Given that 2020 has been the kind of roller coaster where you’re pretty much upside down the whole time, and current circumstances have completely changed how I envisioned this summer to be, I have been thinking a lot more about last summer. Summer 2019 was one for the books — I had graduated, spent my first summer in years summer quarter free (yay no school), and most memorably, I went to New York City.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. It was my little graduation present to myself. I don’t have a great explanation, but New York was someplace I’ve wanted to visit for a while. Having lived in big cities, I’m used to the hustle and bustle, but New York is truly the ‘something else’ I wanted to experience and be a tourist at.
Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of places, foods, and cultures that I want to experience worldwide that are more exciting than a try to New York. However, given that I didn’t want to break the bank before starting my full-time job, and wanted to go on a short trip to not be away from my family for too long (my logic with international trips is to go at least for 10 -14 days). It’s the Big Apple — known for entertainment, fashion, and food– what’s not to love? And to appeal to finance nerds like me, it’s an economic icon.
I made it my mission to EAT on this trip. Don’t worry, I will be dedicating an entire post on what I ate in NYC. Trust me, I ate a lot … of ice cream. Partially because I had a running list of all these places I wanted to try– Dōh, Milk Bar, Grom– but also because it was SO HOT. I went in mid-July, during one of the hottest weeks of that summer. 75% of the trip there was a heatwave, and the other 25% there were thunderstorms and flash flooding. NYC welcomed me with open arms, clearly. I found myself walking into shops on 5th Ave just to refresh myself with a few minutes of the store’s cool air-conditioned atmosphere. For someone who’s always cold, I became BFFs with AC. You can imagine how refreshed I felt spending a few hours at the MET Museum.
Regardless, I wanted to experience NYC to the fullest, and look cute in the process. I even had to buy an emergency heat-wave dress in the middle of the day because my denim shorts were giving me a heat rash! Earlier, when the morning was a little cooler and there was a slight breeze, I was comfortably wearing a cropped t-shirt and denim mom-shorts, but as soon as it hit mid day, I was so unbearably hot that I started getting a heat rash right on my waist from the thick denim. I knew I should’ve worn a dress that day. I didn’t want to just buy any dress — if I was going to buy more clothing it needs to be something that I would want to wear for the rest of the day, feel good and cute in. Conveniently (for me, and not my wallet), while we somewhere near Union Square, going on our way to the Financial District there was an Aritzia nearby. Unsurprisingly, I went in and got myself this Philoméne Dress, and rocked while nerding out in front of the New York Stock exchange.
Of course, it isn’t a trip to New York without the views! Instead of going up to the top of the Empire State Building, we wanted to see it. So here I am On Top of the Rock. We were here for about 3 hours just to get a few perfect shots of the view with different lighting and colors as the sun sets. Rockefeller Square was actually a ton of fun — good food, shops, and views. Somehow we would find out way back around here and find something new to try, eat or see. Definitely a go-to tourist attraction!
I don’t remember whether this was intentional, but my hotel was literally 2 blocks (if even) away from Times Square– I was able to see some of the flashing lights and sounds from my room! It’s no joke that this is the city that never sleeps, because regardless of what time it was, Times Square was glowing. Almost every night after dinner I’d go walk around here and browse the shops or check out the food. One day, I walked a little further north and discovered my favorite pizza place of all time: Joe’s Pizza. As a pizza lover, I checked it out, only to realize it’s a famous pizzeria. There’s a giant wall of celebrities who visited the pizzeria, and it was also featured in Spider Man 2! I enjoyed it so much, I purposefully went again to make it my last meal in NYC right before heading to the airport — got to save the best for last!
Another must see view is Brooklyn’s Dumbo. We went quite early in the morning to avoid crowds of people trying to capture the “perfect” shot here. I think it was 9am and it was already packed. I still have no idea how I managed to get solo shots here without anyone in the background! This was one of the farthest places I had to go to from my hotel — thinking about all the walking to get here (and the whole trip) is exhausting. Fun fact: one of the pictures of me taken here got featured in a WestJet travel magazine!! Of course, I can’t take credit for the photography– the art is the real star of the show, not me– but I’m excited to have a cool new fun fact to break out!
There was SO much more that I saw that I could go on about: the United Nations Headquarters, FRIENDS apartment building, the Oculus, Grand Central Station, Flatiron building, Central Park, Washington Square Arch, and Staten Island (and the ferry). It was a ton of fun to activate my tourist-mode and experience the city as a newcomer — I’m itching to travel again!