A few years ago, I decided to stop off in New York for a week after I came back from my study abroad in Rwanda. This was my first solo trip I had ever been on and I have to say it was pretty extraordinary. There is nothing more beautiful than New York during Christmas. I stayed at the Chelsea Highline Hostel overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan and paid $45/night. The hostel itself wasn’t the greatest and halfway through my stay the heater went out and the nights would easily get down in the lower 30’s. It wasn’t that big of an issue, however, since I was rarely at the hostel anyway.
Since I had a limited amount of time there, I had to be selective about the things that I did. I arrived in NYC in the afternoon and after checking into my hostel I decided to just walk around. I stopped at Asuka Sushi on 23rd street. You have no idea how desperately I was craving sushi after over 4 months without it. After dinner, I decided to explore Time Square and it was beautiful.The Macy’s on 34th street is definitely a sight everyone should see, especially when it is decorated at Christmastime.
While exploring around Time Square, I was stopped by this couple who was selling spa passes for this really exclusive celebrity salon. For $70 bucks, I got a free cut, color consultation, manicure or pedicure, facial, and complimentary wine or champagne. I wasn’t entirely sold on it at first, but since the following day was the last day of the promotion, they offered the package for $40 (at this point, I couldn’t refuse.) So I purchased it, half expecting it to be a scam and that I would be out $40. However, to my delight I went to the salon to find that it was very much legitimate.
I didn’t have a huge agenda for my time in New York, but I definitely had to see Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library and Grand Central Station. Central Park was beautiful in the winter. I was hoping to be able to find the public ice skating rink, but to no avail. It was nice being able to just walk around and people watch though.
In my opinion, a trip to New York is not complete without a trip to the Metropolitan Museum. Entrance is free, but it runs on donations so they recommend donating when you go. You could spend an entire day there and still not see everything. My favorite exhibit was the Van Gogh and I kind of freaked out being so close to an authentic Van Gogh paining.
The Grand Central Station was also an incredible sight. It was so peaceful and it was almost like there was a hush over the whole place and obviously, the New York Public Library was this bibliophile’s dream.
And finally the highlight of my trip was definitely seeing a broadway production. I couldn’t leave New York without seeing a musical. I went and saw First Date, a low-key comedy with a small ensemble. Interestingly enough, the musical started in Seattle and I saw the original production, but I couldn’t pass up seeing Zachary Levi as the main character. I was even lucky enough to meet him in person and get a photo.
I concluded my trip with a cross country train ride, which was an entirely new experience, though not the most comfortable. Next time I go, I am definitely springing for a sleeper car.