Thank you and Farewell New York

New York, Travel

Well New York, it’s time for us to say goodbye. This post has taken me days to write as every time I start I just can’t come up with the words to correctly explain just how incredible this year has been and how devastated I am that it is over. I cry every time I think about it.

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I hope it’s not for good, but it will never be the same. I arrived a naïve, shy girl who had always dreamt of some version of New York. I leave a strong, confident, broad minded woman who has experienced every aspect of the multiple versions of New York.

Thank You New York

– For making me laugh and for making me cry, usually in the same day.
– For challenging me but allowing me to thrive in new opportunities
– For making every night out the craziest and greatest ever
– For showing me things I would not see anywhere else in the world.
– For introducing me to life long friends
– For showing me a side of myself I didn’t know was there
– For teaching/forcing me to speak up for myself
– For your unique beauty that will live inside of me
– For all the times you tested my character, my patience, my well being, my spirit all to forge a stronger, more capable version of me.

New York you truly are the greatest city in the world and I cannot thank you enough for the experiences I have had which have changed me for the better.

Until we meet again,
I Love You.

Sincerely,
NYLuva4eva
x

Coney Island

New York, Travel

This weekends exploration took place at the glorious Coney Island. There is something quite wonderful about being able to hop on the subway in the city and end up with your toes in the sand. Coney Island is known for it’s boardwalk, beach and amazing amusement park – the Wonder Wheel Ferris Wheel being it’s main fixture.

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We didn’t go on any of the rides as they were a little outside our budget. Especially because when Summer ends it gets extra cheap – so we’ll go back then. But it was still amazing just walking around and taking it all in. Coney Island tends to be open from April to October each year but the boardwalk and beach are open year round. There is such a diverse culture out there. Spanish, Jersey Shore alums and New Yorkers wanting to escape the crowds that just end up with a different much bigger crowd.

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An event Coney Island is famous for which I know made the news back in New Zealand is the Annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition. This years winner finished off a whopping 61 hotdogs including the buns! ‘Murica – you disgusting but impressive son ova bitch. Of course that meant for lunch we had to try Nathan’s hot dogs – they did not disappoint. While we were eating we met a little kid called Jacob who told us he thought hot dogs were disgusting. He also wasn’t very fond of soup. So there ya go!

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Coney Island has the most incredible energy and it is constantly thriving. There are so many stores selling beach equipment like buckets and spades, rubber floats for the sea, towels and memorabilia. It plays the tourist card but does it well. I will definitely be visiting again and getting my butt on all those rides!

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Until next time friends..
x

Take A Hike Buddy

New York, Travel

To be honest with you it is quite the miracle that I am home safe and sound writing this. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Because of the constant energy New York has it can get quite tiring and sometimes you need to escape, so Will and I did just that. Before leaving New Zealand I would quite regularly go for hikes in the Waitakere Ranges which was amazing. When we caught the Metro-North train upstate I was expecting hikes of the same beginner-intermediate intensity. Well let me tell you, this shit almost killed me. It was a day filled with wrong turns, mishaps, stunning views and by the end of it extremely sore legs.

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I had wanted to get out in to nature for a while so did some googling and found this link. We decided on Bear Mountain State Park as we had seen photos that looked incredible. The Metro-North train only stops at hiking stops such as Bear Mountain on the weekend and only one door of the train opens for you to exit. We missed our stop. Manitou was the stop we were meant to get off at and then walk across Bear Mountain Bridge but the conductor was a real shithead and didn’t explain that you had to be on the small area between train carts that specifically says “NO STANDING”. Go figure as to why we thought that’s not where we should be waiting. Any who there was an absolutely lovely lady passenger on the train who told us that a couple stops away was another hiking trail and she explained exactly where we needed to go. It wasn’t our trail of choice but what the hell.

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Everyone in New York must have been needing to get out into the wilderness because so many people got off at the next hiking stop. We followed the ladies directions which lead us to a desk with two rangers at the beginning of trail helping people. His first words- “This is an extremely challenging trail which involves rock climbing where you need to have your arms and legs free”. Nope. Not happening. My response? “Is there an easier option”? There was! Hallelujah! He showed us on a map where we needed to go, how long it would take and where the best views were. When we asked if we could take a copy of the map he said “Sure, for $2”. Obviously we weren’t THAT far out of New York City.

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Even though we still managed to get extremely lost, it would have been a lot worse had we not purchased that map. The first part of the hike I found incredibly difficult, it was mostly up hill and we climbed 1000 ft. We were also idiots and only took a 500ml bottle of water each which we almost finished just on the train ride. It was tough. As Will kept pointing out, you can last two days without water and we are complaining and dreaming about our next beverage after 20 minutes. Fair call. Our lunch spot was incredible. Sprawling views of the Hudson River and other state parks. I packed tuna for our lunch but stupidly left the can opener at home! So Will being the Survivor fanatic he is put his hours of watching to use and bashed the can open on a rock. My hero.

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After lunch was when things started to go wrong. The ranger had told us to start on the Yellow Trail till we get to the White Trail. Follow the White Trail for 10 minutes until you get to the Blue Trail. From there continue on to the Red Trail. It took us hours to find the White Trail. Each point where a new colour would appear was very confusing and the map did not give us a good indication of where to go. We eventually got to the White Trail and then to the Blue but we took a wrong turn. After what must have been 3 hours of hiking we thought we were coming to and end but instead ended up at a kids summer camp. We exited the park on to a huge green field with a climbing wall and soccer goals. Surely this couldn’t be the finishing point. It wasn’t. But it had water fountains! So after our run in with severe dehydration (not really), we ran to the fountains and guzzled that cold water like never before.

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We managed to find some people who gave us directions how to get back to the train station. This involved walking through the entire camp which was incredible! It was just like the summer camps you see in the movies. It turned out to be one of my favourite things I have seen while I have been here. At the end of the camp we ended up back on the trail…for another 2+ hours!! That’s not even the best bit though. Once we finished the trail we still had a 30 minute walk to get to the train. I slept real good on the way back to the city, reeeeal good. It was a great day though, filled with adventure which included me sliding down a hill on my ass. That happened when we took ANOTHER wrong turn and had to trudge through thorn bushes. Ahh nature. You can’t beat it.

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What other hikes should I get lost on in NY State? Please let me know!

Until next time friends..

xx

Fourth of July

New York, Travel

Well it is certainly getting hot here in NYC! Today we had a scorcher of 32 degrees. Urgh, it was disgusting. This pasty lady is not meant for sweltering heat. We celebrated Independence Day here in ‘Murica and it was fabulous. My favourite holiday I’ve celebrated here so far. Most New Yorkers leave the city for the long weekend so we made the most of the quiet streets and no lines for restaurants. Ironically my day was spent surrounded by Kiwis rather than Americans. But what a great bunch of Kiwis they are. photo1 The festivities began at The Essex in Lower East Side for a boozy bunch. It was delicious, food always puts me in a good mood. Lots of laughs and mimosas later we were on the move but the rain stopped us in our tracks and ruined the fun outdoor activities we had planned. Never fear though, off to Brooklyn it was for Cranium and shelter! Our kiwi clan spent the afternoon drinking beer, playing games and eating pizza, so we got a little bit of American tradition in! photo1 We finally got the weather on our side and the clouds began to clear. Each year New York has an incredible fireworks display for the fourth of July. Usually in the Hudson River but this year they were in the East River which is between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Lucky for us we have a rooftop that gets sprawling views of the city, so once the sun came out we hiked up 6 flights of stairs to finish the night off on the roof.

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It was a splendid day, with splendid people in a splendid city. I bet the word splendid sounds funny to you now.

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Oh and in case you missed it – I got published on HelloGiggles.com. Click below to check out my piece “The Pros and Cons of Having Bangs”. HelloGiggles Until next time, friends.. X

It’s Not all Fun and Games

New York, Travel

This post may be a bit of a downer but I thought it was necessary. Since deciding to move overseas and especially since moving, I have had a lot of the same responses from people. Usually along the lines of “How did you manage to do that?”, “Oh my god you are living the life” or “I am so jealous/envious of your life”. That last one is something I have never wanted to make people feel. Mainly because, in New Zealand especially, everyone has equal opportunity. So going overseas is within reach and what I have done is not out of the ordinary. Also because, while I have had an amazing time so far, it most definitely has not been all fun and games. Hence the title of this post.

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Moving from New Zealand to New York City has given me some of the highest highs and lowest lows to date. I have met amazing people, seen and done incredible things all while finding out so much about myself. But on the other side I have never been this broke in my life, I get major anxiety and am underpaid and under appreciated. I am not living a life of luxury by any means. Most of what I post about I have done for free because I don’t have the money to spend. I can’t afford a fancy brunch on a Williamsburg Rooftop so instead I go to The Met where you pay by donation (meaning you can pay 1c) and go to their rooftop garden with just as spectacular views without the overpriced Eggs Benedict. While working ladies lunch, I sit at my desk eating tuna and beans. My washing sits for weeks because I can’t scrape enough quarters together for the machine. But still, I’m living in New York so it’s okay. Well at least that’s what I tell myself.

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This city tests my character daily. Wherever in the city I go, New York shows me the extremes of life. A well-dressed, young man leaving his Manhattan townhouse to get into his Mercedes, heading for his summer house. Compare this to what you find when you walk 5 meters and turn the corner. An older man, his clothes filthy and torn, leaving his small, hardly sheltered nook under some scaffolding with his shopping cart full of cans and plastic bottles looking to get whatever money he can to feed himself. It tests my character not because I am scared by the homeless people but because it makes me feel helpless and hopeless. I am confronted with this constantly which forces me to acknowledge that these people and this issue exists it shows me that we as a human race are not doing our part. I know that I could do more. It is easy to ignore if it doesn’t effect us directly. This is the main part that makes me feel hopeless. What I have also seen with these polar opposite ways of life is that those who are less fortunate are the most grateful and understanding. Then there are the people who are more fortunate that seem to live this life of entitlement. If they could remove themselves for one second and just hear the problems they are complaining about as they sip on their Venti Soy Triple Shot Espresso, or whatever trendy bullshit people drink these days, surely they would see how insignificant their problems and their ego are. Well you would hope.

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My time here has been an emotional roller coaster but of course people don’t like to show their vulnerability and weaknesses. With the rise of social media it is there for people to show their highlight reel rather than their behind the scenes. I’m pretty sure that’s a Taylor Swift quote so thanks Tay Sweeze. But this is what I have done. I stand by the fact that Facebook should not be used as a diary but next time you see someone living overseas or doing something else that you may be envious of remember the above Tee Swizzle quote. There is so much more to a person than what they show online. With every photo album shared of great times, there are just as many tough times that aren’t seen. I respect and admire people who use social media rarely or not at all. I would love to be one of you, but my mother would kill without this portal into my life – Hi Mum.

This all may come across a little hypocritical and you make think what the hell is she talking about. Don’t get me wrong, this year has been an amazing opportunity and experience which I wouldn’t trade in. It has made me a stronger person and more aware. I guess moral of the story is don’t glamorize people’s lives through the internet, realize that there is more to a person than their profile and don’t ever feel envious about people doing things that you can easily achieve too.

Under The Sea Housewarming

New York

Long time no see you guys!

Not to sound like an old woman but..boy, do i have a lot to tell you! One adventure at a time – so let’s start at the beginning.

As I have mentioned we moved into a new apartment about a month ago. When we first moved in we didn’t have a couch or any living room furniture pretty much. This meant we had no communal living space to hang out or bond in and just hung out in our rooms like hermit crabs. Which is who i am at heart, but that’s beside the point. My roommate Jen managed to find an awesome deal on craigslist recently where a girl was giving away the majority of her belongings as she was moving in with her boyfriend. That sentence right there is a whole other feminist conversation i could delve in to. Another time, perhaps. Basically, what that all means is that we now have living room furniture – rejoice! This was cause to celebrate. Bring on drinking, friends, new friends and of course an under the sea theme.

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The theme was decided upon after a drunken night involving Pictionary. Promises were made, kept and executed marvelously. We nailed the theme. Goldfish snacks, candy, blue punch, blue streamers, green fish netting, sea weed, blue jello shots. After writing that i think the theme may have just been blue…

We made a under the sea themed photo booth wall which provided for some hilarious photos. We even had props – bubbles, a pirate hat and giant hipster glasses. The hipster glasses were a little off theme for under the sea, but very on-theme for the photo booth.

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Props to Harriet, Tania and Jordan who I jokingly told dress up was mandatory and came as a tribe of Spongebob Squarepant’s. When no one else was dressed up. Yep. Major props. It was amazing.

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I made fruit punch and called it Kiwi Paradise – it was a big hit. But also was the result of a lot of drunk American’s and Kiwi’s. I win!

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Secrets of Manhattan

Uncategorized

As I said in my last post, I love New York secrets. Whether it be a hidden away speak easy bar or an abandoned.. well anything, it fascinates me. There are so many secrets and hidden worlds that never see the light of day. This weekend I compiled a list and went exploring.

City Hall Subway
First on the list – the abandoned City Hall subway stop. This had popped up in a few articles that I had read and I immediately knew I had to see it. Back when it was still operating, it looked absolutely glorious, the epitome of New York glamour. The stop is closed from the public now but still sits there in all its glory. I read some blog posts to see how possible it was from other explorers that had ventured to get a glimpse. Luckily we didn’t have to go all Evil Knievel and sneak down into the subway tracks. There was a way to see it just by catching the subway. The 6 train, which pretty much covers the length of Manhattan, passes City Hall when it loops back around after its last stop at Brooklyn Bridge. So that’s what we did. When we got to the last stop at Brooklyn Bridge and the voice came over telling us “This is the LAST STOP on this train. Please everyone leave the train”, we stayed on. Take that society, we’re breaking all the rules. The 6 train started to move slowly on its loop back round, Will and I stood on opposite sides of the train with our noses pushed up against the glass. I yelled to Will when I saw it and he came running over. It was only visible for a mere 10 seconds, but it was worth it. Maybe it was just because we were seeing something we weren’t meant to but it was beautiful. The photo below is of when the stop was still operating.

City Hall Subway Stop

Grand Central

Wedding photos at Grand Central

Wedding photos at Grand Central

Next was Grand Central Station. Usually Grand Central gives me anxiety. Since we moved, this is now where I have to catch the train to get to work in the morning. That many people, all in a rush to get to work is just asking for trouble. But I decided I would make the trip there in the weekend because of all the amazing things I had read about the station. Some of the most amazing things are off limits to the public. For example there is a subway line underneath Grand Central that no longer runs but was put in place purely for President Roosevelt to get to his hotel when he was in town. The train was found years ago and is apparently still there, with its coat of armour on. Another incredible fact about Grand Central is the basement. The basement runs from 42nd St to 94th street, which is pure madness. The entire City Hall building could easily fit in the basement alone of Grand Central. All of these hidden treasures aside, this vital piece of New York still has a lot of secrets if you know where to go.

Tennis Courts
When you think Grand Central Station I’m sure a tennis court doesn’t even register. Well the courts at Grand Central have been around since the 60’s. My research tells me that Geza A. Gazdag founded the Vanderbilt Athletic Club and had two clay courts put in. In the 80’s the courts got taken over by Donald Trump, who of course turned it in to his own private club. While under his ownership, the club invited many celebrities to come and have a hit. The courts got shut down in 2009 for a while to make room for a staff lounge for MTA employees. However, they were reopened at a new hidden location in the terminal, under the name The Vanderbilt Tennis Club. Again, this took some researching to figure out where exactly they were located. They couldn’t have done a better job of hiding this place away.

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To get there you walk into The Campbell Apartment which is opposite Tequillaville on Vanderbilt St. (Side note: Must check out Tequillaville. What an amazing name for a bar). The Campbell Apartment is a swanky cocktail bar which requires “proper attire” to gain entry. Head past the sign which reminds you are not in proper attire, not just for a cocktail bar but for being out in public in general and head for the elevator. Press the button for the 4th floor, whilst feeling like someone’s going to come and tell you to get the hell out at any moment. When you make it to the 4th floor it will feel like you have to come to the complete wrong place, there’s no way a tennis court could be here. It looks like a doctor’s waiting room with a vending machine to match. Take a left when you hop out of the elevator and you’ll find a small sign advertising The Vanderbilt Tennis Club. Surprisingly, the tennis club is open for the public for a small fee of $100 – $250 an hour. Did I mention Donald Trump used to own these courts? Maybe the prices remain from his ownership. We headed in, still feeling like we were breaking and entering but soon came to a small reception office looking over the court. It was incredible. The guy behind the desk looked like a typical tennis instructor and his clientele the typical housewife type. So he couldn’t have been less interested in us and our amazement at seeing this hidden Wimbledon size court.

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Elevator Display

Whispering Gallery
This one isn’t so much of a secret because anytime you search Grand Central this will be on every list of what to see there. We went and checked it out anyway and it was a lot of fun. How it works I have no idea and apparently no one else does either. When Grand Central was built, this was not a feature put in on purpose. Located in front of The Oyster Bar and Restaurant, beneath a dome like ceiling there are 4 corners which make up The Whispering Gallery. If you go into one of the corners and talk into it, the person at the diagonal corner can hear exactly what you are saying. Amazing. The Whispering Gallery has been the home to many a marriage proposal and secret confessions.

Secrets of Manhattan (1)

Secrets of Manhattan (2)

Community 54
This was a big disappointment as when we got here it had closed down. What USED to be located at 54 Clinton Street in the Lower East Side was a men’s clothing store hidden behind an arcade. The store front looked like a dingy arcade filled with beaten up games but go through the photo booth and you’ll find a modern clothing store with amazing pieces. I almost cried when we got all the way there and it had metal bars covering it up. It was too good to be true.

I’ve got many more hidden areas of New York to explore so be sure to stay tuned. Do you know of anywhere in New York I should check out?