Through the rain and wind I continued to travel, soaked to the bone and chilled right through. My umbrella was doing me little good, providing me with just enough coverage to ensure my camera stayed dry. I had two more neighbourhoods to visit before the end of my last full day in the city, however, so I plowed on, telling myself that at the end there’d be a cupcake waiting for me.
From Lower Manhattan I jumped on the train and headed north to Washington Square Park. In good weather, this place is full of people and the last time I was here there was even a man playing a baby grand piano. On this day, however, I was maybe one of three people braving the elements to take in the sight of that great arch:
From the park I planned on following one of my favourite streets, Bleecker, until it reached Greenwich Village. I started the journey along the thoroughfare, only moments later remembering that I had to pay a visit to the tattoo shop featured in NY Ink, SoHo’s Wooster Street Social Club.
I backtracked down 6th Avenue hung a left onto Grand Street, then turned up Wooster, passing a few storefronts before arriving at the shop.
As I was outside taking some photos, it occurred to me that I might actually get to meet some of the stars of the show, such as Ami James or Megan Massacre. The last time I was here was on a weekend, and I found out at that time that Ami is normally in his hometown of Miami on weekends, with filming occurring during the week. Because this trip saw me there on a Tuesday, I definitely thought I’d be seeing some familiar faces.
I quickly tried to check my appearance, but with the rain and a day’s worth of walking under my belt, I knew I looked weathered. I mustered up my courage, however, and headed inside.
Turns out I didn’t need my courage because the big names weren’t even there. There were no film crews, just regular guys, running the shop as a traditionally functioning tattoo parlor. I browsed around, taking a quick look at their merchandise section. Unfortunately I was running out of money at this point though, and having already picked up a souvenir on my last trip to the city, I just took in the moment, then continued on my way.
From Wooster I found my way back to Bleecker and continued on the hike I had previously begun. I didn’t make it far until I reached a pizza joint I discovered by chance the last time I was in the area, Bleecker Street Pizza. I decided to pop in to grab a slice and my first beer of my trip. I also wanted a few minutes out of the rain, so I figured enjoying some delicious Margherita pizza was the perfect reason to take a break.
I didn’t get a shot of the restaurant because my camera battery was running desperately low, so here’s a photo I borrowed from the internet:
If you’re ever in this part of the city, I strongly recommend you stop by for a slice. This place is famous for its pizza amongst locals and celebrities, with framed pictures of the owner with various celebs decorating the walls. And when the weather is nice, they even set up a little sidewalk patio. Just not on the day that I was there.
From Bleecker Street Pizza I continued on a few more blocks for my dessert: a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. I wasn’t even that hungry after my slice, but how often do you get to eat a cupcake from Magnolia? I wasn’t going to pass on the chance.
As I stood on the street corner outside the bakery enjoying my cupcake, I realized I had nearly forgotten about one last stop I needed to make. This final landmark was a very important one, and in a way I’d be making a pilgrimage to a studio that once housed one of my music idols: Jimi Hendrix.
Located at 6th Avenue and E 8th Street, the studio was purchased by Hendrix and his manager in 1968 with the original intention of turning it into a club. The site was eventually overhauled and transformed into a recording studio uniquely styled for Jimi himself, officially opening in 1970. Hendrix’s last ever studio recording was taped at Electric Lady, the instrumental Slow Blues.
Visiting Electric Lady was the perfect way to end the day. With sadness in my heart, knowing that it was my last night in NYC, I started to make my way to the subway station. The walk, however, reminded me that it was a good time to return to the hostel as there was about a gallon of rain water sloshing around in my shoes and parts of my clothing.
Within about twenty minutes I was back in my room, changed and getting my pack ready for the return trip home. Although I was sad to say goodbye to New York, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d return again.
New York City feels like home to me. Despite travelling by myself, I was never scared. And by the end of the trip I had practically memorized all of the subway station stops on the 1 Line, not evening needing my tiny pocket map of the subway system.
Out of all my travels and cities visited, NYC has the most notches on its belt for the number of times I’ve been there. I will never tire of this city and there’s still so much I haven’t seen or experienced yet. It might very well take me a lifetime to feel completely fulfilled.
It’s the city where my paternal grandparents met; it’s the birthplace of many of my favourite musicians and writers; but most importantly, it’s a city that will forever hold a piece of my heart.
New York, I love you.