Chrysler Building

First Encounter: New York City

Considering we only had around 36 hours to explore NY, I’m impressed with how much we were able to see. We were lucky enough to stay with A.’s family in Washington Heights during our weekend excursion. Our bus from DC to NY on Friday ($43 round trip through Washington Deluxe) left at around 12:45 and was scheduled to take around 4 hours and 20 minutes. Based on the timetable, we assumed we’d be in NY at around 5:30P and have time to freshen up and head out to explore the city. Apparently 4 hours and 20 minutes actually means 7 hours on a Friday. SEVEN HOURS. We ended up arriving at Penn Station in New York at around 7:30 and were in Washington Heights at around 8:15PM. I’m sure that normal 24 year old girls would have found that to be early, but being that we’re the oldest 24 year olds on the planet, we decided to stay in and hang out with her fam for the night (much more relaxing) and save our energy for what was sure to be a long day on Saturday.

Friday Night.

We jumped on the subway bright and early on Saturday, grabbed coffee in TriBeCa and made our way around the island, starting with Ground Zero. While the memorial isn’t going to be open until September 11, 2011 (read about it here), we were able to see the construction and the memorial area.

The soon-to-be Freedom Tower // 1WTC
Ground Zero

Afterwards, we walked along the water, dodging runners and cyclists (there are so many of them!), passing Liberty Island and making our way to Chinatown. Now, as ridiculous as it sounds, we had set our sights on Chinatown as a spot to hit up this weekend. Apparently it’s the ‘holy grail for bargain shoppers’. It was exactly like I imagined it — super shady and crowded. People propositioned us on the streets to buy fake handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, etc. They came out of the shadows, super stealthy and discreet as if they were peddling drugs. Almost comical, really.

Chinatown

After our jaunt in Chinatown, we made our way through SoHo (amazing shopping!), NoHo (much more urban, with some super cheap and cool shops), through Union Square and then through the Flatiron District. Union Square was bustling — there were loads of people enjoying the farmer’s market, selling paintings, jumping rope and generally enjoying the rather pleasant weather in the city.

Saturday in Union Square!

FreeHugs

After re-fueling at FoodParc in the Flatiron, we heading back uptown and prepped for a night in the city. We ended up meeting with one of my best friends from grad school for sushi and a jaunt at the rooftop lounge of the Kimberly Hotel. Amazing views and amazing company!

Chrysler Building

All in all, a fun-filled incredible day in NYC and a great intro to the city in a few short hours!

xoxo,

See more pictures from New York here.

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.