New York City, Arrival and First Day

JFK Arrivals Area
Waiting for a cab at JFK

October 23, 2012 (Tuesday), ~8:00 PM EDT – Arriving in NYC for the first time

After almost three months away, we were finally back in our home country. We had arrived before our scheduled arrival time of 8:10 PM, but due to our luggage having been inexplicably removed from the carousel without our knowledge (we were standing on the opposite side and waiting, waiting, and waiting), we didn’t get into a cab until 8:45. Despite that little setback, it felt good when we finally stepped out of the terminal and saw some distinctively American things: Ford vans, Chevrolets, and Crown Victoria police vehicles. When I checked my phone, it had a T-Mobile signal. The cash in my wallet was green. We were finally home.

Of course, even though we were back in America, it was my first time visiting New York City. I was looking forward to everything the city had to offer, but first we needed to get some rest. We hailed one of those world-famous New York cabs and made our way to our rented apartment in Manhattan, where we quickly unpacked, cleaned up, and went to bed.

The next day was spent walking around the neighborhood while recovering from jet lag. We were staying in the Herald Square area so we were close to Broadway, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. Continuing with our ramen tradition, we found a place at West 52nd Street called Totto Ramen, and walked all the way up Broadway, taking in all the sights and sounds of Manhattan. You see it in the movies and you play it in Grand Theft Auto, but there’s nothing like actually being there.

When we arrived it was just about lunch time, so there was a short wait. It was dinner time for us, though, because London is 5 hours ahead of New York at that time of year (still on summer time). I felt hungry and ordered an extra rice in addition to the ramen, which in hindsight was a bad decision. Since then, I have noticed a pattern when it comes to eating the first couple of meals after a long-haul flight: although I may feel hungry, my appetite is actually satisfied much more quickly than usual because I’m so exhausted. It’s like my stomach can’t keep up. Without the benefit of this knowledge, I scarfed down the rice (which came first and was really good) and ended up finishing the ramen to finish it instead of to enjoy it. Argh.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing in the apartment while planning our next few days. Next to our apartment building was a “standalone” food court (there was no mall, it was just there) with a Tim Hortons inside; I had discovered Tim Hortons from my visits to Vancouver, and I was pleasantly surprised to see one in New York so close to where we were staying. That afternoon and over the coming days, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every Iced Capp that I had. 🙂

For dinner, we met up with an old friend at a Korean restaurant in the nearby Koreatown, and afterwards she gave us a tour of her neighborhood in Brooklyn. We finished off the evening with a walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade:

View from Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Night view of Lower Manhattan

Like when we were at the Pont Neuf in Paris, I found myself thinking about the Bourne movies again, this time of the last movie when Jason Bourne jumped into the East River. I also thought of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, the password screen where Little Mac is training with Doc. Throughout my life I have seen and heard so much about New York City, and though it took me 30+ years to do it, I was finally there!

Mike Tyson's Punch Out
NYC in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out

Next: New York, Day 2 – Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown

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