Alright, so I think I have a rough itinerary laid out for my two-day stint in the Big Apple. It’s going to involve A LOT of walking, very little “touristy” things (who has money for entrance fees?!), and a daily dose of bagels and cupcakes.
My budget for this trip is laughable, with half of it being alloted to my accommodation costs (even hostels in NYC are expensive). And I don’t mean laughable in the “I’m going with a bottomless pocket” sense and I get to splurge on shopping, cocktails and frou-frou meals. I mean laughable in the sense that I’m going to bring homemade power bars to act as my main source of food (I had initially made these to last us through a road trip on yet another visit to New York, and they then got me through a train trip across Canada), I’m limiting my subway time to try to save a few bucks, there will be no imbibing of the alcohol or the Starbucks (unless I need free WiFi), and my only “treats” will be trying out some legendary bagels and a cupcake a day from my two favourite bakeries (I’m going to need the sugar to fuel my two full days of walking).
Here’s what I have in mind for day one:
- Upon arrival at Penn Station, I’m going to walk over to Gramercy and grab some breakfast at Ess-A-Bagel for my first ever New York bagel. They open at 6:00am, so the timing will work out perfectly as it’s about a thirty minute walk and my bus arrives at 5:30am.
- After breakfast I’m going to hike it up to East Harlem to visit the Crack is Wack Playground, made famous by Keith Haring’s mural of the same name. This walk will kill some time before I meet up with my friend Sarah, as it will still be early and I know how Sarah likes her sleep.
- I’ll then make my way back to Sarah’s hotel, hopefully arriving around 9:00am, and will spend the next few hours with Sarah and her boyfriend, Nathan. Actually, did I say boyfriend? I mean fiancé! I only found out this morning that the two of them just got engaged few days ago while they were at the Grand Canyon! Congrats lovies! I just realized that I will be imbibing in the alcohol, because we need to have celebratory drinks (note to self: set money aside for a toast). Their hotel is on the Upper East Side, so maybe we’ll check out Central Park, or the stairs of the MET…we’ll see…
- Once I bid adieu to the newly engaged couple and send them on their way to Aussie-land, I’m going to take one of the few subway rides of this trip. I’ll be heading to Brooklyn Heights to visit Adam Yauch Park and to wander the neighbourhood that this great Beastie Boy grew up in.
- Next, I’ll be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge back over into Manhattan. Once I’m back on the island I’ll head down Broadway to visit St. Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church. Trinity Church was the first church built on Manhattan after the British took over the settlement from the Dutch. The building that is now standing is actually the third Trinity Church to be on the site as the previous two were destroyed by fire and severe weather, in that order. Within the Trinity burial grounds are interred many historic figures, including Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamship (there’s also a grave of a five-year old boy who passed away in 1681, making it the oldest marked gravestone in all of New York City). St. Paul’s, which I’ve actually mentioned in a previous post, holds a bit of a soft spot in my heart. Check out this post to find out more about the chapel.
- From here I will walk up to Washington Square Park for some photo ops, passing the World Trade Centre on the way, then I’ll head to Greenwich Village for a $1 slice of pizza at Percy’s and then a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery for dessert.
- By this point I would have walked something ridiculous like 25 kilometers, so I think it’s only fair to say I’ll be taking the subway to my hostel. I’ll be staying at the Hostelling International at Amsterdam and W 104th St. This would have been an eight kilometre walk, and seeing how I’m probably going to be exhausted by this point, I’m willing to shell out the subway fare.
And now for day two…
- I’ll be starting off my day with my second NY bagel from Absolute Bagels, located just a short walk away from the hostel. This place has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Yelp, so it should be tasty.
- With bagel in belly I’ll be heading to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the fourth largest Christian church in the world. I’ve been here before and it’s spectacular. I’d like to get some new photos of it in order to properly include its documentation on this blog, so it will be worth a second visit.
- From here I’ll make my way down to Central Park West and will walk along the western border of this beautiful oasis in the city (with a quick pop-in to grab a shot of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir at West 86th Street). I’ll be stopping by The Dakota, former home of John Lennon and Yoko Uno (although apparently Yoko still owns property in the building). This was where the light that was John Lennon was snubbed out prematurely by Mark David Chapman, when Chapman, an obsessed fan, fatally shot Lennon outside his residence on December 8, 1980. I’ll then conclude this pilgrimage to Lennon by visiting the Strawberry Fields memorial, located directly across Central Park West within the Park itself.
- A visit to New York wouldn’t be complete without a proper stroll through Central Park, so I’m going to take some time to visit an area I hadn’t been to before. I’ll be following Terrace Drive, then continuing along East Drive, until I reach Literary Walk (how appropriate for a fledging writer). This part of the park has statues dedicated to some very important men: Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, William Shakespeare and Christopher Columbus. I think I’m going to have to carry around a bouquet of flowers with me throughout both days, just to be able to lay a stem at each of the memorials dedicated to all these influential figures in my life.
- From Literary Walk I’ll be following Center Drive out of the park, continuing down 6th Avenue. I’ll be passing by Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, meandering over to Grand Central Station, eventually finding my way to Little Italy, the Lower East Side and the Bowery.
- During my first visit to NYC in 2009, I came across this cute and one-of-a-kind bakery called Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the Lower East Side. Every visit to the city since that initial trip has included a stop here, and I’m not about to break that tradition now. So at this point of my day, it will be time for a sugar refuel!
- After this stop I don’t have an exact itinerary to follow, but I know I still want to hit up some spots for photos, including #4 Bowery, Wooster Street Social Club, Little Italy (where I’ll hopefully find some cheapy dinner as well) and wherever else my tired, aching feet will take me. Once I’m done on the lower part of the island I’ll be taking my final subway ride back up to the hostel to pack it in for my last sleep in NYC.
Overall, I’m going to see if I can survive off of $100 for the trip. This will include food, beverages, transit fare and hopefully a souvenir magnet for my fridge. I actually think I’ll be able to do it!
I’m exhausted from just writing out my plans for this trip. Imagine how I’ll feel after walking 20-25 kilometers each day? That bus ride home on Wednesday is going to be a very welcome respite indeed.
Four more sleeps until I wake up in NYC!