Deciding to go on a trip to the city that never sleeps, was quite spontaneous- one of the best decisions I’ve made yet. If you haven’t already heard, Philippine Airlines just opened flights to New York via Vancouver last March 15. What was supposed to be a trip where I would tag along with my mom on her flight, ended up becoming my first solo trip, to the Big Apple at that!
Being on my own meant it was important for me to blend in with everyone else, so instead of a map, I carried a small blue notebook where I would jot down my entire route for the day. As much as I wanted to take hundreds of photos with my dSLR, I left it at home and made good use of my GoPro, in areas that were tourist-y. None of the stop-at-every-corner-and-take-a-photo because what the movies have been showing us is true: there is such a thing as a New York walk, and you just gotta keep up!
My first day exploring the city made me realize how most of the spots a first-timer would wanna see are actually close to each other. It must be the efficient subway system, something I definitely wish we had back home, and the way the streets are lined up into a grid that make it easy to navigate.
Right off the subway at 23rd St. on 5th, I spotted the interesting Flat Iron Building, a skyscraper built in the early 1900’s, meant to be shaped as, you guessed it, a clothes-iron. Was surprised to find Eataly nearby, and thought it best to have a well-deserved, sit-down late lunch after that long flight from Manila. And I must say, this place is to die for, especially if you love authentic Italian food! Mounds of people flock here, so it’s either you make a reservation ahead of time, or visit during lean hours. And anyway, even if you’re still cueing up for a table, you can shop for fresh ingredients in the meantime because it doubles as a grocery. In fact, they have such a wide variety of food & wine, that once you enter, you have to choose a restaurant: La Pizza & La Pasta, Il Pesce, Manzo Ristorante, La Piazza, and so on. The huge selection can get overwhelming, which is why people can never get enough of this place, but the best part for me is how fresh the ingredients and how authentic the flavors are that they cook it for you on the spot.
Walked up several streets and capped off my day at the place that I’ve been looking forward to visiting, my entire life—
I’ve always been a fan of plays and musicals, especially since I used to participate in Repertory summer workshops, where we would adapt Broadway plays like The Wiz, Footloose, Mamma Mia, and my favorite, Lion King. Though I didn’t get to see it this time around, being in Broadway simply felt surreal.
Confident of my navigation skills during my first day at New York, I decided to venture a little more downtown West the day after, then head back over to MOMA at 4PM for the Uniqlo Free Admission Fridays. A daily routine for me before stepping out of the apartment would be to refer to Google Maps and take down my entire day’s path on a notebook. I guess that ate up too much time since I woke up late from jet lag. I intended to visit the Friends apartment at Grove Street, drop by the Greenwich letter press, see the Film Forum and walk along Bleecker Street.
Unfortunately, none of those happened that day because I ended up getting myself lost. The difficult thing about the West Village is that it doesn’t follow the grid system, unlike the rest of Manhattan. Instead of numbers that intersect, the streets used names, which is why it wasn’t surprising even to the locals that I got lost. I ended up stumbling from subway to subway, even found myself up north on 153rd street, where I was finally able to ask how to get back midtown.
Despite being very late, I made it to the last hour and a half of the Museum of Modern Art, and absolutely enjoyed my visit! I didn’t really know what to expect, so I was surprised to see paintings from some favorite artists.
Headed back to my friend Bea’s apartment to meet up with her before the Klingande concert. It was perfect because I wanted to experience the music scene in New York and she happened to be going to a concert that week. I didn’t know much of Klingande, save for his popular hit, Jubel, but I’m really glad I went and discovered his music. I just loved the sound of that saxophone accompaniment!