My first experience in New York City was very memorable. So was the trip.
My mom, younger sister, Nathena, and I flew out of Austin, but instead of heading east, we headed toward Los Angeles. We were flying standby, so we basically had to catch whatever flight had open seats. The trip continued and we eventually landed in Washington, D.C.
After renting a car and taking an almost five-hour drive north, we saw the skyscrapers and passed through the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. I’m glad I had my GPS to help the whole way.
We checked into our hotel and met up with my older sister, Nikkole, her family, and her friends who flew from Guam to join us for the weekend getaway.
While everyone was getting settled and trying to decide what was for dinner, Nathena and I decided to explore. We walked about seven blocks from the hotel to meet up with one of my former co-workers who now works for Bloomberg TV. I was like a kid in a candy store, snapping pictures left and right in the TV newsroom. It was good to see an old friend and get a private tour of the studio.
During the trip, we must have walked through the crowded streets of Times Square at least a half-dozen times. The multiple screens projecting off the buildings and constant news feed scrolling around me made me feel like I was in my element.
It was quite amusing to see people dressed as cartoon characters. A quick tip: If they are carrying a small bag or purse, then expect to give them some money if you’re taking a snapshot with them. They get pretty feisty if you try to walk away without tipping.
Also, expect to wait at least an hour when dining in Times Square. We hit up Red Lobster and Bubba Gump Shrimp, both good if you have the patience.
Nikkole and her friends are big “Gossip Girl” fans, so they scheduled a tour of the filming locations in New York. Not my cup of tea, but it was a cool way to see sites like the Metropolitan Museum and Grand Central Station.
The group decided to cap off the day by watching a show on Broadway, but I was more interested in seeing the city as the locals do.
I hooked up with a friend who showed me the nightlife, gave me a tour of New York University and took me to the acclaimed “oldest rock club in the city” — the Bitter End. It was also my first time riding in a New York City cab.
I had a lot of fun that night, but I had to be ready for the next day. My family and I toured the Empire State Building, the 9/11 memorial, and the Statue of Liberty. While the tourist attractions were amazing, I had another colleague to meet up with, a reporter for International Business Times.
I took my first New York City subway ride. We checked out a flea market on the Upper West Side before walking around and enjoying some entertainment in Central Park. We unexpectedly ran across the Strawberry Fields memorial, which is dedicated to John Lennon who lived in nearby apartments.
It was a lot of fun seeing New York for the first time, and it definitely will not be the last time I pay a visit to the city that never sleeps.
Herald correspondent Nick Delgado lives in Harker Heights.