English United States

Visiting the city that never sleeps

After two hours of train travelling, from Poughkeepsie to New-York, I arrived at Grand Central Station. The heart of the city. It was special to meet Stacey over there, a friend from the Netherlands who was in New-York for a couple of days to work at a UN conference. Stacey stayed at a fancy hotel which was in/beside the train station. I could park my bike in her hotelroom in the afternoon as I could not yet go to the apartment where I was staying. Just like in Boston, I wanted to walk through the city center in the afternoon. It turned out to be impossible, as New-York is just way too big to walk through in one afternoon. What a huge city! The endless avenues with skyscrapers were really impressive. At the end of the afternoon, I walked through Central park towards Times Square. It felt surreal to be there. After Stacey finished her work, we met at Times Square and drank something at a fancy place. Afterwards, that unfortunately turned out to be the only moment when Stacey and I met. She had to work the entire days in the days that followed, and we didn’t get to meet each other in the evenings. Around midnight, I cycled from Grand Central towards my accommodation in the middle of China Town in downtown Manhattan. I met Eric over here, Eric’s from Michigan, studied in New-Hampshire and lives and works for a couple of years in New York as a business consultant.

View over the Hudson river during the train journey to NYC
Meeting Stacey at Grand Central
Some leftovers of the snow storm in Central Park
Times Square

I spent the first full day in New-York as a real tourist. Early in the morning, I got my hop-on-hop-off ticket for one of those red sightseeing busses. I’ve been on multiple busses for a long time, and I think I got an information overload, as I fell asleep during the last bus tour that I wanted to do. Furthermore, I’ve been to Wallstreet and to a couple of national museums.

This picture made me realise that my journey just started

9/11 Memorial

After a strange Chinese breakfast with Eric, I took the last remaining bustour which went towards Brooklyn. While I was waiting for the bus to leave, I met Emi, an Indonesian women. She spent a couple of days in New-York before continuing her journey towards the Niagara Falls and California. We started talking and eventually spend the next days together. After the bus tour, we had a nice lunch and went to the 9/11 memorial site. Very impressive. Emi is pretty addicted to social media and she wanted to take selfies of basically everything. I didn’t want to take a selfie of the memorial because I think it’s not appropriate. She didn’t seem to hear me and continued her selfie-session. At the end of the afternoon, we got to the top of the One World Trade Center. We took the perfect day and time, because we could see NYC between while it was still daylight and while it was pitch dark. The helicopter perspective gives you a clear idea of how big New York is.

View over Manhattan
View towards the sunset, over New Jersey

After this impressive view, Emi, Eric and I went to a local restaurant with a lot of supporters for the Michigan basketball team. It’s currently March Madness, a well-known basketball tournament with teams composed from universities.

Emi and I met the following morning to go to the statue of liberty, we got our tickets yesterday. As Emi bought them earlier on the day, she also had the right to go to the the pedestal, including a small museum. Luckily, I was able to bluff myself to the pedestal. Every day, only a couple of hundreds of people are allowed to actually climb the statue, that’s something you have to book months in advance. It’s already sold out until August! After we had seen Lady Liberty, we took the ferry to Ellis Island, the location where millions of immigrants used to arrive. In a register, I checked whether I had distant relatives that sought their happiness in the US. Unfortunatly, no hits…. After we arrived in Manhattan, I said goodbye to Emi. I wanted to plan a couple of days in advance. I was leaving the next day, and I still had no clue where I was going. The last evening, Eric, two friends and I went out for dinner. I’m starting to get better at eating with chopsticks. It’s pretty ironic that I’m learning this in New-York.

Emi during one of her selfie sessions

The next morning, I thanked Eric for the great time in New-York. It’s too bad that I didn’t take a picture of him. I told him that, besides the touristic attractions, I really have the feeling that I know what it’s like to live in New-York, or at least in China Town. He had to go to work at 7, I left his apartment not much later. My plan was to take the ferry to Belford. The information signs at the terminal didn’t make any sense, so I eventually boarded the wrong ferry. I was afraid that I had missed the last morning-ferry to Belford, but I was still able to make it. And another blessing in disguise, I met the kind NY Waterway’s employees Kevin and Illario on the wrong ferry. Kevin took some pictures of my entire gear with the New-York skyscrapers in the background. Great memories!

I unfortunately lost one of my gloves on the ferry, but let’s assume that I won’t need them anymore! I had a big tailwind, so I could’ve reached Philadelphia in one day, but I had booked my Airbnb location for the next day. I decided to pitch up my tent in the Rancocas State Park, the last opportunity before it gets too busy. I’ll stay here for the coming two nights before I’ll make a big detour towards Washington D.C.!

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