New York City in summer isn’t hot… it’s sticky.
In addition to sticky I would say it’s busy (proven by the traffic that delayed my bus ride into Port Authority Station), beautiful (the brownstones near Washington Square Park are evidence enough), and overwhelming (both in a good and honestly, in a bad way). I’m not a newby tourist there as I seem to arrive every summer to visit family. In comparison to the new tourist, I’m experienced, compared to my family there, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to the city.
My trip started with an unglamourous bus ride to Port Authority Bus station. The station has many floors, many people, and an unbelievable lack of bathroom stalls. If you were to bus into NYC to Port Authority be ready for a wait. In movies, NYC is always portrayed as a bit of a wonderland. The big buildings, glamorous wardrobes, characters lives that just impress. Truthfully, it may be all that, but a more gritty reality hits at the bus station. I waited for ten minutes to use a sink that a woman washing her vegetables was using. I can’t be sure what they were, maybe cabbage (I hope it was cabbage), and then dry them in a plastic bag using the hand dryer. I then used the same sink to wash my hands. There's the first reality check.
From the “cabbage sink,” I used the escalators to reach the station doors and out I went into THE CITY (You could add some Broadway music right now if you wanted… but like you probably should). I then walked from Port Authority to Bryant Park. First I passed the New Yorker building, then I crossed through times square, and voila the park! This Park is a place where I turn off my realistic views of NYC and just bask in an NYC “wonderland”. Ooh la la to the tables and chairs that line the pathways. Oh my gosh to the vintage Ferris wheel spinning in the park. The New York public library sitting on the other end. It’s stunning. It’s also a total hub for stylish people. I don’t think I caught any of these specific examples in pictures but I saw one girl (with a short black bob, a set with a black t-shirt and culottes, and the finishing touch of a black surgical mask that was a fashion piece). The number of people who were shoe inspired by the Balenciaga Triple S (the starter of the ugly sneaker trend, see Here) was astonishing. They were not all in triple S’s but the knockoffs, inspired by, or possible shoes from an uncle’s closets were astonishing. Balenciaga- damn you and your reach. How on earth did you make dad sneakers the "it" thing at Bryant Park?
After perusing the park we found a table and drank coffee. Smiling, as it’s my favorite park, the heat was already somewhat atrocious. Quickly though I focused on a stop I wanted to make… ZARA! This year has been my first year shopping at Zara. I have perused the website for years (always drooling at their editorial Esq web design) but had never purchased. This year I have picked up a few staples and have come to admire the designs of this affordable retailer. The store is H.U.G.E and incredible. I brought a huge stack of clothes into the dressing room (which consisted of mostly pants as a statement and powerful pant is going to rule my world come autumn) and tried them on. While in there a small skirmish occurred where the Zara security chased after a man attempting to steal (don’t steal at all but especially don't steal at the NYC Zara- security will get you!). I left with the perfect white T-shirt (cap sleeves and on sale, Here) and the most Annie Hall pair of pants I have ever worn (tan, fitted, tailored, Here).
After Zara, we caught a cab to Washington Square Park and ate at a sandwich shop in Greenwich Village. The sandwich was good but the AC was better. After a quick bite, we strolled around the village. I was loving the brownstones, the apartment buildings, the park. Another time to relax and de-stress. Then it was off to catch a cab and find a way to get out of the heat. This was a futile way to go about it as catching a cab was near impossible and my father settles on “Little Italy” as our next destination. Little Italy, as I understand it, used to stretch a pretty large radius. As of now, it's a three block radius on the Mulberry street that is filled with tourist shops, gelato parlors, and heaps of tourists. The gelato was cooling, but it was a quick walk around before we ended up in Chinatown.
Chinatown is even busier. It is a complete tourist trap that is filled with knockoff goods. I can't even count the number of older people who walked up to me and whispered "bag”, “sunglasses”, “hat”, etc. It is the capital of knockoff fashion, an illegal practice, that many of the tourists around me seemed particularly enthused about. In one shop my mother was looking at the statues when two southern girls walked in. The man showed them “authentic” Kate Spade purses and they screamed. I wanted to tell them that the label was at a slanted angle and the glue that keeps it there still looks wet. I wasn't sure if it was worth destroying their hopes so I just moved on.
Next, was the subway, At rush hour, as a tourist, on the 6 line. I think you can imagine how that went.
Dinner with my family was really nice. We always go to an Italian place (this year a new one as our usual one closed - no reason was named-which seems quite ominous). We talked about life, the city, the heat always seemed to reoccur. It’s interesting talking to New Yorkers as it seems that Past Jersey their idea of the US can be very limited. I told them where I’m at for school, in jobs, and they responded confused. But as true New Yorkers, I expected no different of a response.
On the bus ride back we arrived at the station late and just barely made it into seats.
That was the itinerary. I think I may have written this post a little too realistic. I just feel that if I said “lovely” over and over you might start to be suspicious. New York was lovely in its own “big city” way. It sometimes smells like trash, sometimes was overbearingly hot, and then right above you were buildings that unlike anywhere else impress.
It’s a place where reality hits and yet something weirdly dreamy still remains.
Have you ever visited NYC?