Day 2 in NYC

My feet are dead. But it’s alright because they died martyrs. They helped me check one thing off my bucket list–explore a city on my own.

I got up today at 6AM and went with my cousin, Ate Dimples, to work. We took the Long Island Rail Road and got off at Penn Station. Seeing the underground train system was amazing. Everyone was rushing off in their black coats to get off to wherever they need to be. It’s interesting how something that’s so ornery to one person can be so fascinating for another!

I went off on my own to explore the streets of Manhattan at around 8:30. I basically just walked around aimlessly from 42nd Street to 37th Street along 7th Avenue. I actually don’t remember what streets I went to, but all I remember was seeing the gigantic billboards at Times Square, buying a pair of jeans that were on sale at Macy’s, and getting a digital voice recorder from B&H Photo that I’ve been meaning to get for some time now. Speaking of B&H, their system is phenomenal. If they need to get an item from the storage, they just key it into the computer and the people in the storage deliver it to them using a suspended track system which will drop it off right under the counter. They use that to transport the item to the pick-up station as well.

I also went to H&M, which had great selections, Gap, Conway, Joe Fresh, and a couple of other stores whose names escape me right now. I had lunch at Five Guys which had amazing burgers. The bacon in their Bacon Cheeseburger was actually crispy, and all the ingredients mixed well together. I loved it! I’d like to compare it with some of the other joints.

After lunch I decided to explore the world-famous Fifth Avenue. Being the adventurous person I am, I took the subway alone to 59th and 5th. There were a couple of African-American teenagers whom I think were all in the same basketball team. They were cursing while talking to each other when this Caucasian gentleman beside me started telling them off. I thought it was interesting that Americans would just tell off complete strangers when I realized that the guy must’ve been their coach.

The walk along Fifth Avenue was spectacular. The first thing I saw was the trademark Apple logo suspended in mid-air inside a glass cube. I was blown away! Who’d ever heard of an underground Apple store? I looked around and then went into FAO Schwarz where I was blown away a second time. As soon as I walked in, this salesman asked me to hold out my hand and catch this beanbag he tossed at me using the top of my hand, which I did. It’s called a Miyaki and he showed me a couple of tricks and taught me some. Really cool, and a really great way to get sales. (Although I didn’t end up getting one.) I did end up getting a lot of candy for friends, and some pasalubobng for my siblings. I won’t spoil it and reveal them here though 😉

Afterwards all the stores just popped up. I looked at Zara, Forever 21, Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, the NBA Store, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, among many others whose names escape me. I also visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and lit up a candle for thanksgiving. It’s a majestic piece of architecture! I also visited the New York Public Library and checked out the exhibit of preserved texts and artifacts, including a Gutenberg Bible, a book by Erasmus Darwin, some sketches by Keppler, and a book by Ptolemy. High school and college history lessons just materialized before my eyes. It was amazing!

With my feet seriously aching, I found myself near 38th Street where my cousin’s office was. I had just walked back over 20 blocks! However, the night was just beginning, and after meeting Ate Dimples back in her office, we took a cab to the opening night. Or rather, two cabs. We ended up in the UN Building the first time because we thought that 1 East 42nd Street was the intersection of 1st Avenue and 42nd Street. It wasn’t. The cabs in NYC are very interesting too! They have little monitors at the back where you can watch the news and see a GPS map of where the driver’s going. You can also pay via credit card!

The opening event was intimate but very lively. There was a performance by the World Youth Alliance Chamber Orchestra which is composed of Julliard students aged 10-17. They played a couple of pieces by Mozart, who, ironically, was celebrating his birthday as well. Then, Mr. Zanussi gave his keynote address and screened his film, With All My Heart. It was interesting, although not my favorite style.

I’m back home now and I’m excited for the day that’s coming up tomorrow. The films are being screened and I’ll know if I’ll be coming home with a prize. I still can’t believe I’m in New York City. Dreams do come true.

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