Alone in New York City

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

From the whole life the three places that most? I wanted to visit were London, Paris and New York.
At the age of 27 I managed to make the first two, the third was missing.
Unable to convince any friend to come with me ... too expensive, difficult to match the holidays, flight too long, maybe I go there for Christmas with my boyfriend, etc ... Excuses that were postponing my trip.
In April 2012 my boss tells me that if I want to take a week off (the last one was in August of the previous year) this was the moment. Thinking that I would end up doing the usual relaxing week at home, I go to Edreams and start watching random flights, to dream a little. I watch flights to New York for fun. Direct flight to / from Malpensa? JFK with American Airlines about 370 ?. Departure 18 April. In a month. I look and regard in disbelief. I start calling friends at random in the hope that someone wants to catch the ball. I only collect maybe.
But? too tempting and I'm starting to think it's a sign. I book. Alone. Just for me.
Initially I tell myself what time a month will I find? some travel companions but, once booked, happiness? ? too much and I start thinking only for myself. And in fact, I'm leaving alone, nervous and super happy like a superfan in front of his favorite actor.
Now I have to figure out where to sleep. Overpriced hotel and B&B alone. Apparently horror movie hostels. I ask for help from an acquaintance who had been there some time before. I discover the Airbnb site. Apartments, rooms, sofas for rent for a day or for months all over the world. And can you see the reviews of who there? already? was not to go blindly into the house with strangers.
After a few days of contacting various owners, I choose my apartment. Single room in a flat with three other people, fifth floor, East Village, in Lower Manhattan. About 50? per night, very honest.
I spend a month between the web and the Lonely Planet guide, I study everything possible and I prepare a very detailed battle plan to see everything I want to see without wasting money and time. A week in New York spending less than 1000? all included, can you? do and I am proof of it.
What? on April 17 with my suitcase I go to Milan to sleep with a friend.

1 day

DAY 1? WEDNESDAY 18 APRIL

Early in the morning I take the train to Malpensa and, in advance as usual, I find myself at the baggage check-in (I had already checked in online), I go through customs and finally I get on the plane. 10.30 am take off.
First flight overseas, first flight alone. The approximately eight hours of flight pass quickly, two films, a sleep and excitement make the hours go by. The time zone doesn't affect me too much. Before landing I fill out the customs form to be delivered to JFK. Then the plane lowers and I begin to see the skyscrapers ... speechless. New York time around 13.30: we land. Incredulous I get off the plane.
After the thousand American customs checks (fingerprints, various declarations, photos and questions about the work I do, why I am alone and what I intend to do ...) I look for the Airbus that connects the airport to the Metro. It costs only 5 ?, then do? the metro card for a week, 26? about, to be able to move freely? and in the most? cheap.
I got off the Airbus and got on the Metro. Are people social, much more? sociable and kind than in Italy. I chat, I get along quite well with English, and they give me useful advice. Almost an hour of travel in the elevated Metro between the neighborhoods of Queens and Brooklyn where I begin to observe the less fashionable and perhaps more? true of the city. It seems to be in another world and I think I am dreaming. The Metro goes underground just before arriving in Manhattan. I go down and finally touch the ground of the teeming island with my feet.
With the map I reach the apartment. I live next to Madonna's first New York home when she came there in the lush 80s. I play and a colorful boy opens up, dressed only with his long hair and a kind of boxer / panties. He is the brother of the owner, I d? the keys and show me my room. He sleeps in a tent in the living room. S? exact. Strange type, but? nice and kind. I know the other two tenants and settle in my room.
Small but very nice house, fifth floor without elevator but, fortunately, since I plan to do a lot of shopping, my suitcase on the way? semi empty. My room ? very small, a little messed up but perfect for its purpose: to just sleep in it.
Let yourself pass 5 minutes to realize that, yes? am I really in the East Village in New York, I go out, the desire to explore? too much. It's 17.00pm, I take the Metro and go straight to Times Square, in the psychedelic heart of the city. I head to the Rockefeller Center, I want to go straight to the Top of The Rock. From Italy I had already? purchased on Expedia the New York City Pass (about 68 $) that will allow me? to see a number of things / museums / places at very low prices and without queuing. I collect it with my printed voucher at the Top of the Rock ticket office and go up. It looks like Gardaland. Glass elevator where looking up you can see, among the lights, the very fast ascent through the skeleton of the skyscraper. Heaven not? very clear but the view takes your breath away. In front of me the Empire State Building, behind Central Park. I stay for a while on the terrace, chat with some French tourists and then I meet a very nice attendant of the building who sees me alone and decides to take a photo shoot with my car, so that? I have pictures with me too.
After a good half hour I get off, explore and look at things up to now only seen in movies. Lots of details catch my attention. Especially the people. The faces. They are smiling, they look happy, long faces are rare here apparently. No fear even if I'm alone. People everywhere at any time. Indeed, I feel much less safe in Italy without a doubt. Girls and women alone do not hesitate, travel.
I sit on the red staircase in front of the giant billboards to look at the skyscrapers from that point, but my attention is captured by a shop in front of me: FOREVER21, super fashion and super low cost clothing and accessories chain. Five gigantic underground floors of pure temptation. I go crazy and, if a second before I had thought of going home to sleep (since it was getting dark and since, with the time zone, it was now one in the morning passed in Italy, and I was therefore up for more? 20 hours), I change my mind and decide to immediately indulge in some restorative shopping. Average price of a pretty dress: $ 15. I do not underline how much that store is pure joy for a woman ... I let you imagine. I inform you that they also sell online anyway ... ☺
So I lose an hour there? inside, I go out that the sun is setting between the skyscrapers, beautiful, I chat with two New York brothers who take me to the right Metro stop and I go home. A stone's throw from the apartment I discover that I have a gigantic WHOLE FOOD MARKET, a semi-organic supermarket, with anything you can imagine, above which c '? a glass terrace overlooking Houston Street where you can stop and eat what you buy. I buy a strawberry chicken (I wanted to try something new), milk and breakfast cereal, and go home. I eat chicken (semi-terrible) in bed and write emails (there is wifi in the house) in Italy to warn me that I'm alive. And it's now 22.00pm, I've been up for about 24 hours, I fall asleep as if dead.





2 day

DAY 2? THURSDAY APRIL 19

Perhaps due to time difference, perhaps due to anxiety to see, at 6 am awake. Breakfast and go out. Goal: Liberty and Ellis Island.
I get off on Wall Street and go to Battery Park, there are only a few workers from the super offices, the city? still dozes a little. Clouds in the sky. I meet a strange giant bird walking around the park (they tell me it's a "Turkish" ... boh), it looks like a mega pseudo grouse to me. I wonder what he's doing there. I walk along the sea waiting for the time to take the boat and, when I get on, the sky opens and every cloud disappears.
The boat trip? short but? very nice to see the Manhattan skyline from afar. Disembarkation on Liberty Island, the sun is shining. I go around the island, I observe the statue but I don't go up, I enjoy the show from below. After less than an hour the ferry leaves for Ellis Island, tour of the museum and then I'm back in Manhattan.
I go to Wall Street, pass by the former World Trade Center looking at the void it leaves, but sensing the rebirth, in fact the works of the new skyscraper are proceeding fast.
Wall street? like in the movies, imposing buildings and well-dressed men with briefcases. Do I eat one of the many hot dogs with mustard I eat? in NY (the mustard is much better than ours).
Another shop to see: CENTURY21, super outlet, almost a supermarket, of clothes and accessories by every designer in the world. It is necessary to poke around calmly since? gigantic and endless people.
At this point I get onto Broadway and drive north across Manhattan for hours through Soho. Characteristic and interesting street, very street style, full of nice little shops where to shop. Arrived on Houston I head to Washington Square Park to rest for a moment. Here I meet an Argentinian guy with whom I begin to chat and, chatting (I told you that here they are all super social), we cross Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District to then arrive on the High Line, the old elevated railway now transformed into a walk / park very nice. Drank a Bloody Mary with the Argentine under the High Line, I'm going home,? late. I try Vietnamese food ... but I must have chosen the restaurant wrong ...: /



3 day

DAY 3? FRIDAY 20 APRIL

As a super fan of the world of cinema and amusement parks, I can only go to Coney Island at dawn after about an hour on the Metro. A surreal atmosphere greets me and a sign that says "Little Russia on the sea". In fact how will it have? way of noticing? the neighborhood populated mainly by people from the East, very nice among other things. I love that passersby call me "Young lady" to give me directions or something ... And here is the beach, Brighton Beach. The promenade along the promenade that runs alongside the amusement park is also beautiful.
I'm there to enjoy the sun on a bench for a couple of hours, the view takes your breath away, then I go back to the Metro, c '? still a lot to see.
I get off in Brooklyn, Dumbo neighborhood, to take a short walk and to find access (less easy than expected, I got lost a couple of times) to the Brooklyn Bridge why? I want to walk to Manhattan to see her approach. Twenty minutes at a good pace, plus? longer than I thought. A thousand films come to mind. The bridge ? gorgeous, old fashioned, but? the Manhattan Bridge on its right is also impressive.
I stop to watch a show of freestyle dancers just off the bridge, after which? I go right, here I am in Chinatown. After having explored the neighborhood and also the now non-existent Little Italy (reduced to Mulberry street), lunch with an Italian couple with whom I exchange information. Do I drink my best coffee here? New York, cold with ice, at Mac Donald's ... you do ... :)
In the afternoon, I head to Union Square and the Flatiron District. The Flatiron, located where Fifth Ave cuts Broadway,? a building with a very interesting design, especially considering the years in which? been built. I explore the area a bit, do the shopping, and then walk home,? pi? easier than you think getting around Manhattan. I have dinner in my neighborhood what? full of students and clubs, then read.



4 day

DAY 4? SATURDAY 21 APRIL

Is it 8 o'clock, the sun? high in the sky and the temperature? pre-summer, perfect for a nice ride in Central Park. I go by Metro to Columbus Circle and enter the park in order to get lost. After an hour I still haven't gotten out. It is a unique sensation to be in the middle of the park and see the skyscrapers in the background.
I go out on the Upper East Side trying to feel a bit like the characters of Gossip Girl and I walk on the Museum Mile until? I don't arrive at the Met, the Metropolitan Museum. Immense. I turn it all around, passing more? quickly some rooms that I find less to my taste but overall? to scream, if you like museums. From Mir ?, to Renoir, to Monet and Pollock and with a fun section of contemporary art. I continue to Fifth Avenue passing by Tiffany and the Apple Store, I deviate a moment to enter the Grand Central, a train station of yesteryear, really worth seeing. And then I head to the New York Public Library which literally takes my breath away. I would like to spend the afternoon there? inside to read but the climb to the Empire Stante Building awaits me. When you get to the top of the building it's almost cold and the wind? very strong but I enjoy the audio guide that tells the story of many events related to buildings that can be seen from up there. Heaven today? very clear.
I come home, shower, eat something and? already? time to go out. Thanks to the wifi I agree with a guy from Milan, met on a travel forum shortly before leaving and he too alone in New York, to go to a splendid place they had told me about: 230 FIFTH AVENUE. Right between the Flatiron and the Empire, on the twentieth floor (where a chauffeur takes you on the lift) a 2.000 m terrace suspended in the middle of the skyscrapers. The view ? breathtaking, in front of us the Empire illuminated by night lights. We have a drink with a very strange name, feeling like in Sex and The City, but after a while the clouds fill the sky, lightning and thunder, the storm arrives. What? we move to the lower floor where the place becomes a disco. There are no walls around us, only windows that allow us to see everything around. We dance late while the storm can be seen from the windows, spectacular atmosphere. It is late at night and? time to go home. It takes a while but I stop a cab on Fifth Ave in the rain. And do this thing in New York with an umbrella and high heels? essential to feel like in a movie.

5 day

DAY 5? SUNDAY 22 APRIL

I wake up a little more later than usual. First and only rainy day. The temperature ? drop a lot, breakfast time and then museum. I go to the Rockefeller Center area to have breakfast at the famous Magnolia Bakery where a lot of variety awaits me. of cupcakes. I would take a thousand but I contain myself and I take two more? a terrifying coffee. Cupcakes are pure joy and pure sugar. After one are already? satiated and will it be? for like 20 hours, I think one cupcake has the calories of a Christmas lunch, for four.
Tempo di Moma, Museum of Modern Art. I skip the line with my trusty card and enter. I start from Cindy Sherman's special exhibition and then go down: Van Gogh, Klimt, Braque, a whole room with Monet's giant water lilies (I think I sat there for an hour), Warhol and a thousand other things. In short, the best. I turn it calmly, is it good there? seen the weather outside.
When I go out it still rains, so? I take a nice walk in the rain on Fifth Avenue where I find some gifts for friends. I wander aimlessly and get lost in the streets, which I love ... When I don't know anymore? where I am I look for on the map. It allows you to find really nice hidden places. Evening comes, I look for a place to eat, then I collapse in bed.

6 day

DAY 6? MONDAY 23 APRIL

Penultimate day. I want to go to the Upper West Side, to the Natural History Museum, the dinosaur one. I have to admit it didn't drive me crazy but it had to be seen. When I go out I get lost in the alleys but then an Italian friend, by chance also in New York that day for work, calls me. We are in Times Square, we eat super meat in a restaurant, then stroll around Central Park in the most? wild, the ones that if you go too far you feel like you are in the middle of a forest and not in New York City. Then we go back to the Broadway area, look at the billboards and let ourselves be tempted, we buy two tickets to see the musical Chicago (well deserved $ 70). While waiting we go to a pub there? close by with a very retro flavor, LILLIE'S. The furniture? nostalgic and offers a spectacular early 900th century atmosphere. We order two gin and tonics and chat for a long time.
It's time to head to the theater, the show is about to begin. Pure fun, it was really worth it. Finished the musical walk in Times Square that night? pi? crowded in the day. Cheerleaders put on a show in the crowd. It's late now and I'm going back to the apartment.

7 day

DAY 7? TUESDAY 24 APRIL

Last day. I feel already? the sadness of the departure but I am happy to be able to taste everything I wanted more. I wander around Manhattam to get lost a little longer. I return to Broadway for the latest purchases and begin to fear the weight of the suitcase upon boarding.
I go to Madison Square Park, where, sitting on a bench, I am attacked by a nice squirrel, a squirrel. They too are friendly here. I go back to Union Square where is it? the New York Film Academy and I sit among the street performers. A kind man who is working in the garden gives me a violet plant.
Last walk? time to go and close the suitcase.
I greet my roommates, actually? seen very little why? I was always out, and I take the Metro back to JFK. I savor the latest Brooklyn show from above, I don't want to miss anything.
Arriving at the airport, I discover that check-in and baggage boarding are done in the mode? self service. What? you scan your passport, print your boarding pass, weigh your suitcase, print the label and put it on the general roll, all by yourself. A super time saver. A little fear of making a mistake. Even after customs I sit down to wait. I eat some last American snacks and grab some local magazines to read on the fly.
18 pm and something takes off. Eat American Airlines lasagna with pesto (?!) I try to sleep. I can't seem to. Movie. I read. I land in Milan at 8.30 in the morning. My suitcase lands. Yep.
I take the train home. I don't know why? but on the train I have the feeling of being wonder woman. I feel happy, special perhaps. It seems to me that I have accomplished a beautiful feat. Alone in New York. My dream.


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