After many hours of reflecting on my experience studying abroad, I realized that I have seen a significant part of the world but not enough of the United States. I lived and studied in Spain, and visited friends and family all over Europe (Portugal, Germany, Italy, France, England, and Ireland), but I wanted to be a tourist in my home country. I was embarrassed in Germany when a 15 year old from Berlin asked me if I had been to New York, and I said no. She then went on to tell me “You haaave to go! It’s great! I recommend it.” Well, I couldn’t disagree with her. I decided that if a Bieber fan from Berlin could get there by age 15, then I had no excuse.
My birthday always falls over spring break (St. Patrick’s Day) and I thought I would use this as a way to convince my older brother to go to New York with me. Ireland last year, why not New York this year? Although I was ready with my argument about how we are young and why now is the time to travel and how fun March 17th in New York could be, my conversation with him lasted no longer than 30 seconds. “Hey, Joey? …What do you think about going to New York sometime? I think it would be really – ” “Yeah. Ok. Let’s do it. We’ll stay with Chris and Will in Midtown.” So we figured out the details, promised to live on a budget while we were there, and packed our bags!
For about a week we stayed with friends of my brother’s from college and toured the city every day until our feet throbbed. We tried to do it all. Here are some of the highlights:
Day 1: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, bagels and coffee in Central Park, Papaya King (Hot dog place in Seinfeld), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 30 Rock (As an NBC fan, I was beyond excited just to see the flags surrounding the ice rink), Baked by Melissa cupcakes for my birthday!
Day 2: Dunkin Donuts coffee, Museum of Modern Art, Upright Citizens Brigade (Sketch comedy place where a lot of SNL cast members got their start. Cast included Gabe from the Office and Sue from 30 Rock!)
Day 3: Run in Central Park, Columbia University, Tom’s Restaurant (the Seinfeld café), FAO Schwarz toy store, Grand Central, visited friends studying at NYU and in Long Island
Day 4: NBC Studio Tour (Stopped at the SNL studio…a tear may or may not have trickled out of my eye), Jimmy Fallon rehearsal, Radio City, watched Madmen season 4 in preparation for last Sunday’s premiere of season 5!
Day 5: Rush tickets to Broadway show (Only $30- I made a friend
when I was standing in line and then we happened to run into each other two days later on 87th St. which is 40 blocks from Broadway, where we met the first time.), 9-11 Memorial, Chinatown, Wall Street, Katz’s Deli (When Harry Met Sally filmed here), Death of a Salesman on Broadway (Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the lead. Also saw, Liza Minnelli at the show!), Time Square
Day 6: The Highline (park built on old railroad tracks above the city), Murray’s Bagels, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (We found family names from both my Italian half and my Irish half.), Upright Citizen Brigade again, Madison Square Garden
New York was everything and nothing like what I had expected, and I loved it. New York, check…Chicago, you’re next (but you may have to wait a while for me, because that whole budget idea Joey and I had for New York was not one of our greatest successes).