I have a love-love relationship with NYC. My dream for a long time was to graduate with a degree in journalism, move to Manhattan, and become a world-famous investigative reporter. Of course, this was long before I 1) realized how freaking expensive living in the city was and 2) had the chance to move to Belgium (which I won’t say is better but it certainly takes the sting out of the dream-that-got-away).
But I love NYC. My hometown was close enough that you could easily make a weekend trip (in fact, many people do the 2-hour commute daily, though I don’t see how they can stand sitting in the traffic). And while yes, it’s a bit grimy and in places crime-ridden, and yes, it can be over-stimulating, I find the city to be exhilarating. I try to make it a point to visit every time I’m home (at least once).
Now, while I have a general knowledge of NYC, I could never call myself a New Yorker. I don’t have the insider-tips or the know-how to really make the city work for me (hence the reason I want to live there). I can usually find where I want to go, but I have to do a bit of research and planning first.
Which is where this next point comes in. Did you know that the Museum of Natural History’s admission fee was just a suggestion? Yea, well I didn’t. The last time I went there (prior to finding this out), I think Joery and I paid nearly $100 between the two of us when you include the additional fees for extra exhibits and food. Craziness. This past visit? $1. I was going to give $5 but the rest of my party unabashedly put $1 on the table so I followed suit. Besides, I figured my last contribution will keep my karma intact for a while.
While I’ve been home, I’ve been able to head into the city for a couple of trips. The first was to visit some friends who were vacationing in New York for a few days between their other destinations. And the second was a trip with Joery to see all the pretty Christmas lights.
Though Christmas in NYC is certainly magical, it can also be maddening. Rockefeller Plaza was packed with tourists, to the extent that you just want to snap a photo of the lights and run. There was a line that wrapped completely around the corner of the LEGO store and while the LEGO statues I could see through the windows were impressive, I do not think they would be worth an hours wait with screaming — or at least antsy — children who will probably continue to be screaming and/or antsy once inside. Also, the stores that we did go inside (with no wait) also were packed. Long lines to try clothes on, long lines to check out, people squeezing past one another in the corridors. It was so bad I didn’t even feel like shopping. I know. Bad.
Both trips were very enjoyable and included a handful of must-see tourist stops — the Museum of Natural History, a walk in Central Park, the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, Macy’s, etc. But my favorite part of each trip was definitely sitting in the cafe (Max Brenner’s has the best hot cocoa — and “hug mugs”) or bar with friends and catching up.
And regardless of how Lifetime movie-esque the ending of this post is, I’m leaving it. Because such is life (sometimes).