This past week, my friend, Sam, and I went to New York City. The main reason for going was a Full Sail Networking Event for Alumni (me), but we decided to make a fun mini vacation of it.
We took the train, arriving at Penn Station. This train station is HUGE. There are about five different exits, but apparently one bathroom. That is closed. So they have temporary bathrooms outside! We decided to skip those (they looked sketchy), and headed straight for our hotel.
After using the wrong exit, and attempting to navigate the city blocks ourselves (“We’re on West 34th street! How hard can it be to find East 25th?”), we finally broke out Google Maps, and realized we’d been going in the wrong direction.
Which, of course, set the theme for our whole trip.
Finally though, we found our hotel (an hour later), and checked in. This hotel, the Carlton Arms Hotel, was not your traditional one. Each floor was themed. We got the Egyptian hallway. On the top floor. Of a building with no elevator.
The room was small, with a marble like design on the walls. It was also a shared bathroom and shower. Of course, despite the oddity of our hotel, it was cheap, and we didn’t plan on spending too much time there, so it was fine.
We thought. But I’ll come back to that.
The day we arrived was Wednesday. Because my event wasn’t until Thursday, we decided to explore. Of course, it was a dreary day, but that was okay. It wasn’t pouring, at least.
From the hotel, we decided to follow 5th Ave/Broadway all the way down to Times Square. We could have taken the subway, but we decided we’d pop into places on the way. One of these places was the public library.
It might not sound exciting, but this place was like a museum. Beautifully carved statues of lions out front, completely made of marble inside… We only found one reading room, but the walk around was an experience in of itself.
From there, we continued our journey to the Square of Times, stopping only once more in a Barnes and Nobles. The funny part of that is I’M the book geek, and Sam’s the one who bought stuff there.
Then we walked in circles for about another hour trying to find a cheap place for lunch. Mind you, we still hadn’t reached our goal. We did find an authentic Italian place with really good pizza!
From there, we finally found Times Square. For those of you counting, we left our hotel close to eleven… and didn’t find Times Square until close to four/five o’ clock.
Honestly, this was my third time in Times Square, but it was still amazing. The energy, the lights, the activity. Everything! Of course, I wanted to see Harry Potter on broadway (that sign right above my head), but of course, it was way too expensive. Maybe next time!
We hung out in Times Square for pretty much the rest of the night, even going into the Disney Store, where we were treated like Princesses and got to play Disney Trivia! The temptation to buy something in that store was real… And the decor was amazing!
We had reservations for a Victorian Theme restaurant for dinner, but after being in Times Square most of the day, we decided to try our luck with The Hard Rock cafe. And we were able to get in! They said the wait would only be about 30 minutes, but I think it was even less. Probably helps that there was only two of us, and we went after prime dinner time!
Now, remember how I said going the wrong way would be the theme of this trip? Yes, it happened as we were heading back to the hotel, close to eleven. Which means, we’d basically been on our feet for over twelve hours. Our feet hurt. But we powered through, following 6th Ave/Avenue of Americas, until we realized we had no idea where we were.
So we whipped out Google Maps… and realized we’d somehow completely passed where we needed to go, and continued… in the wrong direction.
About another hour later, we managed to find our hotel, with aching feet and tiredness… only to realize we were on the top floor of a hotel with no elevator and questionable stairs.
I wanted to cry. But we managed to get up the steps and crashed.
The next morning, we checked out, limped our way to a nearby Ihop for breakfast, then continued on to a cafe to sit before my event. Unfortunately, my feet had been swollen and sore from the day before, so despite stuffing them into my professional dress shoes, I was forced to switch back into sneakers halfway through my event. But I made a lot of great connections, and hopefully friends, from the event, before finally meeting back up with Sam and heading back to Levittown via train.
It was a fun experience, despite almost loosing an eye more times then I care to count thanks to umbrellas on Wednesday. I also learned a few lessons, such as:
- Don’t walk for hours the day before I have to wear dress shoes
- Make sure my hotel has an elevator and a private shower and bath
- When in an unfamiliar city, always start with Google Maps, rather then walking for an hour before pulling it out.
I can’t wait to go back to New York, and even more, to Los Angeles next month!