New York: Day One

I think everyone has their own version of what New York City is or should be. All of us are expecting different things from it and each of us is getting treated in all the many different ways that New York has to offer.  My New York was magical!

It's actually hard to describe what I felt when I finally met New York. It was a mix of feelings. I was excited. I was overwhelmed. I was intimidated. And I was a little bit sad, too, as suddenly New York was no longer a dream, it was right in front of me. 

While we were creeping through traffic, I was looking out the window enjoying skyscrapers and the people on the streets rushing somewhere, or maybe nowhere, looking for adventure, love or maybe the best New York cheesecake. I couldn't wait to be one of them but honestly wasn't quite ready to fully open my heart to this city, massive, bright, noisy and chaotic. Further, there was a wild whisper in the air like something or somebody was bewitching me. And suddenly I already knew I have fallen in love with New York even before my feet had a chance to touch the ground of the concrete jungles.

After returning our rental car, we took a taxi and headed towards our hotel (by the way, the only reason we arrived to Manhattan by car is because we were driving from Connecticut where we have already spent two  most wonderful days celebrating our 5th anniversary).

Location is everything in Manhattan. When Robert was looking for a hotel for us, he was basically looking for location and views. He really wanted my first time in New York to be the most special. The Park Lane Hotel has that 'special' thanks both to its location on Central Park South (view!) and being just a half block from the famous 5th Avenue and many amazing restaurants (location!). We got a Central Park view room on the 10th floor. Whew! It would be a disaster to get something lower as I wanted to wake up to the most famous and luxurious view in Manhattan! And I did for the whole five days! The view was, indeed, unbelievably beautiful. However, even through the room was big, it was a little tired and room service was minimal. So basically we were paying just for the view, but, oh my, it was worth every penny. Trust me!

It's funny, when we were arriving at the hotel, the first thing I smelled was horse shit! Yep! And that smell was all around Central Park South because apparently the horse-drawn carriage rides through the park are one of the most picturesque and romantic ways to see New York's Central Park. I didn't try it so I have no idea if it's true or not, but, literally, there were dozens of horses around central park! Shocking! Surprisingly, I got used to that smell pretty quickly.

Our room wasn't ready yet, so we dropped our suitcases at the hotel and decided to explore 5th Avenue so we could get rid of my shopping hunger once and for all for the trip! When the first part of our budget was successfully spent on some fabulous clothing, we realized it's time to take care of a real hunger and find some food. Luckily, my attention was caught by a water wall tucked away in a small courtyard. It was beautiful and very strange. I even didn't realize at first - that there was a little cafe where we ended up eating our first meal in New York. Simple and tasty. I actually have noticed, New York has a lot of fountains and, I guess, that makes sense - water kills all other noisy sounds, and New York is full of sounds. After our little meal in a charming cafe with a waterfall, we, finally, went to Central Park. We didn't plan to explore the park in our first day so we just sat there on a green field, enjoying people, buildings, and very nice weather. Too nice actually. So nice that leaves hadn't really turned yet. Oh well... But this, I believe, was the only one real disappointment for me I had about New York.

In the evening I decided to see the Time Square. I though it would be silly to visit New York and not to see the Time Square. Robert wasn't happy with this idea, but he did understand my wish. When I see Time Square in the movies, it's so impressive, real image of New York. In reality, it's the worst part of Manhattan, in my opinion, crammed with tourists and awful neon and HD advertising everywhere, huge brand names, and weird people in weird costumes. It became very clear to me immediately, Time Square isn't the real New york even a bit. I don't know what it is or why it exists in this form. It's a hell where people for some strange reason get some pleasure in watching ads. I guess you could name this place as a mirror of our modern world - crowds of brainless people who are enjoying crap because everyone else does it, too. I didn't want to be even close to that "famous spot" so we took few pictures and ran away.

But wait a minute, I forgot to tell you that before my adventure in Time Square, we had amazing dinner in City Lobster. If you enjoy lobster, this is the place to try the real deal. We knew nothing about this restaurant. We just were passing by and decided to take a look at the menu located outside the door. We both were very hungry! The Moldavian Russian-speaking hostess saw our hungry and desperate faces and quickly grabbed us inside. Before we knew it, suddenly there was this enormously huge 'Angry Lobster.' Yes, exactly Angry - it's  how they call it in the menu. I thought it's going to jump out of the plate into my face. I have never seen a lobster of that size before! It looked scary to me but it was very delicious! Very-very delicious! We enjoyed our cocktails, too.

That evening we went to bed early. We didn't have any particular plans for the next day but we knew we needed to wake up early to get to the top of the Empire Building before the crowds.