~♫ Let’s hear it for New York! ♫~

I could live without hearing Empire State of Mind ever again...

December 13, 2023

After we visited Boston, we caught a train to NYC and immediately went on over to our friend Cesar’s house! He was a good friend of ours in Honolulu and have kept in touch since! We had an amazing time visiting with him! He showed us around his neighborhood and a bit of the city. 

We stayed up until 3 in the morning hopping around small bars and restaurants! Alan LOVED this spot where you could get a beer and a hot dog for $3! When we all went to Times Square, stared at the pretty lights, and crashed at his place before eating around his neighborhood! 

And then we parted ways. 

Because Airbnb and other short-term rentals were recently banned in NYC (and hotels were like 8k a month – so… um, no. lol) we have been staying nearby in Newark, NJ. We later learned is supposed to be a rough city, but honestly it hasn’t been that bad… our unit is alright! 

Unfortunately, fentanyl seems very present, but we’ve found people to just mind their own business or that they’ve been outgoing and friendly. Though, the water here isn’t potable, which is pretty infuriating for the US.

NYC… I started out feeling very torn about it. We had a great time with Cesar and then we went off on our own. On our first weekend alone in the city, we made our way to most of the major tourist spots. Initially, it felt… a bit hectic and crowded. Maybe it was the rainy weather or that we got way too used to the suburbs the last few months.

I don’t know. 
I didn’t immediately love it.

BUT, we warmed up to it. After all the storms passed & the weather cleared up, and we started making our way to the less-touristed parts of the city, we found some things we liked about it. Some areas are beautiful and have some really neat modern parks, some areas are super defined and unique, and there’s been a huge variety in neighborhoods! 

We’ve absolutely loved the amazing diversity in people, cultures, subcultures, neighborhoods, and foods! Nowhere else we’ve been has compared in this aspect! We also enjoyed the (relatively good) walkability, ample public transit, and the food scene has been incredible… like hands down one of the best cities we’ve visited for food. And it probably has the best variety (that’s actually good!) that we have experienced!

Speaking of food… we’ve found a LOT of the meals here to be quite affordable. Like we found pizza slices for $1. Actually $1?! And then we noticed these restaurants are everywhere. Feels unheard of in the US nowadays, at least where we’ve been staying lol. But it feels nice that you can eat affordably or step it up as you please.

We also got to check out their natural history museum, which was a bit dated but still pretty dang incredible! It was a nice way to pass the time on a rainy day… unlike when we wandered around Brooklyn for hours in a rainstorm and froze our toes off. Lol.

We did wander into one of the biggest Jewish neighborhoods that day though… it was actually pretty neat. Everyone was out and dressed up for a holiday (Sukkot I think? I’m not super familiar so I’m not sure.). there was almost no presence of anyone else. So it really just felt like stepping into another country for that moment.

 

After walking a mile or two through that area, we got to meet up with my cousin who now lives in NYC!! We didn’t know each other very well because she’s closer to my sister’s age and she grew up in another state! So it was very cool getting to meet up and get to know even more family!! And I think she and Alan hit it off pretty dang well too!!

Pretty much the rest of our time in NY was spent freezing our butts off in the rain and eating.  So. Much. Eating!!! Chinese noodles. Pizza. Bagels. Foreign restaurants. Cafes. Cheesecake.
And it was all so good!!

For our final day, we met up with Cesar one more time and he took us to a chill spot called Roosevelt Island where we got to take an incredible gondola at sunset and then walk around these cute little fields covered in white flowers and see some cool historic buildings!

And that pretty much sums it up! When we visit again I think we’ll stay IN the city proper (NJ to NY transit sucks – and I’m looking at you PATH ) and probably just for a few days to help with the costs. We’re excited to go back to the quiet suburbs for a bit, but we’ll definitely miss NY too!

I’m again late on the next post… I’m going to try reaaaaallll hard to do more frequent updates again… but you know how that is gone in the past.

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