The City That Never Sleeps

I went to New York City for 5 days for a Field Study with a history class through my college. I had to write a journal for this trip, and I though it’d be a nice way to share with all my friends and family how my trip was and some photos! So here you go, happy reading!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

At 2:45 am I rolled over and grabbed my phone. My alarm was blaring in my ear, and I’d gotten less than 4 hours of sleep. It was no time to be tired though, I was going to New York City! I went and started the coffee for my wonderful mother and quickly got ready. After an hour and a half long car ride, we arrived at the airport and I boarded the plane and headed for the most exciting trip of my year.

The plane ride was easily the best flight I’ve ever been on. A quick layover in Atlanta and on the NYC! Although I slept some of the way there, I was still pretty tired for our arrival. La Guardia was relatively easy to navigate and we found Dr. Smith soon after arriving.

Once we arrived at the hostel and put our luggage away we got to walk down to Central Park. I loved getting to spend time there because last time I was in NYC I did not have to opportunity to really enjoy it. It took us a while to get to our next destination, for being country folks, it seriously threw us off being out of the city!

Our next stop was the Museum of New York City. The only thing I was really impressed with there was their activism room. I am extremely liberal and a big feminist, and so naturally anything to do with women’s rights, gay rights a civil rights interests me. The video of NYC through time was also really cool. But other than that, the Museum did not strike me as a worthwhile stop. I’m not sure if it was because of the fashion show they were hosting and because of the event they didn’t have as many exhibits open, but there wasn’t a lot to see, other than a giant room of photos that weren’t even taken in New York.

After we left the museum we had our first subway experience traveling to Times Square. We stopped at the New York Public Library, which was FANTASTIC. I am already a book worm, but I must say, if this place doesn’t make you WANT to read, nothing will. It was gorgeous. Beautiful detail work everywhere, and it had that warm, cozy feeling that makes you just want to grab a book and curl up in a ball and read the day away.

Times Square hasn’t really changed since the last time I visited New York, but it is always a fun experience. At that point in our day, I was so tired I wanted to just crawl into bed. Dr. Smith, Liz, Kaylynn and I headed back to the hostel and ate at a diner a few blocks away from where we were staying. After eating, we stopped by a little corner store to grab a soda and we went back to our hostel, where I finally showered and passed out after an extremely long day.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

After sleeping like a rock for a solid 9 hours I woke up the next morning and got ready to take the Staten Island Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Once we arrived at the station and bought our tickets…we meandered around the park finding that the wait was upwards of two hours. Dr. Smith took one for the team and waited in line which allowed the rest of us to explore downtown Manhattan. A good sized group of us went past “The Bull” that is featured in a lot of movies. Ryan and William got a picture literally grabbing the bull by the balls, and continued on. Hannah, Aubreigh and I made our way past the stock exchange and onto Tiffany’s! We were all afraid to go inside because of the beautifully dressed men in tuxedos opening the door. We felt a little subpar in our hoodies, jeans and tennis shoes. But we did get pictures with the sign, so it was okay. After stopping at Tiffany’s, we wanted to stop in this Irish Pub to get a beer (Hey, it may have been early, but you only live once!), but as we approached the door there was a sign that said “appropriate dress only”, obviously our sweatshirts were not allowed.

While we were walking around being tourists (our cameras were constantly pointing skywards, typical tourists) we got a call from Dr. Smith summoning us back to the Ferry line. After going through practically a second round of airport security we boarded the Ferry and headed out into the bay. I took my favorite pictures of the trip while we were sailing away from the harbor. Beautiful pictures of the skyline. (See Top Picture)

Ellis Island was a very cool experience. Although I loved reading about all this history, I was very disappointed that everything was renovated and nothing was really original. The most original part of the entire museum was the pictures they took when they first opened it in the 1980s. One wing of the building had items that families brought over from their original countries which were also very cool. I just felt like there was so much more they could have done with the building that renovating all of it, it felt way too much like a museum instead of a historical sight, and I pretty disappointed. Aubreigh and I agreed they should make one of the buildings that is not being used as a museum into a ghost tour!

Here’s a shot of our group!

After riding back from Ellis Island we went to the 9-11 memorial. Last time I went to New York the memorial had not yet been completed. I had seen pictures from my mom and brother’s trip, and I also watched its opening on the 10 year anniversary. I may be considered un-American for saying this, but I really dislike the memorial. It is so cold, and empty, and I just don’t feel like it really commemorates the attacks. I personally think that St. Paul’s Chapel is a much more emotional and commemorative site than the actual memorial itself. I know several people in our group disagreed with me, but I still was much more emotional at St. Paul’s than I was at the memorial.

That evening, Kaylynn, Ryan and I got the pleasure of attending the Broadway Musical, Momma Mia. HANDS DOWN, the best musical I have been to. Phantom of the Opera and Wicked are right up there, but Momma Mia had an energy that just could not even come close to being touched. I really don’t want to go into too much detail because I could literally write 5 pages about how fantastic it was, but I would seriously have paid 100 dollars to see it again.

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Because it was raining on this lovely Friday in New York City, I wore my Toms to our tours that day. Worst. Idea. Ever. My feet were SO SORE ALL DAY. But that’s not the point. We started off at the Tenement House Museum on the Lower East Side. Dr. Smith had told me earlier in the trip that she thought I would really enjoy this and she was correct. Achy feet aside, seeing how the working class lived in the 1900’s was everything I expected, and then some. I think I honestly had underestimated the size of some of the apartments, but I also didn’t account for how many people were living/working in them either. In the building we were in, up to 12 people would live in one, time, 3 room apartment. That many people were in our tour group, and it was ridiculously crowded. Definitely an eye opener to how well we have it.

For lunch that day we ate at Kat’z Deli. I was really irritated here. The food was pretty good, but our server was very rude and short and it took forever to get our food and she kept giving people the wrong stuff and it was SO packed in there I couldn’t even enjoy sitting down. It’s one of those things that is cool to say I went there, but I will never go back.

After the Deli we headed to the Frick Museum. I really, really, really enjoyed this museum. Not only was it gorgeous, but it also very interesting to compare and contrast the Tenement Museums with the Frick Museum, considering these are two families living in the same time period, but living completely different lifestyles. During the microphone tour, I was listening about the ornate, marble staircase and in the planning process of his house, he stated he wanted a subtle, non-ostentatious home, and this gorgeous ornate house is what he ended up with. Not quite my idea of simple.

When we were finished with the Frick Museum, Annabelle, Ryan, Kaylynn and I headed over to Chinatown. I adore Chinatown.  It is so sketchy, and dirty, and packed, and you can’t help but love it. I bought two fabulous purses, a handful of scarves, and 7 t-shirts for friends and family members. We ate at this FABULOUS little Italian restaurant in little Italy, with legitimate Italian servers and a homemade sauce. Man, it was great. Expensive, but worth it.

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Saturday afternoon we took a Big Onion walking tour down through the seaport district. I really enjoyed this whole tour. I love seeing buildings and actually hearing about their history and architecture and why they look the way they do. Anyone who looks through the 600 pictures I took can tell I’m kind of obsessed with architecture, and getting to hear about this history of all the buildings and the reason they are uneven is because they weren’t built on completely settled ground and they settled quickly. Our tour guide seemed very knowledgeable about the area. I really would encourage anyone visiting New York to try a Big Onion Walking Tour.

After the walking tour was over, Ryan, Kaylynn and I walked to Chinatown for the second night in a row. We had the opportunity to walk past the government and municipality buildings which for me, as a future public administrator, was a very cool experience. I’m not sure I’d want to be the city manager for a town even close to as large as Manhattan, but seeing those magnificent buildings was fantastic, and of course, I took tons of photos!

Sunday, October 21st,2012

After a whirlwind 5 days in the City that Never Sleeps, Kaylynn and I decided to wind down by spending the day in Central Park. We spend the majority of the day there, getting lost, walking around the lake twice, through Shakespeare’s Garden, taking tons of pictures, playing with the dogs that were running around. At this point, I was seriously missing my sweet baby girl, Adi who was at home running around without me. Kaylynn was probably VERY sick of me talking about my dog.

We calculated we walked over 7 miles that day, and I was extremely tired. We stopped at a little pizza joint on our way back to the hostel and we spent the last few hours before heading to the airport napping and reading in the hostel lounge.

Although I absolutely loved the trip, and I adore the City, I had never been happier to be in Kansas, back in my little hometown, and sleeping in my own bed, and seeing friendly, familiar faces. Having someone who isn’t wearing a tuxedo and being paid to do so hold the door for me, and having waitresses who actually care about their service, regardless of the tips they are receiving.