Guest Contributor: Kayla S. as featured in Pathos Magazine
When I got the idea to visit NY midway during my Boston trip with my sister, it didn't really set in that I was visiting the place I'd dreamed about since I was a child. The eccentric and determined people, the historic steps of Harlem, and the timeless architecture of Grand Central Station were calling my name. Yet, it didn't hit me that I'd be experiencing it all until about an hour before my train got to Penn Station.
When my sister and I walked outside of Penn Station, I felt a rush of energy and gratitude. The buildings, which were taller than any I'd seen, stood around us like towers. The people rushing in and out for meetings and jobs only complimented the scene of numerous cabs in front of us searching for travelers. My sister and I were finally in New York, and we could tell that the trip would be fantastic. Listed below are some of my favorite places and memories from an unforgettable trip.
This trip was my first time trying out AirBnB. The apartment was right across the street from Central Park, and we were in walking distance from unique cafes and shops. Our host, Lacy, was extremely friendly and made the experience really easy and pleasant. Between the location and the space in the apartment (my sister, brother-in-law, and I were able to fit in comfortably!) and it’s a great location, this was an easy stay and somewhere I'd definitely stay on my next visit.
Grand Central Station
I am sold on anywhere that has a bookstore inside. Grand Central Station was, in my eyes, an architectural masterpiece. The opulence and constellation design on the ceiling was magnificent to me, and it almost felt like a mall rather than a typical train station. We indulged in the Oyster Barinside, got to check out the bookstore, and even were able to witness a small, peaceful protest for Mike Brown.
Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn
I was only here for a few hours, but Brooklyn definitely took a piece of my heart. It seemed to be stock full of intellectuals and talented people working towards their goals. The building exteriors really caught my eyes, and Tom's Restaurant (apparently a look-alike of the restaurant where Seinfeld was filmed) had Crab Cake and Spinach Benedict. Enough said.
The Blind Barber
This speakeasy hidden as a barbershop in the corners of East Village was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The bartenders know their stuff and make drinks that will make you keep asking for more. The music was funky and old school, and the 1920s vibe of the bar made for a good night of drinks and socialization.
You've got to love a place that lives up to its name. The sign wasn't lying on the door that said "best pizza in New York". One of NY's oldest pizza businesses, Pomodoros delicious slice of vodka sauce pizza paired with a large beer for $8 was a pleasant lunch break for me after a busy day of touring SoHo. The restaurant is small and was one of the most authentic NY pizza dining experiences I had while I was there.
SoHo was the part of the city that I knew the least about. A friend of mine told me I would love it before I left home, but I never got around to thoroughly researching it. Nevertheless, I went and decided to see where the day would take me. The culture of SoHo is unmatchable. Artistry reels through every shop and person you come into contact with, and the style there was my favorite in New York. The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping made for a very busy experience that day, and it only added to the culture that's there.
I spent a majority of my junior and senior year in high school studying the Harlem Renaissance for IB papers. I was always intrigued by what I think is the crux of modern day black culture, and I was determined to make a stop there (despite numerous travel threads saying that it's a little "dangerous"). Walking through the streets was like witnessing a masterpiece. Harlem certainly hasn't lost it's ability to be a pot for culture and creativity to view, and seeing all of the markets and shops on the streets with sellers from all over the world was a pleasant difference from the rest of New York. Next time I stop here, visiting a jazz club is on my list!
While my trip in New York was short, I got so much out of my time there. This, I believe, is the essence of the city - making the most out of the time and resources you have. I loved New York, and I look forward to going back for a much longer period of time.