Reading Week Diaries: New York, New York!

“These vagabond shoes / are longing to stray / right through the very heart of it, New York, New York” – Frank Sinatra, “New York, New York”

Holly and Michael go adventuring again! The epic long-distance romance of Holly and Michael continues – this time in the big apple, otherwise known as New York City (*cue flashing lights*). I have been waiting to use this cheesy Frank Sinatra quote for so long and my wish finally came true! Thus on February 5th it was a quick bonjour and au revoir to Montreal and hello to New York City!

(P.S. go check out Michael’s blog  here where I’m sure there’ll be more photos of our trip soon!)

5th February 2016

After a harrowing 6-7 hour red eye flight, I was relieved to finally touch down in Montreal and realize a long-awaited reunion. We didn’t take long collecting my bags and picking up our rental car before heading out onto the labyrinth of highways. My faith in Google was momentarily shaken due to the horrifyingly long route it took us on instead of the pre-planned one we had set ourselves before crossing across the border. Note to self: never trust Google.

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Au revoir, Montreal!

Luckily we had given ourselves a few extra hours so we got to see a seemingly endless array of pretty barns, fields, and towns in Vermont and New York (the state) but still arrived at Poughkeepsie with a few minutes to spare.

 

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Me waiting at Poughkeepsie station. Photo by Michael Maclean

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The sunset was brilliant but the exhaustion of the day and slow rumble of the train lulled us into a short nap until the announcer yelled “Penn Station! Next stop!” The maelstrom of New York hit us full force on our first subway train off the island of Manhattan and into the slightly more quiet Williamsburg where we were greeted by our eccentric  air b’n’b hostess.

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Unfortunately the only pic I got from the train was a fuzzy iPhone one.

The excitement of the city  and our growling bellies were calling, however, and we didn’t want to spend our first night in the tiny windowless room we nicknamed ‘the dungeon.’ We re-fuelled ourselves with pho and beer at a hip little vietnamese restaurant in Williamsburg then caught the subway right into the heart of the city, Times Square. We had a lovely night strolling arm in arm, popping M&Ms, and exploring arguably one of the most romantic cities I’ve seen.

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Times Square, NY

6th February 2016

We began the morning bright and early with breakfast at a trendy little cafe in Williamsburg, then traversed the hectic bus system to get ourselves onto the island of Manhattan (almost all trains from Brooklyn to Manhattan had conveniently shut down for the weekend).

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Michael trying to figure out how to get anywhere
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A cool mural in Williamsburg

We spent the day wandering through Soho and Greenwich Village, me drooling over all the shops and Michael snapping pictures.image

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Little Italy, NY. Photo by Michael Maclean
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The old fashioned burger joint we lunched at, across from the Chelsea Market
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Somewhere in SoHo. Photo by Michael Maclean

We walked along the highline – one of the coolest things to see in the city in terms of architecture. I highly recommend it, even just for the wicked view you get. As the sun began to sink behind the Soho skyline we headed back towards the heart of town to Central Park.

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The Highline. Photo by Michael Maclean
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Carving of the island of Manhattan
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My lovely hipster.

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The chill started creeping in so we grabbed the largest hot chocolate we could buy and shared it while strolling through the park, then, realizing the time, hurried through the streets to meet up with Michael’s old school friend, Harley, at Bryant Park. image

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Central Park

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What a skyline! The artifice of the “natural” space reminded me of quote from a Frank O’Hara poem, “Meditations in Emergency” (incidentally set in New York): “I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It’s more important to confirm the insincere. The clouds get enough attention as it is…”

The lovely fashionista took us to a nice and cheap dinner spot and showed us the hilarious silent disco and beautiful skating rink at Bryant Park. After that, we were off to my awesome birthday present, a show on Broadway!!! We saw An American in Paris, a Gene Kelly film come to life. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

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Harley, myself, and Michael
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Michael and I at Bryant Park
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The beautiful Palace Theatre, right on Broadway in Times Square!

Still not done exploring, we walked away from the garish lights of Broadway and found ourselves a super busy little donut shop. After sharing a cronut, a genius hybrid of croissant and donut, as well as some old fashioned glazed donuts and coffee we kept exploring a little before heading back to the apartment.

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This place was a gem! My favourite eatery that we went to for sure.

7th February 2016

Sadly, our last day in this vibrant city. With coffee and bagels, Michael and I set out on citi-bikes this time, riding across the Williamsburg bridge, along the East River, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and along to the Financial District. This was such a great way to get around – better than subway or bus!

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Apparently even in a busy city such as New York businessmen rest on Sundays, so we had the run of the place while walking to the National Museum of the American Indian for Michael’s assignment. I won’t even mention how problematic this display was, but it was nonetheless interesting to see.

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We decided to take yet another kind of transport back to Williamsburg: the ferry. We enjoyed another brilliant view of the skyline then picked up our bags from the dungeon.

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The Pier 11 Ferry Terminal, Wall St

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Because of our bags, we were limited by what we could do so caught the subway into town and hung out at central park for a while. We got to see the outside of the Guggenheim, and I even managed to work my way through the revolving door but was promptly turned around because of all our luggage.

 

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The Guggenheim
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Back in Central Park; the view across the lake

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We strolled through central park again with Michael relieving my heavy load, had a somewhat questionable hot dog, then shared a pretzel outside the Met. For some reason we haven’t been able to have one smooth travel time; we made the train back to Poughkeepsie by the skin of our teeth with the help of a lovely old man and fell into an exhausted sleep on the train. The drive back to Montreal was lovely and decidedly less eventful with not one border stop, strange route, or extra hour!

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Outside the MET Gallery
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Michael’s oh so photogenic shot of me LOL
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Meeeee. Photo by Michael Maclean
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The lovely Michael outside the MET, enjoying the calm before the harried rush to the train!

The lights, the food, the people, and the sights were all so cool but it could not have been the same wonderful experience without the lovely company. Thank you Michael for muddling your way through the crazy subway system with me, for staying awake ridiculous hours so we could squeeze the most time possible out of the experience, for bringing me a steaming cup of coffee every morning, for my AMAZING birthday surprise, for eating way too many donuts (among other sweet treats) with me, and for making this one of my favourite memories yet. I can’t wait until our next adventure! xx

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