As some of you might have guessed, judging from my recent blog posts, I’ve spent quite a bit of my last two weeks in the United States. Particularly in New York City. I’ve loved writing my beginner’s guide to NYC and fun tourist spots to visit, but I am even more excited to write about my own trip and share with you all what my time in New York has been like.
The city might seem crowded and loud and intimidating, but there is an insatiable energy and vibe to New York City that you just can’t escape while you are there. I think everyone who visits NYC will feel this energy too. After all, the concrete jungle lit up by bright lights everywhere is quite a captivating and beautiful sight. Today I’m going to share with you my Big Apple Adventure so let’s dive right in shall we?
The primary purpose of my entire trip was to visit colleges. The first part of my gap year is drawing to a close, my short courses are over, and that means it is time to start submitting applications to prospective colleges. However, it is often quite challenging to divulge the character of a university online (plus marketing can brush away flaws that you only notice in person). So I decided to take two weeks to check out a few of my college options in person.
While only two of the colleges I visited were in the city, I could easily access almost all of them from NYC, which just goes to show how central New York really is. My boyfriend joined me on this trip, and I’m thankful that he did because going to all of these college tours and information sessions felt like a really scaled-down version of the first day of school. It was slightly worse because it was overseas in a country I am not really familiar with, so having him with me made the whole experience a lot more manageable.
I visited quite a few schools during my trip. Amherst College (which isn’t in NYC but I thought I should still mention it), Columbia University, NYU, Princeton and Brown. I’m glad I went to all of those tours because I got to find out things about the universities that I never would have known simply from online research. Plus, I got to walk through those beautiful Ivy League campuses, which are genuinely quite picturesque and magnificent.
The university tour that I enjoyed the most though was NYU. I’m not sure if it was just the energy of the city seeping in, or the enthusiastic tour guide we had, or the personality of the school but something about NYU just seemed to pull me close. There seemed to be such a high, creative energy throughout the campus and it seemed like a really fun, friendly place to attend, in spite of the university being in NYC without any walls to separate it from the hustle and bustle. A fun thing that I learnt while on the tour is the rumour that if you, as a student at NYU, pass under the archway in Washington Square Park then you will not graduate. Safe to say I refused to walk under the arch, to not tempt the hands of fate, but it was great to visit NYU and all of the other colleges.
Central Park Zoo
Until this trip, I’d never actually been to Central Park Zoo even though I have visited the city many times in the past. Don’t ask me why though because I can’t actually think of a good reason. However, I am so glad that I finally went this time because I have never seen such an incredible zoo before. It is nestled just inside Central Park if you enter the park from 5th avenue (walk past the plaza hotel). I know that zoos aren’t great because wild animals shouldn’t be kept in captivity and it is cruel to the animals, but the Central Park Zoo has put such an effort into giving the animals the spaces they need. The animals actually look happy and so well looked after.
The zoo is quite small, I was expecting something more like the Central Park Zoo from Madagascar where there are lions, hippos, a variety of primates etc. But I must say that I am kind of glad the zoo is as small as it is because I think that the smaller size allows for proper care and attention to the animals they have. So Central Park Zoo was undoubtedly a great experience for me. (If you go, I’d highly recommend you check out the sea lion feeding because it is so fun and incredible to watch).
Chicago on Broadway
I’m a theatre enthusiast. I’ve always loved musicals, my family loves the theatre, my grandmother puts on musicals, one of my best friends aspires to be on Broadway, and my boyfriend is going into a profession where he could (and would like to) work on the sound team of live theatre. So needless to say that theatre is quite a big deal to my surrounding circles and me. Seeing as we were in NYC and Broadway and all of its wonders were right there we decided we couldn’t give the theatre a miss and had to see at least one show.
Chicago was definitely an excellent show. Anyone who knows the musical will know that the songs are quite a challenge and the dances aren’t exactly something you can pick up in a day. It is a technical, complicated show, and so I was very impressed with how well done it was. It certainly was All that JAZZ!
If you think that the city is crowded and busy, then Times Square might be too much for you because Times Square at peak hours makes the rest of the city look like a peaceful suburban area. In spite of all that, though, it really is a great spot to check out. Most theatres are right off Times Square, there are plenty of huge stores to check out and so many delicious restaurants. We actually went to this great little Italian restaurant, a Korean restaurant and the Hardrock Cafe and all were in the Times Square area. My favourite part about Times Square, though is all the fantastic street performances you can see. Most of them are dance routines, but some can be a mix of dancing, acting, comedy, you name it. Where else in the world can you go where you can get great theatre, restaurants, shops and free, good quality street performances all in one concentrated area?
I’d never heard of this place before this trip either, but I was looking for interesting bakeries to check out, being a food-lover and amateur baker myself and this place popped up in my search bar. The outside didn’t look particularly impressive, but once we stepped inside and the smell of freshly baked cupcakes took over our senses, I was convinced that this was a good decision.
There were so many incredible flavours to choose from, but no matter what type of cupcake you picked, the thing that I loved was that they were all so fresh and moist. The icing was the perfect amount of sweetness, and if you got a bite with all the elements in, it is probably the best bite of cupcake you will ever have in your life. The only problem I found was that there were just too many cupcakes I wanted to try.
Are any of you familiar with the tv show Friends? I’m sure a lot of you are seeing as though it is making a comeback, this year being the 25th anniversary. Well, I love the show! My boyfriend and I are both avid fans (we even have a Friends Monopoly board, geeky I know, but we love it) and so we knew that if we were in New York, we had to do something Friends related. Last year we got to do a Warner Bros studio tour, where we got to see the Friends set but nothing quite beats seeing the Friends Apartment building with your own eyes. That’s right – we got to take our picture by the Friends apartment building! I know it may not seem like a big deal to native New Yorkers or people who aren’t huge fans of the show but imagine you got to stand outside an iconic location in one of your favourite shows? So I think this part might have actually been my favourite part of the trip and I will probably be framing one of these pictures.
And so there you have it! Thank you all so much for reading today’s blog post, and if you enjoyed it, please don’t forget to hit that little like button and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on any future blog posts!
If you have any fun New York experiences I would love to hear about them, so please share in the comments section! Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx