New York City is a special place for me. Growing up, all of my favorite books were set in New York. I visited a few times on school trips in high school, and all my goals and aspirations for my future took me to New York City someday.
Oddly enough, when the opportunity to move to New York City after college did actually present itself, I was terrified and almost didn’t accept it. New York is a jungle, after all. It’s intense, and enormous, and complex, and expensive. And I was 22 and trying to become a teacher. I was scared.
But I did it anyway.
I subletted a cockroach-filled spare room in the Upper East Side for a while before renting a tiny house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a few amazing girls. I taught my first classes and earned my master’s in special education. I taught myself to run, looping through Central Park and Greenpoint. And I made some amazing friends.
I never felt at home in New York, but I did love it in a way. After three years, I decided to move to Boston to be closer to my family and try my hand at feeling like I actually belonged in a place. I know that it was the right move for me, but every time I visit New York, I feel so, so nostalgic and maybe even a little bit sad.
Last weekend my study abroad program (ASE Bath, England 2010 wahoo!) held a reunion in New York City, and my old flatmates from England and I coordinated to all attend together.
My weekend started at 5am on Saturday, when I shuffled out of bed, threw a few sundresses in my backpack, and headed out to the Amtrak station to catch a 6:45am train. I was in New York by 10:30, and the ride was so comfortable! I love train travel so much more than bus or plane travel.
My hotel was on the West Side, so I took the subway to Columbus Circle. The exit from Columbus Circle Subway Station has always felt a little magical to me!
It was super hot last weekend; high 80’s and 90’s. I dropped my bags at my hotel and changed into shorts and sneakers. I would have loved to be more fashionable, but I wanted to take a walk around midtown to visit a few of my favorite spots, and shorts and sneaks made that walk so, so much more pleasant!
My first stop was Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. I spent tons of time studying here while I was working on my masters. I also loved all the free, fun events that happened in Bryant Park, like yoga classes and outdoor movies. If you’re ever in New York, be sure to check and see if there’s an event going on at Bryant Park or the Central Library!
I also stopped by my favorite sewing shop, M & J Trimming. Seamstresses of the world: this place is HEAVEN. So many fun trims, ribbons, buttons, patches, appliques….EVERYTHING.
I spent the afternoon wandering around Union Square, reuniting with old friends, and remembering how absolutely terrible Manhattan smells in the summer heat.
That evening, I went to my reunion, and had a blast catching up with my old friends!!
We topped the night off by hitting up my favorite frozen yogurt spot: TASTI D-LITE! Tasti is a NYC-based chain, and I basically lived off this stuff during my grad school days.
I woke up nice and early the next morning so that I could beat the heat and get a jog in. When I first decided that I wanted to start running, I was super crunched for time. I taught until 3pm, and I had grad school class at 7pm three nights a week. My grad school was really close to Central Park, so I started lugging my gym bag uptown on the train with me every day. On the nights when I had class, I’d change into running clothes at the (creepy, basement) campus locker room right after work, lock my teacher junk up, and jog in the park for 30-45 minutes. Then I’d throw on some body spray and study in the library until my class started.
Last weekend I returned to the park and ran the lower half of the Central Park loop (about 3 miles), and added on a little tangent up to Belvedere Castle and through the Rambler. Along the loop there are a few memorable hills; this cougar statue lurks over one of them, scaring runners into hill running since 1883.
I stopped to take some pretty sunrise pictures at Belvedere Castle, too.
After my jog, My friend and I had breakfast and headed over to Brooklyn, where we lived right after college. We went to Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and took in the view:)
It was already getting super hot, so this is the last picture of me before my hair went up.
We wandered around Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn until noon, and were totally starving when we headed back towards our hotel. We stopped in at the Burrito Box on 9th Avenue and It was so delicious and so affordable!
My friend had to catch her train right after lunch, but I had some free time throughout the afternoon. I decided to stop by a few of my other favorite places before I headed out. I dropped by my favorite thrift store, Beacon’s Closet, and it was just as fabulous as I remembered!
Then I walked along the High Line Park. If you are in New York and the weather is nice, this is a must-see. About 7 years ago, the city of New York transformed some old industrial train tracks into an elevated park that runs above 10th avenue from 14th street all the way up to 34th. It’s such a unique journey, wandering above the streets, in between high-rises, right over the top of busy avenues. The landscaping is stunning, and there’s amazing vistas at ever turn.
I walked over 10 miles on Sunday, not including my 3-mile jog. My feet- and my brain-was so, so tired by the time I finally boarded my train back to Boston that afternoon.
I had a wonderful time in New York, and hopefully I have a chance to visit again soon!
Now You Tell Me…
- Do you feel nostalgic for the places you used to live?
- Have you been to NYC? Any favorite spots?