October 11, 2017

All The Places We Went Pt. 2 | New York City

Here comes the second and final installment of all the places we went to in New York City. If you haven't caught up on part one just yet, feel free to click here to read all about it. I talked about The Guggenheim, The Met, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and other tourist attractions. This time, I'll be walking you through places to explore the city on water, on land, and above ground as well!


Anyone that tells you that you have to spend money to see the Statue of Liberty is lying to your face. When tour advertisers standing outside of the subway station in front of the Staten Island ferry terminal spot you for the very tourist that you really are, they're going to make a very convincing spiel about how you need to get on their boat to see Lady Liberty. Whatever you do, smile politely and keep your cool, but do not agree -- even if they say they'll lower the price because you're youngins.

We were lucky enough to be advised by other people prior to leaving for our trip that the ferry takes you just past the statue and gives you a chance to see it without paying a penny. The Staten Island ferry is free, and I'm glad I kept that tattooed in my memory. Having that prior knowledge enabled me to stand my ground and politely pass on whatever offers came to convince us otherwise.

We rushed to get on to the ferry so that we could get a good spot by the railings to catch a glimpse of the statue. I already had some doubts planted into my head that made me question of the advice we were given was wrong. Maybe we had somehow managed to wrongly board a different ferry that really does provide no glimpse of the statue. I was slightly apprehensive, but also, I was determined to prove those people outside the station wrong so that I can gleefully walk past them later and know that I didn't fall for their schemes. In the end, we did see the statue, and we did get to walk back down the subway station with our pride and money.


If you ever ask me what tourist activity you absolutely need to do in New York City, the Circle Line Harbor Lights cruise would 100% be the answer I would excitedly tell you. This cruise was part of the CityPass we got from KKday, and by far the most 'worth it' thing that we did in my opinion. We went on the cruise on the day of Anne's birthday.

Earlier that day, we spent all morning cleaning up and clearing out of our first Airbnb, and carrying all of our luggage down all the flights of stairs so that we can pack it into a large Uber to get to our next home. On top of that, I went through the entire process while starting to feel the early signs of getting sick. I mention all of that because I wanted to provide context for how the day was going thus far. After the transfer process, we were pretty beat.

It was the exact midway point to our trip and having spent every single day going from Brooklyn to Manhattan, we were pretty exhausted. We essentially decided to use the remainder of the afternoon as a write-off to rest and get settled in our new place before embarking on another excursion to the pier that evening for the cruise.

We really did not know what to expect out of this boat-ride. If it hadn't been for Anne's birthday, we might've not had the will to pick our tired selves up off of the couch and park our butts on the train to get to the Pier.

It was the most grueling challenge to get to the Pier. Because we were so tired, we stayed at home for as long as we could before leaving. When we got to Times Square, we hadn't anticipated how bad the traffic would be. We were supposed to get on a bus but after having sat on that bus at a standstill for over 15 minutes, we decided to get off and speedwalk/run all the way to the Pier. It wasn't close, but there was no way we were going to miss that cruise. Anne's birthday would've been so 'blah' otherwise. 
By the grace of God, we made it onto the boat just in time. With heavy panting and difficult breaths, we sat down as the boat pulled away from the dock. After a while, the doors re-opened and we were allowed to move around to the viewing decks where we were greeted by a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline just as the sun was just above the horizon, getting ready to say goodbye for the evening. 

The cruise took us under Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Williamsburg bridge, all the while giving us several different angles of the midtown skyline as the sun set and the sky changed color from fiery orange to light pink to nighttime. We even got a round 2 of the Statue of Liberty, this time seeing the statue much closer and at night all lit up.

It was pretty surreal. I went shutter crazy as I desperately tried to capture every angle of the skyline twice -- during sunset and when it was dark and lit up by the city lights. The best part was that despite all of that, I still had plenty of time to put my camera down and actually gawk at the views with my own two eyes while contemplating how on Earth such beautiful sights like this exist and how New York natives ever get sick of it.'


I was gutted that the day that we went to the AMNH, the Butterfly Conservatory was closed. However, I was not weeping because how could you be sad when you're standing literally where Night At The Museum was filmed. At every opportunity while I was in there, my imagination was running wild -- vividly daydreaming about what it would be like if the displays came to life and Teddy Roosevelt walked up to me on horse. I couldn't stop grinning. The place itself instantly made me feel like a kid. So much so that when I overheard a little boy tell his mom that he swore he saw the monkeys move, I had to bite my tongue from saying, "me too, kid. Me too."

Despite having been to two other museums prior to this, and despite fighting illness as I walked through the halls, I was still pleasantly surprised by how the AMNH differentiated itself from all the other museums I've been to in my life. Granted, the list is not lengthy (yet), I know for a fact that I won't encounter any other place like this. There's just something so unique about the displays that really takes you out of present day reality and puts you straight into the midst of history as a first-person protagonist.


In Vancouver, I am an enthusiastic advocate for the Bloedel Conservatory. It's one of my favorite places in the city to visit, and especially to take pictures in. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is Bloedel on crack; I say that in the best possible way -- meaning that all that I love and more about Bloedel can be found amplified and multiplied a thousand times over in Brooklyn. It boggled my mind that there were so many facets to the place. You could turn a corner and suddenly be in a completely different atmosphere.  We went from walking the fields that made us feel like we were relaxing in the French countryside, to walking the gardens that made us feel peaceful and serene, straight out of Japan. There were moments of Italy, moments of Arizona. The conservatory itself was also segregated into various sections based on weather and temperature. The tropical sectors weren't too unlike from the plants I saw in Bloedel back home, but the the real excitement was being in the desert area where I got to see all shapes and sizes of cacti. I was in prickly plant heaven. 


The day we planned on walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was the day the weather did not want to cooperate. Although we didn't want the storm to literally rain on our parade, it just wasn't feasible even dare the stroll without umbrellas in tow. At this point, we were running out of days so we couldn't let the day go to waste. So instead, we braved what we could of the area after stuffing our faces with the best pizza from Grimaldi's right under the bridge and getting ice cream from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

We managed to get to the park. At first we sped walk from tree to tree, attempting to catch shade from the weather. We eventually ran out of long-extending branches, leafy shades, and the patience. When we reached the clearing that led us to the view of the city, we were dripping. At some point, you just reach a level of soakness where it doesn't really matter if you get any more soaked. It's all just wet -- the hair, the clothes, the socks -- everything. It was hard to care about the dampness with the view in front of us though. Where the river meets the city, and the Brooklyn bridge just to our right, it was pretty surreal. 


On our last day, we journeyed to the Chelsea so that we could walk across The High Line. Everyone knows about Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, but compared to those, The High Line is still a fairly new attraction. If you're not familiar with what it is, it's essentially an incredible concept of an elevated park built on an abandoned railway that weaves through the buildings of Manhattan's West Side. 

Besides just a park that embodies a paradoxical mix of greenery and urban design, there's also multiple sights within The High Line itself. At any given point, you're given a stellar view of the streets and the yellow cabs, and at some points, you even catch sights of the Hudson river. The place boasts an urban theatre, and various seating areas throughout the stretch of the park for relaxing. There's also previously abandoned areas re-purposed as a small marketplace for artists and instagrammable snacks and desserts.

That about sums up the places we went to for this trip. New York is now nothing but a memory. Here's hoping somehow, someway, we get to return and be graced by the cities unforgettable sunsets once more.

Stay gold,


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