New York – Part 2

Picking up where I left off last time!

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No place is immune to the Christmas decorations.

After Ali and I dropped off Amal at the Greyhound station as she headed towards Boston, we got back to the apartment and got some well deserved sleep since we had stayed up til the crack of dawn repacking with Amal the night before. When we finally decided to leave the apartment, we decided to follow one of our hosts suggestions and head over to Bryant Park. However, before leaving Brooklyn, I insisted that we go to an Indian restaurant that Amal and I had gone to on our first day in New York. The restaurant is called Bombay Masala and is about 5 or 6 blocks away from our apartment so we walked there. After a hearty meal, we made our way to the subway station towards midtown Manhattan.

 Because of the impending holidays, Bryant Park was turned into a sort of Christmas market that created a nice belt around the ice rink. There was also a big Christmas tree in the park. I guess the only and main thing I liked was how it all smelled of chocolate because of all the crepes and hot chocolate booths! After Bryant Park, we walked aimlessly around Manhattan before reaching Rockefeller center, which was jam-packed so we just kept on walking until we got into 5th Avenue right in the middle of the Saks Light Show. I have to admit I initially thought it was just people randomly gathered in front of a building with loud music before noticing the lights on the wall, but don’t tell anyone! We tried to run away from people as much as possible until we realized that it was almost impossible considering we were right in the middle of Manhattan 2 days before Christmas Eve so we called it an early night and headed back home.

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The Empire State Building on a particularly misty Tuesday evening.
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I find this to be a quintessential representation of life in New York City. But that might be just me.

On Tuesday, we were initially planning on going to SoHo. However, we somehow ended up walking all over East Village. I have to admit I really appreciated how quite and solemn it seemed most of the time. This was also the day that I am convinced I saw Michiel Huisman (or his doppelgänger) on the subway!

I believe we did not really have a specific place to go to in mind. So we spent about 2 hours walking around East Village and going into random stores here and there. We did eventually reach the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive.

When we got tired of not having a specific target destination, we decided to look up movie theaters nearby. While walking around, Ali thought it was a good idea to walk into Macy’s and check out every single one of the 9 stories. Let me just say that I enjoyed the Salvation Army singers outside more than the store itself.

Since by that point we were already back in Midtown Manhattan, we ended up checking out the movie theaters in and around Times Square. Because tickets were a bit too expensive for our liking and the lines were way too long we decided to put off going to the movies until the following day so we hopped on the subway and went back to Brooklyn.

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Parts of New York City from the FDR Drive. Another installment of my series of pictures that I jokingly call “Shortsightedness”

   Wednesday morning, Safae finally arrived to NYC so Ali went to get her from the subway station while I slept in a little. After she settled in, we decided to head over to Downtown Brooklyn. For some reason, we felt like we did not want to go to Manhattan on Christmas Eve. Our original plan was to go to the BAM movie theatre to watch Wild. However, when we got to the address I had we realized it was closed and figured it was because of the holidays. I just now realized, while writing this post, that I had the wrong address the whole time: We went to the BAM Harvey Theatre while we should have gone to the BAM Rose Cinemas which is one street away. My bad! I guess that did not stop us from having a good time. After doing some window shopping we had a quick lunch and then some bubble tea before heading over to Target. Of course that was a silly idea on Christmas Eve because it was packed of shoppers and the only way out of the store after 6 PM were the elevators to the street. But at least we did some grocery shopping and got our meals until the days we leave figured out!

On Christmas Day, we had a good homemade breakfast before heading over to Chinatown! Both Ali and Safae kept saying that they felt like they were in Casablanca because of how the shops looked and the quality of the products offered.

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Lin Zexu statue at one of the many entrances of the Manhattan Chinatown.
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A random street view with the One World Trade Center in the background.

Of course we could not go to Chinatown without going to Little Italy considering they are only separated by one avenue. Little Italy is what you could call a charming place. And despite knowing how inaccurate most of it is, thanks to our friend Alessandro during our first drive through the city, I could not help but be at awe in front of the different small shops and restaurants. One thing is for sure though: New Yorkers take Christmas decorations very seriously. It seems like the streets are having a competition!!

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The entrance to Little Italy.

That night we were invited to a Christmas dinner by Ali’s friends of Beloit College in Wisconsin. They were staying in Upper Manhattan so we ended up in the Columbia University part of town. We had a great time around a nice homemade meal. Of course, since there was a guitar within 10 feet of Ali, we ended up doing a little acoustic/jam session before the end of the evening.

The following day was dedicated to shopping since we had our hands on some pretty sweet deals.

As of right now, I have 5 full days left in New York City and I am currently making a list of the final things I want to do and places I want to go before going back to Morocco. This includes:

– The High Line

– Go back to Columbia University

– Go back to Union Square during the day

– Washington Square

– Go to The Public Library

– Go to Grand Central Station

– Follow Wissal’s advice and try the Thai restaurants on 45th St.

– Walk around Williamsburg

– and of course, The Brooklyn Bridge!

Feel free to suggest fun things to do if you have been in the area!

Sadly, I have not run into Brandon from Humans of New York yet and according to my sister he is travelling the US on a national project. Let’s see whether he comes back within the next five days!

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