This weekend, I went to New York!! For the first time ever!!!
It was my friend Grace’s 21st birthday on Sunday, and she is currently at Columbia – so she invited a whole bunch of us up to the big apple for the weekend to celebrate. She rented an enormous Airbnb just a short walk from Central Park, where we all stayed for the weekend. And I had so much fun!
I arrived at JFK Airport on Friday afternoon (who knew LAX-JFK would be six hours??), met up with Poppy (a friend from school) and together we got the subway to the house. The theme for the party that night was ‘British Icons’ – luckily, I dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween this year, so I had a very convenient costume available. We spent a long time unpacking alcohol deliveries and cooking toad in the hole, then Grace’s friends from Columbia and her home university, Wake Forest (North Carolina), arrived. It was so much fun, and so lovely to see so many old school friends who’d flown all the way from the UK!
The next day, we got up quite late (suuuch comfortable beds) and a group of us went to Central Park. We watched part of the Women’s March, which I was really happy about because obviously I missed the Los Angeles one this weekend. It was weird seeing New York after having only seen the city represented on the screen before – not because it was hugely different to what I’d pictured, but because it was just the same! All the fire escapes, the sky scrapers, the yellow cabs – just like postcard. It was a lot colder than I though it would be, though, and I suffered – I didn’t bring a coat as I didn’t have one in LA. Why would I???? That night we got all dressed up and had a formal dinner, which was delicious. Grace’s parents were there and each made sweet speeches, and we had an absolutely AMAZING chocolate and strawberry cake for pudding!
On Sunday morning, I got up quite early and took myself off to the 9/11 Memorial museum at the World Trade Centre. The professor who took my Contemporary American Fiction class last quarter highly recommended it and I wanted to do at least one touristy thing while I was in New York. It was a really harrowing experience – the museum is very well laid out, with so much information available on absolutely every aspect of the attack and its aftermath. I teared up a few times listening to the 911 calls of the victims and the voicemails left on their answering machines by concerned loved ones. Definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself with a free afternoon in NYC – although you should allow at least 3 hours to be able to properly take in everything in there. There’s a lot to see.
Later that afternoon, I reunited with the crew at a restaurant in Chelsea, where we had a delicious very very late brunch. Grace had her first American legal glass of prosecco! Unfortunately, I lost track of the time somewhat and very nearly didn’t make it to my flight – luckily Grace and her mum were kind and did everything they could to make my journey quicker!! I hopped back on the plane to LA, and off I went again – back to the sunshine.
I really enjoyed New York, and I had the best time with Grace. I was only there for literally 48 hours, and so I feel I got a very rushed glimpse of the city. This weekend wasn’t intended to be a sight-seeing tour, however – it was to celebrate an old friend’s birthday, and I had so much fun doing just that. I would love to return some time in the future, perhaps when it is a little warmer!