Welcome to New York! The city that never sleeps. I used to think that was just some cool, exaggerated term that someone coined to describe the city that I recently visited, but no, it is no exaggeration. What a vibe! The energy is electric. The nightlife is like no other. The traffic makes Johannesburg look tame. The subway system took some getting used to but once I got the hang of it, it made traveling throughout the city so seamless and efficient. Did I mention how clean public transport is? Talk about world-class.
As soon as I landed, I could hardly contain my excitement. I first visited New York 15 years ago in 2005 as a student on a school trip. It was just as amazing then as it is now. At the time it was only 4 years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, so a lot has changed especially in the financial district where the twin towers once stood. So going back all these years later I was curious to see the city in a new light, and as an adult now, I would be able to explore freely without being watched and compelled to travel in a group.
I love cities where I can take long walks, getting lost and exploring lesser-known paths. And boy did I walk! I was there for just over 3 weeks and each day I made sure to do something different. New York is a walker’s paradise and pretty easy to navigate too. I loved that there were pedestrian crossings everywhere and motorists, for the most part, abide by the rules. At no point did I feel unsafe because there were always people out and about no matter the time of day. It was so refreshing to walk freely as a woman without fear of being attacked. It made wandering out on my own and getting lost a less anxious experience. I was fortunate enough to be staying in the heart of Manhattan, so I was a walking distance away from many attractions.
There was so much to do. Each day I was out there trying something new. You cannot go to New York and be bored. The city is many things, but it is certainly not boring. I tried out the delicious street food, the famous dollar slice pizza, visited numerous museums, walked along Central Park, was an audience member on the Wendy Williams show, went to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge, shopped along Canal Street, visited the United Nations headquarters, walked along Times Square, checked out the Rockefeller Centre and much much more. Don’t even get me started on the shopping! I was like a kid in a candy store. It truly was an extraordinary holiday, I soaked up every minute of it and it is an experience I will never forget.
New York is a cultural melting pot. It reminded me of Johannesburg in many ways; metropolitan, vibey, fast-paced, multicultural and a concrete jungle if ever I saw one. And just as expensive too! If you love to travel, you have to visit New York at least once in your lifetime and spend as much time outside your hotel room as you possibly can. I can’t truly sum up the experience in words alone and pictures can never truly reflect all its glory. Travelling isn’t cheap but it is so worth it. There are a lot of things that money can’t buy, but it sure can help you create some priceless memories. Don’t take my word for it…