On the Road – Day 1: NYC

Seeing as it was my first time on the road, I don’t think I should pass up on the opportunity to write about it. Jack Kerouac would be disappointed if I did. It is currently 1:23AM in New York City and Hanna, my GW friend, is passed out on the bed from all the walking we did today. I woke up around 6:30 this morning to get breakfast from the Starbucks next to GW’s Gelman Library before heading off to catch the metro to Union Station. Shortly arriving to Union Station, Hanna and I boarded a bus to New York.

The whole northeast is a big jumble to me so I’m not sure I can tell you the route we took. All I know is that we passed Baltimore and went through Delaware and New Jersey. I’m pretty sure I missed some areas since I faded in and out of consciousness during the 4.5 hour ride. The ride was nothing too exciting – just a lot of trees dressed in fall colors. The passengers weren’t too weird either. The guy in front of me, however, was the only person on the fucking bus who decided to lean back on his chair, leaving me with little to no leg room.

While going through some bridge in Jersey, I caught my first glimpse of Manhattan. Skyscrapers and all. I had been playing Empire State of Mind during the last half hour of the ride on repeat and of course, when I got my first impression of NYC. It was surreal. It was beautiful, even from such a distance.

After arriving at our bus stop in the Chelsea District, we walked to the subway and took the E train up to Midtown between 2nd Avenue/51st. I was afraid before the trip that we were going to get lost easily but after living in DC for a couple months now, I think my city senses have kicked in. I mean, also the streets of NYC use a grid system so… When it came to hotel check-in, I checked in by myself since my name was on the reservation and it was a 1 person room. I snuck Hanna in like 5 mins later. We are staying at the Pod Hotel 51, one of the most affordable and hip-looking hotels in northern Midtown, 3 or 4 blocks away from the Upper East Side.

We spent the rest of the day walking through the entire Upper East Side and around the Jackie Kennedy reservoir at Central Park. Simply breath-taking. For dinner, we went to some place called Ashiya Sushi. I thought I just ordered California rolls but instead, I got a california roll and 6 pieces of sushi. Let’s just say, I’ve never had so much just raw fish in my life and it’s mostly because I have a rule where I have to eat my entire meal if I pay for it. The restaurant was very well-kept and cute and the presentation of my meal was A+ but I’m just not personally a fan of raw fish.

When it comes to the people in New York, I have found the mix of people to be quite refreshing. There is a good amount of people in casual clothing, people in business casual, and people who looks like they will end up as the next post on the Sartorialist. The boys here are extremely well dressed – and yes, I do understand I was in a more affluent part of the city. And from a few encounters today, I will say they were also very friendly and sometimes, a little forward.. haha. I have noticed something about New Yorkers in general – they all own a heavy winter coat – usually a black one. A lot of people also have leather jackets.

There are so many lights and luxuries in Manhattan – it is inspiring, exciting, and I know I’ve said it but I’ll say it again, surreal. When stopping at another Starbucks, I found myself thinking about how I could have been living here if I had made the decision to take out extra loans so I could’ve gone to Fordham University. Not that I really wanted to go to the school itself, but just to live in one of, if not the most, lively city in the country.

Tomorrow, we plan on shopping on 5th & Madison Ave, taking the Staten Island Ferry, visiting Chinatown (a legitimate Chinatown, I’ve heard), Greenwich Village (the NYU campus/Washing Square Park), and checking out Time Square (Empire State Building/Rockefeller Center). A jam packed day ahead of me in 6 hours – so I better get to sleep. 

A Grocery Store in DC (Can’t you see I’m trying to emulate the title of Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket In California?”)

Earlier tonight, I was grocery shopping at Safeway when I heard the feet of a small child scamper from one side of the store to the other – it was a rather small store. This child was incredibly thin and had blonde hair. She reminded me of Cleo, this girl who participated in the summer camp I worked at. It took some digging in my mind to recall Cleo’s name. And when I came up with Cleo’s name, I remembered that she had a twin brother who my boss called a “pathological liar” and looked nothing like her. Orion – yes, that was his name. During the rest of my shopping trip, I couldn’t think of anything but the kids I knew over the summer. I stood in front of the frozen foods section, staring at the corn dogs and pizza – not deciding on which one to buy but wondering if I would ever see some of those kids next summer. I wondered if I would ever be greeted by Geno, this eight year old autistic boy, who always came up to me first thing in the mornings again. I wondered if I will ever see Gracie and the those notes her mom would leave her in lunch that made you wish you had a mom like that. I wondered if I will ever see Justin grow out of his “cry baby stage” and become the little thug like we all think he will be. And most importantly, I wondered if I will ever be as happy as I was during last summer.

Ways To Go

Oh what I would give up to see these 5 hippies perform live again.. Everyone is on point. Christian’s vocals are excellent. Hannah’s personality always contributes to the energy. Everyone puts in so much effort into their performance and they’re all just having such a good time. Grouplove shows are always a spiritual experience.
They’re in DC again Nov. 8th at American U but ahhh, I already have plans with New York City that weekend.

Paris – Magic Man

This is one of the better quality videos I could find of Magic Man on Youtube which displays their level of energy. I first saw these guys open for Walk the Moon in Sept. and like I’ve said before, they were literally the perfect fit for a band like WTM. I saw them again last night and this time, they were still an opener but for Sir Sly. I went to the show for Magic Man and left when they were done. I can’t comment on the main act but I’d like to see Magic Man be the main act someday. They are amazing and highly deserve it.