I was always a little ashamed to say that in my 15 years of living in the United States, I had never visited New York City. This all changed in late March when a friend of mine was going for 4 days and invited me to tag along. The main excuse for the trip was to watch the soccer friendly match between Argentina and USA.
I was able to able to get round trip tickets from Los Angeles on short notice using 25k airline miles. Not bad at all even though the first flight had a stopover in Chicago.
I arrived at the airport at 9am and after my flight was delayed twice, the airline was able to switch me to a direct flight departing in 10 minutes. I’m glad I didn’t have any checked baggage. At almost 6 hours, the flight was long and uncomfortable. When we arrived at the New York City, the plane circled over the JFK airport for a while waiting for authorization to land before running low on fuel and heading to Boston to refuel. With all the endless delays on that day, I didn’t get out of the airport until past midnight.
It was 30°F and I realized that I hadn’t packed enough clothes. After a long cab ride, I arrived and met my friend (who had arrived earlier in the day) at a Brooklyn hotel.
I spent the next 4 days trying to sight see as much as I could since my time was limited. Not my favorite way to travel, as I like to do things in a more leisurely pace.
The next day (Thursday) was spent crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, walking around Manhattan and meeting my friend Cindy for dinner and drinks. Check out her blog on travel and NYC food.
The scene of so many movies: Grand Central Station.
Super crowded Time Square.
On Friday, we visited what according to many is the best pizza place in NY: Di Fara in Broolyn. The place is family owned and very small with only about 3 tables. Every pizza is hand tossed by the owner and the wait was over 2 hours during lunch hour. It was worth it though.
Later on, I visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Since there was only 2 hours to go until closing, I had to rush through everything, but I was able to see all the most significant paintings. I saw a lot of the paintings you see in most art history books. Very impressive. I also found a curious set of photographs by Chinese photographer Ai WeiWei. At the time I didn’t know anything about him. Apparently, he is quite controversial and was arrested by the Chinese government a few days later.
Saturday afternoon was spent at Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). This place can rival the best museums in Europe. I spent 4 hours there and barely scratched the surface. I’ve never seen so many Van Gogh paintings under one roof except at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Saturday night was the main event: the soccer match between Argentina and USA. I had to root for Argentina since I grew up and lived 15 years there. It was my first chance to see Lionel Messi, the best player in the world. The match took place at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. The traffic to the stadium was horrible and we were 10 minutes late. It ended in a 1-1 tie.
The return trip to New York was a terrible experience. We stood in a very long line in the parking lot in 25°F temperature with strong winds waiting to ride the bus.
I was so impressed with The Met that I had to return to the museum on Sunday. I then took a quick stroll through Central Park before heading to the airport.
All in all, I really enjoyed NYC. It’s a place where I’d love to live if it wasn’t for the very cold weather. I liked the fact what you can walk and take public transport to go anywhere. The museums really impressed me. I know that there so many places that I haven’t seen which means that I’ll have to return eventually for a longer trip.