My Dad is from and lives in Southern California and I only get to see him a couple times a year. When he let me know that he was going to be in Manhattan for a bit I knew I had to make it happen. Some might question whether visiting any place for only a day was even worth it. The answer is, even if it wasn’t to see my Dad, it totally is!
On vacations we tend to try and cram everything in during the week or so we are there. When you are someplace for only a day, you have no illusions that you will be able to do it all. You realize that experiencing the energy of the city is your goal, and totally worth it.
I have been to Manhattan before, the first time had to be the worst driving experience ever. That’s right, I drove…on a Friday evening. It also was the first time I drove in a large city, ever. Wouldn’t recommend unless you like spending hours trying to get through a tunnel and then spend more hours trying to find parking. Although I have heard that it isn’t bad to drive to Brooklyn or New Jersey and take a bus or ferry in.
Baltimore has an awesome bus system to and from New York, there are a few different options, MegaBus and Bolt. I have taken both and I really enjoyed my time with Mega this last time. I booked my seats a little late, so they ended up a bit more expensive than usual. Round trip I was able to get away with paying $50 total. Not bad at all. I choose one of the earlier times in the morning and the later return times to maximize the amount of time I had with my Dad and New York. Alan also came! It was super exciting to have him meet more of my family and run around New York with.
The bus picked us up right on time and it was smooth sailing the whole way. I read my new book From Here to Eternity, an amazing book on death rituals around the world. I love taking the bus when I can, with free wifi and not having to drive myself, it makes the journey so much more enjoyable.
The bus dropped us off midway between 7th and 27th street and we headed to meet up with my family, who were visiting the 9/11 Memorial. Alan and I love walking, and I believe there is no other way to experience a place than to walk through it. So we walked! It’s a long way, I’m not even sure how many blocks, but we saw a ton! I finally got to walk through SoHo, which is pretty much what I expected, an outdoor mall. Wasn’t really much for me to get excited about, but I didn’t have much time to wander around, so I may have missed a gem. Have you been to SoHo before? What are your favorite spots?
One of our favorite shops we found was Evolution. It had everything from shadowboxes with interesting creatures in it to gemstones and other oddities. Even though we were headed to meet up with family, we found some extra time to poke around and take a look. We have made plans to come back and buy all the things.
When we met up with my family, we wandered around the site near the 9/11 Memorial. I am not one for taking images of memorials, since it just feels wrong to me, but it was a very impressive memorial. I love the symbolism that it holds, with the water pouring into the void, representing both an absence of something and the continuing flow of energy.
There is also a great deal of art around the memorial. Here are some of the beautiful murals found nearby!
For those new to New York or a similarly sized city, walking around can seem overwhelming. I would recommend to walk with purpose. Keep your thoughts and sight on where you want to go and stand your ground, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.
From there we jumped on the subway and headed to central park. I love love central park. Last time I was in New York I got to see a troupe of break dancers perform. The park is definitely a place where you always find something happening. Manhattan didn’t let us down. A few blocks away I could hear some loud music and I convinced the family to go and explore what was happening. I didn’t even realize that it was Puerto Rican Day, and with the recent hurricane in Puerto Rico, this parade was not only a celebration of Puerto Rico and heritage, but also a recognition of those who lost their lives during the hurricane and a political comment on the administration’s response. It was amazing to see so many people coming together on Sunday and taking up space and making their voices heard.
After walking around so much we decided to have some dinner before having to make our way to the bus stop back to Baltimore. I am always so happy that my Dad is willing to try vegan food when I am around. I always try and find some place that has a bunch of different options and show him the menu beforehand. For those that are vegan with non-vegan family members, it can sometimes be hard to go somewhere with options other than a salad, let alone a fancy vegan place. We decided on P.S. Kitchen, and it was SUCH A GOOD IDEA.
Alan and I could not make up our minds (or mostly me) and we shared the BBQ mushroom burger on a pretzel roll and a “chicken” pot pie. SOOOO goood. My Dad had a pretty amazing potato soup and we all shared a strawberry shortcake with cashew cream. I like food, in case you hadn’t noticed.
After saying goodbye, we walked a few blocks to the bus stop and sat next to the bay. It is interesting being in a completely different place for just a day. It makes me realize that traveling is all about my interactions with the people I am with, rather than just about seeing all the things.
If you ever get a chance to go somewhere, even for a day, I would say take that chance. The experience is different than what you would have in a week, but that’s okay. Different is good! It is neat to think, on Monday when I have to go back into work for the week, that just yesterday I was walking around with millions of people in a completely different city!
Next New York stops? Brooklyn, Queens, and I want to see more of New York than the city!
What are some day trips near you that you could do?