New York City - Day 1

Monday, January 12, 2015

New York City was an absolute dream come true. I've wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. Zach and I have heard so many positive and negative things about NYC over the years, so it was nice to get to experience it for ourselves.

Things we've heard versus our experience:
1. Everyone in New York is rude.
This was not true whatsoever. Everyone we came in contact with had normal personalities. Well besides that one cashier at Shake Shack.. She hated her job and it was apparent, but every city has its handful of "bad-attitude Betty's."

2. The subway is horrible/disgusting/filthy/unsafe, etc.
Zach and I LOVED the subway! I was actually pretty depressed when I had to drive back to Statesboro from the Savannah/Hilton Head airport. I loved hopping on and off the subway throughout our stay. It made life seem so simple.

I felt completely safe on the subway our entire trip- except our last night. After dinner Zach and I decided to ride up to Yankee Stadium. We'd already seen everything on our list, so how could I say no? All the trains were running behind schedule for some reason, so there was a large crowd waiting with us. This was definitely the longest we had to wait. I wanna say it was around a 30 minute subway ride after our train arrived. To our surprise (and all of the locals on-board) the train stopped one stop short of where we all needed to be. Now I failed to mention the train car was completely full- no standing or sitting room whatsoever (SARDINES!).

Zach and I were literally the only white people left at this point (they started dwindling the longer we rode). I've never been in the minority before, so I have to admit I did feel a little uncomfortable about it. And that's not even the worst part- we were then all forced to exit the train. I've never seen so many angry people in such a tight space before in my life. They were yelling and cussing at the conductor- Zach and I just stood to the side and watched. There was a really sketchy guy dressed in attire I can't even explain (think gothic- chains and rips in the clothing) with a mask and hood over his face... Of course Zach and I are standing there dressed in nice wool coats, and I have my GIANT handbag with my camera and wallet inside. We quickly decided to exit the subway and see how far of a walk we'd have to Yankee Stadium since we were only one stop short (Google maps wouldn't work underground).

We climb to the top of the stairs and are greeted by complete darkness. It looked like a ghost town- not the city we'd seen for the past few days. Walking was completely off the table- Mug City at it's finest. So needless to say, we didn't wait on another train to take us one-stop further- the crowd was just too large and too sketchy, and the train was running too far behind. So we took the next train back to Times Square. Zach never saw Yankee Stadium unfortunately, but it did make for a pretty good story.

As far as cleanliness goes, it completely depended on which letter/number train we were on. The train that took us from the airport to our hotel was fabulous, and if we would've only rode that letter train we would've had a very skewed perception. I would still give a passing score to the subway overall though. As long as you don't lick the floors I think you'll survive :)

Oh- Zach did see a a couple rats though! I was SO jealous- he said they were massive with really long tails. Maybe I'll see one on our next visit (cause we're already planning on returning in a few years!).

3. The city that never sleeps.
Absolutely, 100% TRUE! We stayed in Times Square and luckily our room was on a high floor. We could hear (muffled) horns honking throughout the night. If we looked out the window, there were always people walking the streets no matter the hour. It was amazing! I loved all the energy the city had to offer. I definitely recommend staying in Times Square. The majority of recommendations I read before booking our hotel said the opposite, but I couldn't imagine our trip any other way. We walked Times Square every night of our trip before we returned to our room for bed- of course visiting a ton of little shops to warm up along the way!

4. You'll spend a fortune.
Zach and I spent a total of $1,038.00. That number includes our airfare, hotel, food, gas expenses (from Statesboro > Savannah/Hilton Head airport and back), airport parking, boarding for the girls while we were away, etc. That's our total for absolutely every expense we incurred- I'm not leaving anything out. IT IS POSSIBLE to visit New York on a budget- we definitely did and we made it work. We did/saw everything we wanted to do/see. I don't have a single regret from our trip- we didn't miss out on anything to save money.

With that being said, I spent hours of research to plan the most economical trip possible.
- Jet Blue now flies out of Savannah. We purchased both of our round-trip tickets for the price of one from other airlines.
- I found our hotel on, but instead of booking through, I booked directly through the hotel's website. They offered a discount when you sign up for their email list. This saved us even more money!
- We purchased a 7-day unlimited subway pass (even though we were only in NYC for three days). Rather than having to deal with the stress of missing a stop or getting on the wrong train, we payed a flat fee instead of paying per ride. We actually ended up saving money in the end- I believe the cost of 14 rides was equivalent to the price of the unlimited pass. We surpassed that by the end of our second day since it was FREEZING outside. Now if we visit again, we'll visit in the summer- so we probably wouldn't purchase an unlimited pass then because of the nice weather.
- We rode the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Cost: FREE!
- This was actually the case for all of the attractions we wanted to see- 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, etc. The only attraction we paid for was the Empire State Building- and it was COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

Day One Journal:
Our first day was a complete whirlwind. We arrived at our hotel around 3 p.m. and checked-in. Our view was gorgeous! Like I mentioned already, we stayed in Times Square- our room faced the opposite direction, but it was perfect. This was the only night we were spontaneous with our dinner choice, and thank God- after walking around Times Square for an hour we finally decided on T.G.I. Friday's. NYC is serious sensory overload- especially Times Square. There were just too many restaurant options and I'm an extremely indecisive person.

After dinner, we took the subway to the 9/11 Memorial. Breathtaking. I actually cried. The names weren't in alphabetical order, but loved-ones searched until they found their names anyway. White roses were placed in their names after they were found. So so precious.

We returned to Times Square and visited a few shops before calling it a night.We were exhausted!

P.S. My favorite memory from probably the entire trip was walking up the stairs from the subway into Times Square. Zach was walking in front of me, and I remember him saying to look up. I looked up under the brim of my fedora to see snow spitting from the sky and buildings towering over me. It was super windy so I had to reach up and hold my fedora to keep it on. It was absolutely perfect and it didn't feel like real life.

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