Friday, 15 July 2016

Why I Didn't Love New York City

Like most people, I’d always dreamed of going to New York. So when I booked a few days there at the beginning of the year I was ecstatic. 

I arrived at 11am on a Friday afternoon and the day was pretty busy from the get go. The whole day I couldn’t help but have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I just couldn’t quite shake. It wasn’t until I was waiting in a queue, alone, for the Empire State Building that I realised what it was: I was in New York and I wasn’t enjoying it. 

New York is always made out to be such a big deal everywhere. In movies etc it is portrayed as the best place on earth. It had been a dream for so long that I hadn’t even considered that I wouldn’t enjoy myself. I would spend my days eating amazing food, wandering happily between skyscrapers, looking fashionable and having a blast. 

Right? 

Wrong. 


There are a few things that I think contributed to why I didn’t fall madly in love with New York and I’m going to try and explain those.

I spent the majority of my time in New York alone.
When I booked my trip the plan was that I would travel from Boston and spend three nights staying with a friend from university who lives in Upper West Side Manhattan. Sounds good right? Whilst I’m extremely grateful that my friend put me up and it was great to see him but I wish I’d had someone to share the ‘magic’ of New York with. Obviously my friend, who is New York born and raised, wasn’t going to want to go around all the tourist attractions in New York with me. A) That would be really expensive and B) Been there done that. I’m not someone who hates my own company and I’m quite happy to things like go shopping or go to the cinema by myself but I felt really uncomfortable spending most of my time in the city alone. I felt 100% responsible for myself and couldn’t rely on anyone to manage things like directions, tickets, food etc. This really quickly tired me out and I just lost a lot of enthusiasm for what I was doing. Even when standing in the queues it would have been nice to have someone to chat with. It would have been great to travel to New York with someone else who had never been so that we could have discovered the city together. 

It was really, really hot.
Realistically when I booked this trip I expected it to be warm. I was not expecting it to be 30 degrees kind of warm. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m incredibly pale and I don’t handle heat well at all. It was also really humid. So walking anywhere was awkward as it turned me into a gross, sweaty mess. And after constantly reapplying suncream I kept sticking to anything I sat down on and bits of dirt etc would stick to my legs. I just felt gross the whole time I was there.

New York is really big, in a way that’s incomprehensible until you’re actually there. 
New York is big. We all know that. But I’ve never experienced anything on that scale before so it was hard for me to imagine what it would actually be like. Being somewhere so big by yourself is really, really intimidating and I felt quite unsettled most of the time. Even just walking somewhere I was constantly on edge that I'd take a wrong turn and get lost etc. I did manage to use the subway pretty well but it's actually quite expensive if you're using it several times a day.

I can't really describe how I feel about returning to New York. I'm sure I will one day but I'll be leaving it alone for a few years. I'd like to go back with friends/a partner and maybe at Christmas time. We'll see.

I didn't love New York. But it taught me a lot about myself as a traveller.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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1 comment

  1. I really admire your honesty in this post! It's very easy just to say it was great because that's what everyone says! Well done for being honest. Next time I hope you go I hope you have a good time and don't feel so alone xxx


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