was not a sliding window, however a futuristic button with which the glass coloured darker or lighter (okay, personally I wasn’t such an enormous fan of this) and the meals we received turned out to truly be respectable! (a tasty heat pasta with cous-cous salad and heat cheese wrap).
This, together with the truth that the airplane was half empty (and the six of us all had an empty seat between us) and that the flight attendant saved on bringing us beers, pretzels and Dutch caramel stroopwafels, made my first expertise with a long-haul flight after such time very pleasing.
And to high it off, I came upon that we had an hour of free WiFi with the KLM app and I shocked Nick, my brother and my mother and father with a video name, haha! The Future is NOW.
The MOXY Lodge on Occasions Sq.
The sensation of respiratory contemporary air after greater than 10 hours (all and all) with a canopy over your nostril and mouth is nearly indescribable. New York is chilly and windy, however for the primary time in my life I used to be really heat and that feeling nonetheless hasn’t gone away.
It might even have one thing to do with the truth that they actually have the heater set to 25 levels (77F) in all places right here, as a result of we’re sweating, even with the present 2 levels (35F) outdoors, like loopy.
After a (additionally tremendous sizzling) taxi journey we arrived at our lodge, which is situated proper on Occasions Sq.. The MOXY is kind of hip and I share a room with Esther that’s cosy, however stylishly furnished and totally geared up. We take pleasure in a Brooklyn Lager within the bar and enterprise outdoors for a fast stroll across the block.
Simply to really feel a little bit of the environment, after all, despite the fact that it’s now 1 AM on Dutch time.
Tacos & Skyscrapers
As a result of I’m not actively concerned in gross sales at StoneCycling, I’m the journey planner for the actions and eating places for your complete group this week. Lastly I can put my journey blogger expertise to use!
For the primary night time, I discovered the chain Tacombi, which serves scrumptious tacos, burritos and quesadillas in an informal diner-style – with a smile, as a result of to date everybody we’ve met has been actually pleasant.
What’s good is that this department is situated on the backside of the Empire State Constructing. Though after all you hardly discover that while you’re inside, haha.
We mark our orders on a kind and after the primary spherical everyone seems to be having fun with themselves a lot that we shortly add some extra ticks to the record. I’m relieved that everybody thought it was a good selection and I hope it will likely be the identical with my different restaurant selections this week. In any other case it will likely be a spherical of Wendy’s or Taco Bell I’m afraid. Oh nicely, additionally good, proper?!
New York @ Evening
Now that the jet lag has already hit us onerous, we do a fast strolling tour between the excessive buildings and stroll through Bryant Park to Occasions Sq.. Right here it’s (comparatively) quiet, however due to all the massive neon ads and screens it nonetheless looks like mass hysteria right here.
We level to every thing that feels American: take a look at that manhole cowl with steam popping out of it! take a look at that NYPD police automotive! look how the road identify indicators seem like those from Sesame Road! look one other tall constructing! After which we begin to decompose slightly bit.
So again to the lodge to take pleasure in a beautiful night time of waking up each hour attributable to jetlag. As a result of that can also be a bit necessary on a visit to New York. It’s, in any case, town that by no means sleeps.
Or did Frank maybe imply one thing else right here?
WHERE TO EAT, DRINK AND SHOP?
The Journey Tester likes to assessment eating places and outlets all around the globe.
From (themed) eating places, bars and cafes with native specialties to one of the best outlets promoting regional or handmade artisan merchandise and distinctive souvenirs… if it seems to be fascinating to us, we’ll check it!
Regardless of the place you’re going, with our evaluations you’ll know precisely the place to discover a enjoyable hotspot!
When your breakfast consists of sweetened yogurt, a thick slice of cake with icing, a chocolate granola bar, and one other juicy blueberry muffin, right here’s your response to the primary bowl of fruit and veggies you encounter:
New York, you’re stunning, however you possibly can take it a bit less difficult on the sugar. And the heating! Holy Moley, if even I get away in sweats as a result of a room is simply too sizzling, you’ve actually exaggerated it a bit!
Fortunately it’s good and funky outdoors, and the solar has additionally began to shine. Judging by the piles of snow underneath the bushes, it has fallen under freezing within the night time, however as we speak the climate is crisp and clear with a strong blue sky.
An exquisite day to make folks smitten by bricks whereas carrying a face masks in an architect’s workplace that has been heated as much as a sauna!
World Commerce Heart
After working within the lodge for a bit, we divide into groups of two and every have a digital and a bodily assembly with an architectural agency. I group up with Esther and we take the metro to the WTC.
There we ooh-and-ah when seeing the massive One WTC tower, however much more so on the Oculus, the distinctive white constructing that appears just like the wings of a Pegasus horse and inside which yow will discover a practice station and enormous shopping center.
Right here we go on a mission to seek out lunch and after following about 31 arrows over three flooring to a restaurant we by no means ended up discovering, we eat scrumptious poke bowls at a Japanese place within the Gansevoort Liberty Market. Which, once we left the constructing turned out to be proper subsequent to the place the place we entered.
Our step counter needed to get well for some time afterwards.
After the assembly, of which I can’t actually let you know about on-line after all, however that went very nicely, the intention was to return to the remainder of the group within the lodge. We’ve agreed to solely go sightseeing when everybody is finished with conferences.
However… you possibly can’t inform a journey blogger to take a seat inside on the most stunning time of the day, when the solar is shining and you’re proper subsequent to an iconic place. And so I managed to squeeze out one other spherical alongside the WTC memorials (so spectacular) and stroll alongside the Hudson River to the point of view in entrance of the Statue of Liberty.
Simply Like within the Motion pictures
Within the park I used to be nearly robbed… by a bunch of cheeky squirrels (settle down mother) and on the subway again I used to be nearly transformed… by a girl speaking to herself (it didn’t work for me, so additionally settle down dad).
Then we arrived at Grand Central Station and marveled on the stunning inside, my favourite after all being the ceiling with an enormous sky with constellations on it.
A person with a saxophone performs enjoyable music as we step outdoors and we stroll by means of the skyscraper-lined streets as if we have been in a film. Taking a look at all folks carrying face masks, it’s a film during which the world is coming to an finish and Will Smith has to save lots of New York, however nonetheless, a film. I’ll take it.
Sizzling chilly sizzling chilly sizzling chilly, that’s sort of what a go to to New York looks like.
One second you’re strolling outdoors within the solar, then it instantly begins to snow closely, the heating is about to the max in all places, then it’s instantly -10 (14F) outdoors, and after fifteen minutes it turns into an excellent spring day once more. With all of the sirens, music blaring from the audio system, neon lights, tons of scaffolding, dashing automotive site visitors and other people in all places you look, town is a good place to your senses!
Good Biking Journey
In between all of the work, I attempt to benefit from the metropolis as a lot as attainable and so every so often I choose up a bagel with cream cheese, I make means too many images of tall buildings and once we all enterprise out on the finish of the day, I really feel so privileged to have the ability to stroll round right here.
And cycle round, as a result of my fellow journey companions appear to be fearless and luxuriate in hitting the highway at high velocity with their rented Citybikes, navigating the large Chryslers and pick-ups. As we did as we speak, when your complete Dutch enclave cycled alongside the Hudson river.
We see the artsy Little Island, the WTC tower, have our breaths taken away when watching the solar set behind the Statue of Liberty and cross the Brooklyn Bridge to the world referred to as ‘DUMBO’ (‘Down Underneath the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’). It seems to be a hipster spot right here, and we order drinks and pizza on the Time Out New York market, an indoor meals market with a lot of stalls.
In the dead of night, when the entire metropolis lights up, we stroll again over the Brooklyn Bridge. What a view, what an exquisite metropolis. It makes me cold and warm on the similar time.
Only a fast replace, as a result of as you possibly can see I’m veeeeeeeery busy having fun with myself.
Meet The West!
At present we went with the entire group to the placement for which we really made the journey to New York: The West, the building on 11th Avenue the place StoneCycling transformed a minimum of 260,000 kilograms of building waste into stunning bricks in additional than 42 totally different sizes.
An enormous venture that they’ve been engaged on for years (coincidentally along with the architectural agency Nick works for!) and that’s now nearly, nearly completed.
The second we stepped out the door of the lodge, it turned out that the solar of the previous few days had been exchanged for a temperature of -10 levels and numerous moist snow. Once we arrived at The West after our stroll, we didn’t actually seem like individuals who may afford an residence on this stylish complicated. Okay, to be trustworthy, we didn’t try this earlier than both, however an individual can dream generally, proper?
We’re given a tour that leads us from the rooftop with nice views to quite a few communal areas, together with the totally geared up fitness center, barbecue backyard and canine play space. Within the lobby, which is already properly styled, we take the final photos and the boys pat the bricks yet another time earlier than now we have to maneuver on. Such a big venture is after all actually nice for the corporate and secretly we’re all very pleased with the outcome.
By Land, By Sea and in Area
After a brief pit cease on the (nice) bakery subsequent to The West, the group splits up once more to go to conferences, and I mumble one thing alongside the traces of: I’ll go *cough buying leads *cough social media *cough advertising and marketing… which translated after all merely means ‘I’m going to go to a museum and see you once more within the lodge, okay bye!’.
And so I did. I paid a fast go to to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Area Museum, which is situated within the monumental naval vessel USS Intrepid. You possibly can have hours of enjoyable right here climbing by means of your complete ship and all of the interactive reveals, there’s a submarine you possibly can enter and 100 different autos to find, however secretly I used to be right here for just one factor: the Enterprise, the prototype NASA orbiter that paved the way in which for the house shuttle program.
It was actually nice to stroll underneath the big house shuttle and I felt like a toddler in a… er… house museum, so to talk.
The night ended with a dinner the place we received to know Southern American delicacies (learn: a.lot.of.cheese.) and an excellent enjoyable night in a comedy café the place variety of comedians made us giggle.
We received away, sitting proper on the podium, fairly mercifully with solely one in every of us being singled out. When he stated that he was not married, however that he had two youngsters, and that it is extremely widespread in The Netherlands to not be married, you heard a wave of shock undergo the room and the comic shortly shouted that she additionally had Dutch cousins who have been simply as bizarre as this boy and the topic shortly modified haha.
How great are cultural variations every so often, with out it it might simply be a boring world, proper?!
At present I used to be on a mission. On each journey I make, I all the time attempt to discover a memento to make use of in the home to have a long-lasting reminiscence of the vacation spot. In New York we as soon as purchased espresso cups from the Gugenheim museum and as we speak I went out to purchase one other set. As a result of we have already got sufficient magnets on the fridge!
The stroll from the lodge to the Gugenheim is an extended one, about an hour, however the route goes by means of Bryant Park, previous the Rockefeller Heart and thru Central Park, so there’s loads to see alongside the way in which!
Good and Recent
I packed up nicely for the stroll, as a result of the temperature has dropped to -13 (8.6F), however with a transparent blue sky and good solar I can’t complain after all.
In Bryant Park, the fountain is totally frozen and the skating rink at Rockefeller Heart additionally seems to be easy. The skyscrapers shine superbly within the solar and I take pleasure in myself like loopy.
By way of just a few outlets, such because the all the time good to go to Bathtub & Physique Works (the place I purchase good bathtub provides) and a bagel store, I arrive in Central Park, an oasis of peace within the predominantly hysterical Manhattan.
Lunch with Obstacles
The second I sit down on a bench in Central Park to quietly eat my bagel, I instantly discover that the American variant of the Dutch saying ‘to have somebody eat the cheese out of your sandwich’ is right here ‘to have somebody eat the cream cheese out of your bagel’. Inside seconds I’m surrounded by all types of squirrels that come to say their share.
I already felt a bit like strolling round in a Disney fairytale, however I didn’t need to stroll by means of the park singing with birds on my shoulders and squirrels at my toes. That, and the truth that sitting on a steel park bench at -13 won’t have been one in every of my smarter actions of the day, so shortly I resolve to maintain on strolling.
In any case, I’ve practically 30 blocks to stroll to get to the museum, so there’s nonetheless an extended strategy to go.
Exit through the Reward Store
As a result of we stroll round with a face masks all day lengthy, I like to take as a lot contemporary air as attainable this week, so I’ll skip the museums this spherical.
I visited the Guggenheim earlier than and though the constructing is nice, I discovered the exhibition that was there on the time a bit disappointing and I grew to become extra enthusiastic in regards to the reward store. So this time I went straight there and scored not solely two new espresso cups, but additionally a fruit bowl which might be all the identical form as the skin of the constructing. So I sort of take the museum dwelling with me.
It’s Friday, Yay!
Again on the lodge, the ‘VRIJMIBO’ (the Dutch abbreviation of a Friday Afternoon Workplace Celebration) is in full swing and we’re on the brink of have a pleasant meal and go to a hip gin bar. Close to the Chelsea Market we discover an excellent restaurant with Israeli meals and since it seems to be New York Restaurant Week we get a set menu with all totally different dishes that we share.
The group has turn into very shut this week and now we have numerous enjoyable collectively, which continues till the late hours. After the gin bar (a darkish speakeasy with a gold bathtub in the course of the bar… sure, it was as cheesy because it sounds) somebody had the spontaneous concept of pulling up an enormous black limousine on the nook of the road and we drove to Brooklyn, having fun with loud rap music on the way in which over, to go to a membership.
Effectively, that was the thought, as a result of apparently this membership was so in style (or perhaps simply the one one nonetheless open at the moment) that the road turned the nook. After nearly an hour and a half ready at freezing -13C we gave up earlier than any of us needed to go to the emergency room with hypothermia.
We met some folks in line and so they took us to their native dive bar, a squat-looking shed with two punks behind the bar and music that appeared like somebody was continuously dumping a cutlery tray onto the bottom. However the Budweiser was tremendous and the environment nice, so when the lights got here on at 4 am we have been really disillusioned that the occasion was over.
The subsequent morning all of us took a handful of paracetamol with our breakfast and we needed to look again on the images and movies we took to recollect the place we had been precisely, however… we went out in New York and had an excellent night. Mission achieved I might say!
It’s all the time finest to spend the day after an intense night time out as quietly as attainable.
That’s the reason as we speak I paid a brief go to to the comfortable Williamsburg district. We additionally all did a Covid check, due to course we need to stay slightly accountable… and to have the ability to fly dwelling tomorrow would even be fairly chill.
There are a number of vans on Occasions Sq. the place you may get examined free of charge and after standing in line for some time and getting two sticks up our noses, we heard in lower than 20 minutes by e mail that we have been all tremendous.
If we are able to consider the blokes from yesterday’s bar, nearly everybody right here has already been knocked out by Omikron round Christmas and our boosters have apparently carried out their job nicely. Fortunate!
Now, I’ve to say that New York is dealing with the pandemic nicely from what we may inform. I’ve seen only a few folks strolling round and not using a masks (most of them additionally put on them on the road right here!) And at each museum and restaurant it’s important to present your vaccination certificates and ID card. You too can discover a van or tent on nearly each avenue nook the place you may get examined free of charge. Europe may take an instance from that!
Williamsburg & Brooklyn
Whereas there was numerous partying in Brooklyn final night time, as we speak it’s an oasis of peace. We stroll by means of good Williamsburg and eat a sandwich within the solar.
Afterwards we go to just a few outlets and an indoor market with native companies and we purchase a big fruit smoothie to deliver the nutritional vitamins ranges again as much as the required degree.
New York from the Sky
We return to the lodge, as a result of three of us are going to do one thing actually cool: take a helicopter flight over New York!
I received’t come alongside and loosen up for some time within the lodge, which I actually wanted, however once I see the images and movies and listen to the enthusiastic tales from the others once I return, I can’t secretly really feel slightly little bit of FOMO, despite the fact that I’ve I’ve already made a helicopter flight 3 times earlier than (in Australia, Italy and Austria).
However flying above the New York skyline is after all very particular! Subsequent time!
Harlem & Residence
We finish the day with dinner in Harlem at The Grange, the place the chef serves us extremely tasty issues. We ate actually scrumptious all week, nevertheless it’s all the time good while you discover that you’ve made a good selection.
When you, as a chef, may even put together Brussels sprouts so nicely that everybody who ordered them is ooh-ing and ah-ing, then you’ve gotten expertise. My grilled artichoke hearts with aioli and handmade ravioli are additionally actually heavenly.
After dinner, the thought of experiencing the environment in Harlem by visiting a jazz bar is not excessive on the bucket record for most individuals. The busy week, the chilly, the numerous impressions, the hangovers and basic exhausted-ness seem to have performed its toll. And so it’s again to the lodge and a final good night time’s sleep earlier than now we have to fly once more at 7am tomorrow.
Personally, I all the time favor to be the one who turns off the lights within the metropolis at night time, however going into Harlem by myself after 11 o’clock within the night doesn’t seem to be one thing that might get my mom very excited, so I’ll adapt this time, if solely with slightly reluctance, haha.
It’s getting actual: the final hours in New York have arrived.
Every week full of recent impressions all the time passes in a short time and though I all the time know this prematurely and attempt to take pleasure in each second as a lot as attainable, the top all the time comes slightly unexpectedly and it all the time makes me slightly wistful.
Bye New York!
I strive to not assume an excessive amount of in regards to the taxes I’ve to type out subsequent week, the great distance dwelling with slightly an excessive amount of baggage, the mountain of laundry that’s coming and all of the assignments I’ve to work on once I get again , and as a substitute attempt to make one thing of the final moments right here.
Among the best methods to try this, in my view, is to go for a pleasant stroll by means of town. Now that the temperature has gone up a bit and the solar is shining, it is usually an ideal day for it!
The Excessive Line
The group divides into pairs and a few go go to a museum, others climb into a big skyscraper and along with Tom I stroll to the Hudson Yards to see the Vessel and stroll down the Excessive Line. We chat about a lot of issues and I discover that I actually missed assembly new folks and having fun with the second with no actual plan.
The previous two years have been secretly very tough due to Corona and particularly as a freelancer the place nearly all of social contacts rely on touring (overseas) it’s generally only a little bit of a lonely affair. I can not look ahead to the foundations to loosen up much more, in order that we are able to all begin doing extra enjoyable issues collectively.
As a result of this journey to New York has confirmed it as soon as once more: the world is gorgeous and there may be nonetheless so much to find. And the expertise is all the time just a bit bit higher when you possibly can share it with one another.
Or as this stunning quote on a mural alongside the Excessive Line says:
“I’m not eager about competing with anybody – I simply hope all of us make it.“
Thanks for studying, huge hug, be variety to one another and see you quickly!
WHERE TO TRAVEL NEXT?
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