Peter and I decided it would be fun to spend 12 hours in NYC. So we did.
Peter’s a good friend from Long Island and tends to enjoy the same types of activities that I do, so we decided a few weeks ago that taking a bus to NYC in the middle of the night was a great idea. While we may have felt some regret while at the bus station in the middle of the night, this trip turned out to be one of the best things we could have done. Now, as a former resident of California, I still think that everything on the East Coast is close together, even when faced with a website full of bus times. Boston is just a short ways from NYC, Philadelphia, and DC, right? Wrong. (Well, sort of–it takes less time than driving to San Francisco, but not a lot less time.) Either way, we spent about 12 hours traveling, about 12 hours in Manhattan, and 24 hours just having a really good time. This is our whirlwind Saturday (and parts of Sunday morning):
1:30 am – Leave my apartment for the T because Boston now has late-night T service. THANK YOU MBTA!
1:55 am – Freak out slightly because our orange line train to South Station just sits at Downtown Crossing and our bus is at 2:15
2:09 am – Run from the T to the doors of the bus station outside because the normal way (through the commuter rail station) is closed at night. Who knew?
2:11 am – Make it to the bus, relax, assume we’re going to board soon (you know, since it’s scheduled to leave at 2:15)
2:30 am – Still think we’re going to get on the bus soon.
2:35 am – Start talking to Helen, a fellow undergraduate who also had to run from the delayed train at Downtown Crossing (we all walked to the bus together). Doughnut Plant (recommended by Pfizer co-worker Chrystal–THANK YOU) comes up in conversation and we decide to all go upon arrival in NYC.
3:15 am – Actually get on the bus
6:45 am – Bus driver announces that because there was traffic getting to Boston from NY the last time, he’s worked over 10 hours straight and can no longer legally drive our bus. We stop at a rest stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
7:00 am – The girl next to me starts complaining about missing her train to NJ and her flight from Newark to Toronto, which will be leaving later in the morning, and we all listen wearily and commiserate. Turns out she’s also from Orange County and went to Northeastern. We become best friends.
7:45 am – I guess our new bus driver showed up, because we start moving. Bet donuts for when we’d arrive at our final destination–Peter guesses 9:15, I guess 9:00.
9:25 am – Peter wins the bet (aka arrival). We decide I don’t have to buy him a doughnut (thanks Peter).
9:45 am – We arrive at Doughnut Plant and all of life’s problems are solved.
10:30 am – Peter and I take the Subway to Bryant Park/the NY Public Library so I can write a quick blog post to my brother before my midnight deadline (at which time I expect to be back on a bus). It probably took longer for us to find a computer with internet than it did to write my 178 words.
Back story: Inspired by John and Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers, my brother Bradley and I blog to one another (privately) every week when not in the same city (so when we’re both home for summer break, no blogging). The new rule for this semester is that we both submit a post by Saturday at midnight. Now, the rules aren’t strict, but as the sibling who is trying to get the other to follow the rules, I felt an intense need to not miss my post this week. So yeah, that happened.
11:00 am – Walk to MoMA, found out that my Pfizer employee ID actually does get me in for free (and a guest is $5 as opposed to $14 with student IDs), celebrated by looking at awesome architecture, photography, films, paintings, a MineCraft exhibit, abstract sculptures, and a special exhibit on Toulouse-Lautrec.
12:50 pm – Eat second doughnut (they thought I ordered 2 instead of 1 so I got a refund/free doughnut) when we realize Tommy’s train from Brooklyn will arrive at 1:30 (meaning that lunch with Tommy will be later than 1:30). It’s delicious.
1:00 pm – Take pilgrimage to Pfizer World Headquarters, origins of the sweet museum discounts and Advill. I happen to love interning at Pfizer, and I talk about it so often that we figured the stop was necessary. We also stopped into St. Patrick’s Cathedral and passed Grand Central Station on the way. I paid homage to my employer by taking lots of pictures.
2:00 pm – Meet up with Tommy at Aroma Espresso Bar, where I find the Alfajore I’ve been craving since Argentina lost the World Cup (I was going to make the dessert of whichever country won, and then I realized I just really wanted Alfajores) and purchase one on a whim.
2:10 pm – Begin to wander the streets of Manhattan looking for lunch. Realize that everything in the area is closed on Saturdays.
3:20 pm – Eat lunch at Paris Baguette because it has seats and a short line. I get a boba tea because it reminds me of home and a sandwich because I figure I should probably have something besides sugar, carbs, and caffeine if I want to stay alive.
3:50 pm – Shop a bit at UNIQLO, which I know we’ll have soon in both Boston and SoCal but still, decide on a whim to check out Roosevelt Island, take a cool air-tram thing (okay it’s called the tram, but that needed a description) to a nice place and sit for a bit feeling tired but quite content with our lives.
Fun fact: The tram is just a transfer from the subway, so it’s FREE!
5:30 pm – Take the subway to Saki Bar Hagi, probably the best place I’ve ever found on the internet, where we try sake and plum wine, tofu steak, sake salmon, and Japanese pork pancake. I apologize for the photo quality–I was too eager to eat and didn’t bother focusing on anything.
7:10 pm – Tommy heads home, Peter and I decide that Fat Witch Bakery still needs to happen. We get on the subway to Chelsea Market.
Back story: Since visiting my aunt in Queens freshman year of college, I’ve been addicted to Fat Witch Bakery’s brownies. I have not been to NYC since 2011 without getting one. Usually I get three or four. They’ve never lasted more than 24 hours. My friends tweet at me when they go now because I talk about them so much. I might have a problem. It’s a delicious problem. No regrets.
7:30 pm – I buy a wicked witch (mint chocolate brownie) and a blonde baby (small blonde brownie). Make history by not eating them on the spot. This captionless photo is of me being way too excited to have gotten brownies and Peter being a really good sport about all these selfies.
7:50 pm – Wander Chelsea and decide to get a drink. Sit down at Bodega Negra because they have outdoor bar seating. I get a Paloma and Peter gets a Ginger Lemonade. Both drinks are delicious. We start planning our next trip, which will include bar-hopping and clubbing.
8:30 pm – Take a cab to the bus stop. I change back into leggings–it’s actually very easy to change between leggings and a skirt, so if you’re ever travelling, I’d recommend it–and snap some last photos because the waterfront’s photogenic
9:10 pm – Bus departs on time, which is nice. We both fall asleep easily.
1:45 am – Pull into South Station
2:15 am – I think about eating the Fat Witch brownies in my bag, but refrain for some unknown reason.
2:25 am – Arrive home. Sleep.
A few notes: NYC trips from Boston are very doable, and can be extremely cheap as well. We used Mega Bus, paying around $35 for the roundtrip ticket. If you go at odd hours (noon on a Saturday to 8am on a Sunday, for example) fares can be as low as $3 each way (and once in a while you’ll find the mythical $1 fare). While the overall cost will reflect the number of things you buy (drinks, dinner, subway fare, brownies, pics with those characters in Times Square), there are plenty of free options, and planning ahead always saves money. If you’re going to school in Boston, I strongly recommend a trip to the Big Apple. It’s really just a great experience.
I definitely plan to visit NYC again in the near future, so if you have any pointers, suggestions, or recommendations, PLEASE include them in the comments! Thanks!