For Memorial Day weekend, my friend Marybeth graciously granted me a buddy pass to fly with United Airlines as a standby passenger. $500 for RT between East Coast and Hawaii? Fuck Yes! I will gladly stand in the long standby lines if it means I get to see my friends again.
The first day I arrived (Sunday), I did not have a chance to rest. I stayed with my friend Polliann (she is so awesome because she graduated from Seton Hall law school) who rented out a hotel room at Hotel Pennsylvania (Across Penn Station) for the sole purpose of having a weekend celebration for her graduation. Mind you, weekend celebration equates to the longest post celebratory shit show. She has been partying it out since Thursday night (Graduation day) and was going at it for 5 days straight. Unbelievable. My first night out in the big city was amazing. The night life was thriving. The people were bumpin' to the music. The guys were gracious enough to buy drinks for ladies. It was so surreal and I felt like I would wake up any moment.
The second night we headed out again. Instead this time, we were hard pressed to find a place open on a weekday. We were also turned off by the fact that shots were $17! It was definitely a "What the hell?!" moment and we were loosing faith that the 5 day celebratory event was finally coming to a close.
However, the heavens opened up. God proclaimed, "You shall have fun tonight" and proceeded to send us two random Jewish club promoters who paid for our entire night of table service and unlimited vodka. Alleluia! Thereafter, we proceeded to Time's Square at 4am and roamed the streets to find a local Mcdonalds. I must say chicken mcnuggets taste so much better at 4am in the morning when you are high on life.
As my amazing friend Lisa says,
"You know it was a good night when you're out while the sun comes up."
The past two days thus far is a testament to that.
The following day, I wanted to go exploring on my own because it's nice to go at your own pace. It was liberating to navigate my way around the city. I got lost a few times but I got the hang of it eventually. :)
I visited Mr. Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. I grew up watching the shows so I thought it would be nice to see all the cool stuff he hoarded. Yes, I kid you not, Mr. Ripley is a freakin' hoarder! He collected everything! Beer canisters, masks, pictures, figurines, shrunken heads. He was an amazing adventurer and very well known for his travels. His museum made me realize everyone has something special in them. Even if it may not be realized, it's definitely there.
My walk through Midtown took me through all the usual places, Time's Square, Rockefeller, Top of the Rock, Bryant Park. However, only two places amazed me.
9th ave and the NYC Public Library.
9th Ave is a foodie dream. All shops of different foods, culture, and diversity. Strolling down, part of me wished I had enough cash to try everything. The smell of halal, curry, samosas, and spice left my mouth watering. The district is so diverse and I was in love with it automatically.
NYC Public Library is a nerd heaven. I was impressed that the library is open to everyone. The study rooms were filled to the max. The books were shelved high to the cathedral ceiling. I strolled around around and took some time to read a few excerpts from books and sat amongst the throng of people studying or lounging around. The hall ways were lined with artwork. The marble structure of the whole building was impressive. The grand opening paid homage to the people who gave money to start the library. Knowledge is truly shared in that place. The realization gave me a very distinct feeling of American patriotism. After living in the Philippines for 3 years and not finding a single library or having access to this amount of knowledge, I was definitely thankful for the opportunity.