New York: First Night/Romanian Cabbie
Had no idea what to expect in my first visit to New York
My Mom had gotten the idea of celebrating my 21st birthday by going on a trip once my classes were finished. Initially, she suggested Vegas, but I knew I really had no inclination to go there. I honestly have no desire to go there any time soon. It was up to me to pick a city we could go to, and I had a few in mind. I wanted either L.A., Boston, or New York. Of the three, my mom was most interested in New York because she had already experienced it. I’m glad she did, because the city was super easy to get around in.
The night before we left, I was out celebrating a few birthdays. I knew I was flying the next day and I planned on only having a few drinks. Sweet potato fries! I was completely fooled. I ended up drinking throughout the night, and I even puked when I woke up in the morning. However, I felt fine once we were on our way to the airport.
Our first flight went to Denver, and I almost got sick during landing. I stuck it out somehow, but I guess a kid 6 rows back of me didn’t, and he puked all over a stranger instead of his father. Not even going to imagine how the rest of that interaction panned out. After a few hours, we were on our flight to New York, and we managed to get the two seats closest to the window.
I knew New York would be bright, but I had no idea how close we would be to Manhattan when we were setting up for landing. I don’t like the idea of flying over water, and we had to do a big loop over the Atlantic before we could come across town. That made me nervous as f-.
That feeling was quickly overturned once we drew in to the city. That was probably the nicest skyline I have ever seen, and I am glad I didn’t waste my time trying to take the perfect picture. I could easily see Empire State Building, and we were parallel with the Chrysler building, which was really cool as it stood out in the skyline. If you are ever going to New York, I highly suggest landing at some point during the night. One, the airport will be easy to maneuver. And secondly, you will get a view that you can’t pay for on any other building in Manhattan.
Once we finally got our luggage (we were one of the last), we hustled outside to get a cab. This proved to be easy as there was a long line of cabs waiting for us. A gentleman with a whistle and awful accent asked us if it was our first time there as he hailed the cab for us. As hard as he was to understand, he was incredibly nice. I was in full hustle mode as we got our luggage into the car because we were in New York, and I wasn’t quite ready to be honked at.
Our cab driver was slightly racist, but made for some good conversation. A lot better than someone who makes no effort to talk. He was just happy for the business. Driving up to the Manhattan/Williamsburg bridge reminded me of driving in L.A., because there wasn’t much and it was pretty dirty. The trek up to the bridge was the longest, and it included a lot of cutting others off, and swearing at the “fake” cab drivers who drive black cars.
As we drove across the bridge into Williamsburg, the cabbie started talking about the neighbourhood. Citing how it used to be rundown with a lot of crime. But one day “the gays come in and do good things, they clean it up, now is not so bad”. If I offended anyone that was not my intention, I am just citing what the driver said. He wasn’t being negative at all. He told us it was one of the desirable spots for young people to live in now. Regardless, I couldn’t get over the PILES OF GARBAGE SITTING OUTSIDE OF EVERY BUILDING. It was absolutely horrendous and I rolled up my window. Luckily, all of the garbage would be gone by the morning.
Our cab quickly swerved to nighttime traffic making it’s way between the hundreds of clubs in Manhattan, and we found our hotel in SoHo. We made sure we tipped our Romanian driver well, because he actually showed interest in our travels and had a lot of good things to say. Aside for the racist comments…
We were staying at the Holliday Inn (Soho). It was a decent hotel with a small room and two double beds. Located within a short walk of multiple subway lines, it was in the perfect spot. It was also within walking distance of Little Chin- I mean, Little Italy*** Soho is also within a 10-15 minute walk to the Brooklyn Bridge and finance district, so I think we made a good choice in hotel.
That being said, I will not be staying there next time I go back. I have spoken to a lot of friends who have been to New York, and the best deals can be found on Airbnb. Depending on how many people are going and where you are staying, you could easily find an entire apartment near Central Park for a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel in Manhattan.
Anyways, that was my first impression on the city. I was excited to see the Blue Jays play the Yankees the next morning.