A couple months or so ago i had briefly mentioned to him that for my christmas gift, i wanted to see a huge christmas tree. however i didn’t expect him to take me all the way to Rockefeller center.. which he did. So… as the title indicated, my xmas/birthday gift from Nico is.. a trip to NYC! :D and it was definitely the best gift i’ve ever gotten!!
i didn’t bring my SLR since i thought it would be unnecessary bulk.. and i was right. i was still a bit sad since there were so many people carrying their SLRs and snapping pics away…
Day 0 – Getting to NYC
We spent about 15 hours trying to get to NYC. Our flight was scheduled to leave on 6:45AM. However, we completely missed that flight. we woke up at 5:50AM and N lives about 15-20 mins away from the airport. by the time we got there they would not even let us check in.. so we had to switch to a later flight that day. we spent about six hours waiting around in the airport (thankfully i had episodes of Californication on my laptop, so we watched that).
at about 11:30, we finally boarded the plane :D we had a layover at Minneapolis, which was so cool because it was snowing! and then we almost missed the flight again because they were delayed, but we didn’t know that when a flight is delayed they can still change the time around. so we thought we were supposed to leave at 8PM, but it turns out the plane was ready to go by 7:30PM.. we were eating at the time and completely missed the call. thank god we still made it :x
FINALLY we got to NYC at 1AM. got to the hotel (we stayed at the Hilton at Rockefeller center). i unloaded my DS and laptop to charge, tried to find free internet to no avail, then crashed for the day.
Day 1 – Times Square, NY Public Library, Empire State Building, Ground Zero, NYU, Sushi Yasuda
view from the hotel!
I woke up around 9AM (6AM Los Angeles time) and woke N up so we can hurry and explore. We had no plan / itinerary, so we just grabbed a map from the concierge and rolled out.
the city were full of holiday decorations, such as the nut cracker statues above
caught a quick breakfast at a nearby cafe. nothing to write home about, but more importantly… they messed up my HOT CHOCOLATE! how can anyone mess that up?!
we walked a view streets down and came across the national debt calculator. according to N, they had to add another number (recently?)
deciding where to go first…
walked a few blocks down to our first destination.. the Times Square!!
good morning america studio!
then we walked a couple MORE blocks down to… 41st street! this is where Carrie and Big’s limousine met after he ditched her at the big wedding, then she threw her bouquet at him and drove away. I’m talking about the Sex and The City movie, of course.
i took pics at the very street where it was filmed, but the pic didn’t come out very good :(
just around the block from that is the New York public library where the Big and Carrie wedding was supposed to be
inside was a bit plain. it looks like a bigger version of UCLA’s powell library. however! there was a handwritten / hand illustrated copy of JK Rowling’s Tales of Beedle the Bard! I believe it was the 4th copy? I didn’t take pics as i assumed it wasn’t allowed, but i don’t remember seeing any signs that says you can’t take pics. oh well…
then we walked down to empire state building. notice how we kept walking? this is before we discovered the wonder of the subway system in NYC.
we waited in line for about 40 mins to get to the top. BEAUTIFUL view from the top of empire state, but it was also ICY COLD!!
after empire state, we picked a random pizza place to have lunch. it turned out to be a good choice since the pizza was YUMMY!
my tomato and chicken pizza. so crispy and juicy at the same time
then finally (to my delight) we got on the subway downtown to visit ground zero. however, N spotted THE wall street as one of the subway stops, and got excited so we decided to stop there first
it was a lot quieter than i had expected. then again, the actual trading floor is indoors and away from the street (i think?)
we took the subway to ground zero but there wasn’t much to see now. the area is closed to public since they are reconstructing another building on the site… so we just walked around the area and tried to imagine the chaos that ensues when 9/11 happened. honestly, i can’t imagine how crazy it must have been… :(
by the time we were done, it was already 4:30 and not much time left since we have dinner reservations at Sushi Yasuda at 6:30. so we decided to just take the subway uptown and stop by NYU on the way
I came across this on the way to NYU! Waverly place does exist!! aka Wizards of Waverly place :D (a disney tv show for those who don’t know)
NYU itself was really nothing to write home about. it blended really well with the city that when we got to the campus, we didn’t realize we were already ON the campus! to be frank, it was pretty damn ugly. it looked like a bunch of office buildings. i’m glad i went to a university with much much prettier campus like UCLA :P anyway, we stopped by the student store and i bought a shirt since it was cheap and i LOVE the school color (royal purple and silver)
we made it on time to Sushi Yasuda for our dinner reservation. it was my xmas gift to N. i couldn’t get a seat at the sushi bar (*tear*), but the sushi itself was SO YUMMY! and the service was amazing. i seriously think the waiter stalked us to see if it was time to bring the next dish (we ordered omakase so the dishes come periodically).
i fell in love with Blue Fin Tuna. it melts in your mouth and so flavorful! i recommend this place to anyone who loves sushi and happen to be in NYC :D just reserve a couple days ahead so you can sit at the bar
after dinner, it was cold and dark so we decided to stop by Rockefeller center and make that our final stop for the day. i got to see my big tree! the reason why we were in NYC in the first place :)
yayyyy i love christmas trees! :D
we then made our way back to the hotel, which thankfully is just around the corner. i was really tired and frozen by this time. so we got home, showered and crashed. well… i tried to but my body was still in LA time (which means it was still only 9PM). i ended up sleeping at 2-3AM NY time.
Day 2 – Staten Island, Liberty Island, Dinner w/ Jenny and a bit of NY shopping
we woke up a bit late… did not go out of the hotel until around 11:30 NY time. we quickly made our way to the south ferry via the subway again and (mistakenly) took the ferry to the Staten island instead of the Liberty island.
i snapped this pic while we were on the ferry. once on Staten island, we quickly took the next ferry back to Manhattan and went to the correct ferry that takes you to liberty island. we waited in line for the ferry for about 30 mins, and finally…
THE liberty island! the trees were very pretty :)
grabbed a quick lunch at the cafe there. we had to eat outside since it became quickly packed inside and could not find a table. my hands were FROZEN and we had to fend off the birds from stealing our foods! thankfully we later found a table inside after and stayed there. i de-froze my hands in bathroom.
us and the statue of liberty herself! i had no idea the statue were a gift from France. shows how much i paid attention during high school, right? :x here’s my attempt at semi-panoramic pic. i should have taken more pics!
when we took the ferry back to Manhattan, it was already sunset. the battery park is where the ferry took us back. i took the quick snapshots above before jumping back into the subway for Coney island. little did we know that the pier at coney island was already closed! i kinda had an inkling it would be, but decided to go anyway. however, i had no clue it would take so long to get to Coney from manhattan. it was 50 mins each way on the subway!!
I started texting my friend Jenny since i made plans to have dinner with her at 7. i thought i was going to make it back to manhattan at 730, but i made it back at around 710 instead. thank god :x. jenny took us to this korean place and we had a nice dinner and convo. i noticed korean food in NY is sweeter and less spicy than LA! :o
then after dinner, Jenny showed us the seven story Macy’s building. I was excited at the prospect of shopping at first, but was quickly turned off due to the crowded-ness and the cold… and having to shed more layers of clothing than i’m used to every time i try something on -_-. i did stop by H&M and got a shimmery silver shrug though :D and happy to report that i fit in a smaller size coat now! :D
we walked around the herald square a little bit before deciding to go back to the hotel since i was cold and we were both tired.
stopped by this street vendor right next to our hotel. it had lines despite the cold weather, so we figured it must be good! turns out it was Halal Cart (i was later informed that they are THE famous chicken and rice cart). the food was really good and the portion was HUGE for $6 a plate! I did not finish the entire thing, so i brought it back with me to LA.. haha. we’ll see if it’s still good.
Day 3 – Journey back to LA
N had to force me to wake up at 9AM since we had a flight at 12:40 and we did not want to miss this one. i took some shots as we were leaving…
not an LV fan, but this was amusing!
our flight back were straightforward without much time in between flights. we stopped by Minneapolis airport again though, and it was snowing again! the flight was delayed for 40 mins and they had to de-ice the plane before we took off.
snowy minneapolis airport…
other that that, everything went smoothly this time! :) i played Chrono Trigger the entire way back, and the whole time i kept thinking "heyyy this is where I left off last time!" and then played some more.. "wait no.. THIS is where i left off!" and then, finally i think i am truly at a point where i haven’t played before! exciting.
we landed back in LA around 7:40, then N took me back home.
and now.. i’m back in LA and I MISS NYC ALREADY!! :( i loved everything about the city (minus the cold temperature), especially the subway system. getting around everywhere is soooo easy! it was truly an experience to be there, and i am definitely going back some day. THANKS NICO-SENSEI! :)