It's Julie Kitsulie here, back for another fun Travel Blog! I do love to travel, a big goal of mine is to travel somewhere every year! Then, every 2 years, overseas! I've been to many places in the USA- Most of the Southeast, Birmingham, New Orleans, all over Florida. I've also been out to Chicago, San Diego and New York! That's why this blog is entitled Julie Kitsulie 2: Lost in New York, since this was my second time traveling that way! But this time wasn't for vacation time- this was actually for work! Still, whether for work or for play, traveling is still an adventure!
I started that Wednesday morning getting ready. I was already all packed up the night before, just needed to cap everything off. I try to travel light, but also bring extra of any necessities/items (like socks!). I have 2 purple travel bags that I use from iFly, a bigger one for my longer trips (Like my one to London), and then a smaller one that can actually fit in the overhead compartment as my carry-on. Remember, try to travel small and light, and get a bag to carry on- many airlines will do one carry-on and one personal item (like your purse or laptop bag) but anything further or bigger will have to be checked in and that usually costs extra! So I put everything I needed in my small luggage bag, then all my personal items I'd have with me no matter what in my purple laptop bag.
I got the Kitsulie fur family all prepared as I said my goodbyes. Everyone was fed and watered, plenty of toys, just went out, and everything turned off, as I waited for my Lyft ride to come pick me up to take me to the airport. I was still a little anxious and worried, mostly from those thoughts and feelings of "is everything turned off" "Am I forgetting anything" "Will they be okay while I'm gone".
But yes, enough with the preparations- let's travel to New York! I'd gotten to the airport and checked in. Oh boy, security! The long lines! Remember when you're traveling, be extra comfortable! I made it through. My flight wasn't until 4pm but I checked in around noonish. Better to be much earlier than not. You can then relax, grab some food, do a little pre-flight shopping if you wish. Although, best tip is to just get everything you can beforehand- once you're checked in, everything can tend to get a little pricey.
Finally I was on the plane. I always pick the window seat. My Co-worker prefers the aisle, as she prefers the luxury of being able to get up without disturbing others and just hates flying in general. Well if you know me, you know that I LOVE flying. Taking off is my favorite. Hearing the engines roar as we pick up speed and lift off the ground and soar through the clouds- what a glorious feeling!
Soaring free into the sky! I put in the headphones after a while and watched "How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World" How fun it was to fly while flying with the dragons! I was excited to be landing in New York soon. I'd been before, when I went to go see Muse at Madison Square Garden in 2013. That was my first time in New York, and I was with friends. This time it was work related and I'd technically be on my own. I'd had my coworker with me but still, it was a freeing feeling. My coworker is originally from New York, so to her, she was "going home"
We finally landed at LaGuardia Airport and I saw all the New York signs and souvenirs. I was here again! Hello beautiful city! I thought of the things I did in New York before and what I could possibly do for this trip, since we'd spend most of the time working. When I last went to New York, I went on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We didn't go on it, as they were repairing damage but it was still glorious to see her in person. We also went to Times Square, walked around, FAO Schwartz, part of Central Park, and walked by the Empire State Building. No, I didn't write about this adventure- this was from 2013, before I really decided to start travel blogging.
We took our Lyft in and got to our hotel, then we walked around the streets of New York around 7 o'clock at night, looking for pizza. Of course it only felt like took forever to find (Nowhere had what we wanted) but the New York blocks are small and you can walk everywhere. Not like Atlanta, where it feels forever to walk from one place to another. So we didn't walk around long and grabbed some food, then went back to our individual rooms. We actually had work to catch up on from the day after traveling, so I went to my room, ate food and did some work. How I love my job! I laid in bed and fell right asleep.
The very next day, my co-worker and I met up very early in the morning to catch a Lyft and head into the New York Office of our company to meet fellow coworkers and tour the office. It was very nice! Much different than the Atlanta Office I'm so use to working in. It was actually a little quiet, some of the people were out traveling or on vacation. But we still sat in and got work done, then had lunch with some of the folks there. It was very nice.
Finally, work was finished later that afternoon. Everything was caught up. We walked back to the hotel (We realized just how close the office was to our hotel and could've walked) and I was free to explore. Uh oh, Julie Kitsulie alone in New York! This was exciting. It would be my first time exploring on my own in the city. Of course, I knew not to act like a "tourist" (Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take pictures, or look super lost or walking slow) I just grabbed my very small handbag (It's only big enough for my phone, cards, and cash) and stepped out. I was use to being in cities, but anywhere I go I am very much on alert. Walk with purpose. Look confident. Keep your wits about. Don't go anywhere strange or abandoned alone. That sort of thing. When traveling alone, use common sense and safety. That should be a given anywhere you go, right?
I had decided I wanted to go to Rockefeller Center. I didn't go to that area last time. The Color Factory I'd wanted to go to was closed for that day, and I'd already seen the Statue of Liberty. Plus, I wanted to see FAOSchwartz again, I'd heard that they closed from the last one, but they'd just moved locations. Plus, there was an art exhibit around the center I thought would be cool to see. I originally was about to take the subway, but after going down there and getting a bit confused, I decided it'd be better to just walk or take the Lyft. I wasn't use to their subway, and honestly I'd only had half a day in the city, and I didn't want to spend it underground being confused and stressed. So I hopped on the Lyft and went to Rockefeller. First thing I saw was where I wanted to go!
I love this toy store. 3 stories of fun, unique toys, plus the candy store with large candy! While I did not purchase anything there (When it comes to traveling, I like to spend money on experiences and take pictures, and maybe get a small souvenir here and there if it's something I really want.) It was just really fun to walk around and see the toys and demonstrations. The Race cars and drones, the magic demonstrations, the videos playing, the kids playing, and of course that giant piano you can dance on.After being in the toy store, I walked around the outside and looked at the art sculptures. At Rockefeller, there is an exhibit called Frieze, and there were numerous beautiful sculptures all around in general.
It was very relaxing. I decided after taking a stroll around, I wanted to walk back down 5th Avenue and just to see what I'd run into and how far I could walk back to my hotel. It would've been an hour walk, but the further I could walk, the more I could see and the more I'd save on a Lyft right when I'd gotten tired. So I walked, then it started pouring rain. I hid under an awning with a couple of other people, until finally deciding to brave it and keep going. I bought an umbrella for $5 and kept going. Until I looked and saw the New York Public Library!
I'd went by the library the last time I went to New York, but didn't go in. I decided to go in to catch my breath and relax a bit. I had a coffee at their coffee shop and checked my Emails for work. Always working! Then I looked around their store. I could have spent forever in that bookstore- there were so many globes and maps and journals and of course books. I absolutely love libraries and book stores, so this place was really something. I loved spending time in there.
Finally, I decided to keep walking down 5th to see what else I could find. I happened upon the Empire State Building! Wow! Last time I was here, I'd only touched it. The line was much too long for us to go last time, and this one I was super tempted. I'd always wanted to go to the top, so I was willing to splurge a bit and go.
I decided to do one of the city tour combos. I love taking tours and learning history about places, especially after being an Atlanta Tour Guide for over a year, I've decided that anywhere I go, I would try to take a tour. I did one with the hop on, hop off bus. He'd told me it would make a loop and I could go back to the Empire State Building and I would be able to go up. Pro-Tip- make sure you research these things thoroughly! I'll tell you why later. But it seemed straightforward enough- take a tour, come back, go up to the Empire State, at a reasonable price. Alrighty, let's go!
I climbed to the top of the bus where you could see everything as the bus took us all around downtown. Saw the Flatiron Building, built in 1902. We have a Flatiron Building in Atlanta, which everyone says we copied New York (How did that happen if ours was built in 1897??) We went by the bridges, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge; we also saw Lady Liberty off in the distance. We went through Chinatown, we went by the 9/11 memorial. Saw lots of New York, and I was very happy to have chosen to do the tour and see so much of the city in such little time!
Now here comes the part where you should do thorough research on these tours, especially combo passes. Remember how I said the guy told me it'd loop around to go back to Empire State? Well, what I wasn't told is that, the loop ended at 6pm. The tour guide said I only had a few more choices for stops, Times Square or Rockefeller Center. So, I couldn't get dropped off at Empire State like I'd thought. So I told him I'd do Rockefeller, as I knew my way back to Empire State from there, even though it was a long walk. I was already tired from walking earlier and then annoyed that I had to do it ALL OVER AGAIN!
But whatever, things happen. I hopped off at Rockefeller and I walked FAST! Like, I must've covered going from Rockefeller to Empire State in half the time as before (As previously I'd only strolled) and I made it back, tired but energized I'd get to see Empire State Building and go to the top!!!
I went in, and it was so cool looking. They had replicas of the Empire State Building on the inside. Also, King Kong was very popular in there, of course. I love King Kong so much, all the versions. I remember very fondly going to Universal Studios, Orlando Florida, and riding the King Kong Ride with joy.
I waited in the line, it was as exciting as waiting on a roller coaster ride. Finally, I was going to go on top of the Empire State Building, where King Kong famously climbed, where James and his Giant Peach landed, this very famous and historical building, and I would get to go to the top and survey my world. It was also dark by now, so I'd get to see the beautiful city of New York lit up. The city that never sleeps.
The elevator we waited to get on took us up to the 80th floor, where there was an observatory to look outside, but with the reflection of the window, made it hard to look out of. We had to wait for the elevator to go up to the 86th floor. One of the workers said "You can either wait 30 minutes for the elevator, or take the stairs which is about 5 minutes" Many of us went for the stairs. So walking all over New York and then walking up 6 flights of stairs to the top of the Empire State Building. I can do this.
I did it. I was getting out of breath as I reached the top, but I'd finally made it! I was on top of the Empire State Building and I could see out across the beautiful lit up New York City.
It was so beautiful! I got to see across the city lit up. It was very crowded, but once you got to the edge to look out, you sort of get tunnel vision. I took pictures but none of them could do justice of how absolutely glorious the spectacular view was. Most people were also very nice, they'd move to let others go to the edge to take pictures and selfies and such. I tried to take a couple of selfies but they didn't turn out very well with the lighting. But it was still wonderful to see. I walked around a bit, looking over the edge. Sometimes I'd look across over the city, and sometimes I'd try to look down. I overheard a girl tell her little brother "Don't look down, if you look down it feels like you're dying!" I chuckled at this comparison, it actually kinda did, if that makes sense. You'd look down and you'd get a pit in your stomach and it feels like you're falling, even though you're perfectly safe behind guarded rails with curved spikes at the top nobody could even climb. But it did give me that stomach pit feeling, similar to the feeling I get when I go skydiving. That adrenaline rush I just love so much.
Finally, I was so tired and caught a Lyft back to the hotel. I showered off New York and went straight to bed, listening to the soothing sounds of car honks and people yelling down below on the streets.
Oh New York, you crazy wonderful city. I went to sleep to dream of the adventures I had that day.
So that's pretty much my New York adventure. The next day was just traveling home that afternoon, which was Friday. I also felt myself possibly getting sick, so I picked up Airborne tablets and Flu masks. I wore a flu mask at the airport. I'm sure I got some stares, but I did NOT want to get sick (and I didn't!) Think about it, being on a plane, with all that congested air and all those people- better to take precautions and now I'll always wear one when I go for a flight. But yeah, that was my travel adventure this month! I was only in New York for a short time but I managed to pack a lot in just a day. That's how I love to do it. Everyday is an adventure and I love to soak up as much of life as I can!
Thanks for reading, everyone! Blue Skies!