Four day weekend - the perfect amount of time for a weekend away from the peaceful D.C. to the hustle and bustle of New York City. We arrived in the Megabus as the lit up billboards welcomed us to NYC (side note: the bus was incredible - they allowed us to go on an earlier bus with no extra cost and everything was clean and comfy, would definitely go by Megabus next time). We rolled our luggage through the small puddles o water on the sidewalk that had formed from the rain earlier. It was still sprinkling a bit but it was nice. The heavy fog and clouds prevented us from going up the Empire State Building to view the City that Never Sleeps. Nonetheless, we had plenty of other things to explore. We pushed through the crowds in Times Square and stood there for a while to take it all in. Then the Empire State of Mind started playing over and over in our heads:
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There is nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
The lights will inspire you,
Lets here it for New York, New York, New York
The highlight of the night was definitely the walk over Brooklyn Bridge. Light rain touched our faces as we paced. We stopped a few time to turn and take in the magnificent lit up skyline of Manhattan on the other side. The bridge was almost deserted with a few joggers and people riding home on their bikes. We walked towards Dumbo in the middle of the darkness to get photos of the Manhattan Bridge.
We stayed at an Airbnb place on Chauncey St in East Bushwick of Brooklyn. It was a small 2 bedroom apartment right next to the Metro (convenient but also slightly noisy at night) with 5 beds crammed into one of the rooms. The hostess was really nice and provided us with everything we needed (cream cheese bagels included). This accommodation costed about $32 per person per night which was incredibly cheap. Slightly far from Manhattan but getting the metro to the city was easy and only costed a standard $2.75 per fare.
The next few days were spent by exploring the Financial District (Wall St, the Charging Bull, New York Stock Exchange), Battery Park,Statute of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park (which was quite amazing seeing the massive city surrounding this green piece of land), the MET, getting 99cent pizzas before watching Fiddler on the Roof in Broadway!
The next two days were mostly spent in Brooklyn which was probably my favorite place in New York. In particular, Williamsburg and Bushwick both had a lot of local culture with amazing street art, markets selling creations in the form of canvases, paintings, jewelry, restaurants (which also drowned in street art) and so much more. It reminded me of Newtown, a suburb in Sydney which gives off the same hip, young, artsy vibe.
Foods that I recommend: Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick, best in Brooklyn with long lines on a Monday morning. Criff's Dogs, for the authentic American hotdogs experience for cheap. Dunwell Donuts, for the vegans with a sweets craving (all the donuts are vegan here and they taste amazing). The Little Owl, which is right under the Friend's Apartment with people packed to the rim (get the meatball sliders and cheeseburger). 99cent Fresh Pizza near Broadway, it's cheap, it's tasty, it's pizza. Cold Stone Creamery, for some great ice cream in Time Square.
I loved the experience in NYC but I probably couldn't live there long term. The subway was convenient but incredibly dirty, as were the roads. It was also a harsh reminder of the reality of the rate of homelessness and people suffering from mental illness who could not afford shelter or healthcare. It was a sore sight to see this happening in supposedly the greatest city in the world. Maybe this will change in the future - let's just hope America elects the right president to run the country.