Well, my month of travel is over! But I saved the best for last. After spending a week in Grand Rapids and a few days in Branson with my family, I ended the summer with a trip to the coolest place I’ve ever been to in my life: New York City. I got to visit my girlfriend Millie and help her move into her new place. It was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it!
I got up ridiculously early last Monday morning to drive to Dallas to catch my flight to LaGuardia. One of Millie’s friends was gracious enough to let me park my car at her place and drive me to the airport. I was kind of nervous about checking my bags and going through security, but it all went off without any problems at all. A few hours later, I was in New York with my bags in hand, ready to take on the city.
I knew the first thing I had to do was get a Metro card. I depended entirely on public transportation to get me around the city throughout the week, so getting a pass was really important. Unfortunately, the machines were down, so I had to search two floors of the airport to find a store that had them in stock. But I found one, and for a very reasonable price, I had my key to the city. I could go anywhere I wanted by subway or bus, and that was a really great feeling. The public transportation is by far the coolest thing about New York City, and I wish we had it everywhere.
There’s a bus that takes new arrivals from LaGuardia to the nearest subway station, and those buses don’t mess around. I thought the ride would be long and slow, but we were at the station in no time. Thanks to iOS 9’s addition of transit directions to the Maps app, I got on the right train going the right way, and I got off on the right stop. My first New York commute couldn’t have gone more smoothly. (Metaphorically smoothly, of course, because the buses and trains are actually very bumpy.)
As I got off the train, I took it all in. I was in Queens, New York. It really was a real place, and it was as cool as everyone makes it out to be. I crossed a couple of empty streets, walked past some unique-looking restaurants, and found my destination: Project Earth, the health food store where Millie works. And then I had a great reunion with my girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. I had made it to New York, and I had already navigated through it safely. I knew I was in for a great week.
My week in New York consisted of a lot of things. I helped Millie move into her new apartment. I went all around the city to places I’ve been wanting to see for years. I ate some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life. I didn’t do a lot of the more touristy stuff, but that’s OK with me. I got a real New York experience, and that’s better than anything I could have expected.
A couple of memories from the trip really stand out. On Wednesday, Millie was off work, so we belatedly celebrated my birthday. We went to an amazing tech store called B&H, canoed on the East River, and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Millie’s new neighborhood. (Side note: Mexican food in New York is very different, but definitely worth trying.) It was a really special day.
On Thursday, we went on an adventure to New Jersey. Millie bought a hammock stand on Craigslist, so we took a bus out there to pick it up. We then had to figure out how to get it back to New York. The bus we had taken to NJ was long gone, so we walked a mile to a different bus stop and prayed the driver would let us on even though our tickets were marked for the other bus. But it all worked out. We got back to the city, set up the hammock, and had dinner delivered to the apartment. By the way, food delivery is free in New York. It’s one of my favorite things about the city.
Friday was my last day in New York, and we had yet another adventure. Millie took me to ride the Staten Island Ferry, where we saw the Statue of Liberty and had fun out on the water. But when we got back to the city, I discovered the dark side of New York’s public transportation: the night schedule. The train we had taken to get to the ferry was now closed, and we had to wait on a shuttle bus to take us to the next-closest train station. The trains were packed, and none of them went to the stops that they usually do during the day. But after a long ride, we finally made it to Times Square and had dessert in the middle of the coolest place in the city at 1:00 in the morning. It’s something I’ll never forget.
I left New York early Saturday morning, and it was an extremely difficult goodbye on a lot of levels. I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with Millie, and as much as I enjoy our long-distance relationship, I’m going to miss seeing her everyday and greeting her at the station when she gets off work. I’m also really going to miss the city. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it before I went, but now that I’ve been there, I’m hooked. The people, the food, the transportation, the sounds. It’s all so perfect. New York City is an amazing place. It gave me the trip of a lifetime, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back.
Thank you guys for reading these blog posts throughout the summer. I’ve had an amazing time traveling around the country with the people I love, and I’m so glad I got to share those memories with you. Now I’m back in Waco getting ready for school and work to start back up. Things are about to go back to “normal” (which of course means things are just going to get crazy again in a different way), and I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule soon to keep you guys posted. I hope you enjoy what’s left of your summer, and I’ll see you guys soon!
This is the third in a three-part blog series documenting my travels this summer. If you’re interested in shorter, more frequent updates, follow me on Twitter or keep up with my summer hashtag #WhereIsDevon.