I could never consider myself as a tourist when it comes to New York City.
Although I left the city back in 2006 after living there for over 10 years first as a graduate student at Columbia University, and then as a career professional “trying to make it” in the city while acquiring professional experience at various architecture firms. You see…I feel like I know every parts of NYC, and if I were to visit the city, I would be only as a guide to other tourists.
All that changed October this year. I made a trip to New York City for both business, as well as pleasure (finishing work deadlines and celebrating the time off). It was a trip planned with my sister and mom: it was a much needed break we both needed from our work, and mom decided to join us at the last minute. As a past New Yorker, I took upon myself as the designated tour guide for the team to navigate and plan for the seven days of our vacation: what to do, what to see, and how to get there. Before leaving for NYC, I took out my old (10 years old!) Manhattan Subway map I carried around when I was a graduate student back in the 90’s. It was one of those maps you can only buy in NYC which was a small/foldable/ laminated / perfectly fit into wallet map. With only seven days of the trip, it was decided that we were going to only spend time in Manhattan rather than venturing out to different boroughs.
The most important part of the trip, “where to stay” was planned by my sister, or rather by the legal conference organization she was attending: Hudson Hotel. I knew about the hotel when I was living in Manhattan years ago…knew the hotel as a cool and hip place which I only experienced having a drink with some friends back in those days. This time around, I will get to stay at the hotel and experience all the perks as a guest. I will introduce the hotel in following blog entries. Although I don’t remember too much about the hotel (maybe it has to do with the drinks I had with friends back in those days), when I visited this time around, I realized how great the location of the hotel was; it was near Columbus Circle area where lots of things and activities converge! (especially the many subway lines passing through the area.)
Manhattan is a “walkable” city…especially being at the central location such as Columbus Circle made this trip even more walkable for all us. The first day arrived in the city; all of us decided to explore the city at night and look for restaurants rather than eating at the hotel. Without any directions in mind (that never happens when I was the New Yorker!), we decided to walk towards where lots of lights were, and ended up at the Times Square! It is the area I would never have walked towards when I was living there years ago! It is difficult to pass through because of the crowd (mostly tourists)….however this time around I was one of those tourists! The surprising part of the experience was that I was taking in the experience like others; taking pictures, looking around, experiencing the surrounding….This is the very first photo of that night experiencing the city: huge billboards competing for our attention and creating “another” city within Manhattan.
Have you experienced different vibes about a place because time has passed?