Wowza. My feet hurt. That's about my full sum up of my two days thus far in NYC. I have done a fuck load of walking. In the cities defence though it is actually very well organised and I chose to walk instead of getting the subway because everything was like "a couple of blocks" that way followed by the next tourist attraction being a couple more blocks.
Eventually though you end up all the way downtown cursing your stupidity because now you have to get yourself back home and your feet ache through your shoes.
But I digress, I have so much to tell you!
Day one was a pretty spectacular day. Albeit quite long and containing 25,000 odd steps.
I didn't get lost once though! Which, if you know me even the tiniest bit, you'll realise that is an incredible feat. I can feel my street smart skills picking up already.
I started the day with an adventure to find Australian coffee, which cost me $5 USD or about $7 AUD. I almost cried because that's so expensive but then I remembered what the alternative was and I decided it wasn't such a terrible trade. I'm sorry America but your coffee is shit.
Shout out to my head of division for providing me with a list of Aussie coffee joints in NYC. You're a real one Anthony.
I then trekked off to see Times Square. Quick little video for you below:
It's pretty epic. I just stood there for a while taking it all in. Then I saw some sailors taking turns to take photos of each other and I commenced project 'Rhiannon isn't anxious' and offered to take some pics for them. They were very nice and even took some slightly awkward photos of me. I did smile but it was a bit strange having 3 sailors stare at you while you pose by yourself.
One of them was from Houston. I apologise to the other two because I cannot for the life of remember where they said they came from. But it is from those sailors that I found out its 'fleet week' which is a celebration for the sea services in the lead up to Memorial Day on Monday. This explained the large numbers of sailors wandering around.
I got my first "oh cool an aussie" comment which was nice, although they didn't have a clue where Canberra was. Alas.
After Times Square I continued my trek straight up 7th avenue till I reached Central Park. I walked along the outer edge and saw 'The Plaza' and my little inner self screamed because that's where Liv Lerner and Emma Allan had always dreamed of getting married in 'Bride Wars'. I don't think the people around me understood why I was just staring at the building for so long but I was taking it in ok.
I then checked out google maps and saw that St. Patricks Cathedral was nearby and I thought, fuck it, its only a couple of blocks. The place is huge! The inside is beautiful and so detailed. Some of the mosaics were just draw dropping, I didn't stay too long as I felt bad for not donating and there were people praying which I kind of felt like I was interrupting.
I saw the Empire State Building and snapped a pic but didn't go inside. It's pretty tall. I was reminded of the photo published in Life magazine by Robert C. Wiles in 1947. It's called 'The most beautiful suicide' and its quite a beautiful photo of something really quite tragic. Looking up at the height of the Empire State Building and remembering that photo was a little bit unnerving.
On a lighter note I then visited the most Rhiannon-esque tourist attraction, The New York Public Library. There was a free exhibition running called 'Treasures' so I naturally stopped by and saw some really cool things including and early draft of the 'Bill of Rights' and Charles' Dickens writing desk. So, bit of advice, make sure to stop by random things once in a while.
After the library I was in a good mood and the sun was shining so I headed off downtown to Greenwich Village in search of 23 Cornelia St, in other words, the place Taylor Swift rented where she and Joe Alwyn fell in love.
She herself talked about the apartment during an appearance on Elvis Duran's radio show in 2019: "It's about the things that took place and the memories that took place on that street […] all the nostalgia. Sometimes we bond our memories to the places that they happen. I wrote it alone and it ended up being one of my favourite songs."
So yeah, naturally I wanted to see the place where she fell in love. When is it my turn Taylor??
I finished my afternoon with a walk along the Hudson River before making the lengthy trek back to my hostel. Safe to say, I slept well.
First things first, look at this tiny escalator. Ridiculous!
Anyways, on to Day Two! Today was a full 7hr walking tour of New York. Now, you might be asking yourself "didn't she do that the day before - is she insane?" and the answer is yes. Of course. I'm just completely obsessed with walking. Today's tour though managed to fill in all the gaps I missed during my aimless wandering on Day One which was super fortunate. So, here is a pic of my tour group and let's get into it!
I started the morning again with an adventure to find overpriced Australian coffee. Addiction is a disease.
I then met my tour guide and group in Times Square (another moment of just awe - its really a pretty cool little spot). We then headed off at full speed and flashed through Radio City and NBC (where they film SNL), St. Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Centre (where the big ass tree goes at Christmas) and grand central terminal (big wow!)
We then got the subway to the financial district and Wall Street. I saw the New York Stock Exchange, learnt about the fact there was once an actual wall there, hence the name, and saw 'Fearless Girl' which has been moved to the New York Stock Exchange from her previous home with the 'Charging Bull' because artists are picky and apparently it went against what the bull represented.
After lunch on stone street, the first cobbled street in New York, was a trip on the Long Island Ferry where I saw the big lady with the torch (pretty cool).
After our return trip we went and found the US Customs House (shout out Hamilton + 'How to lose a guy in ten days') and then saw aforementioned 'Charging Bull' although we chose not to wait in the long line to rub its bronze balls for good luck. Apparently this is a VERY popular activity.
We then saw Alexander Hamilton's grave (luckily facing the street!) before walking over to the 9/11 memorial.
I have to say the memorial sight is really quite beautiful and touching. Just reading the names and thinking about what a truly momentous event it was is an experience worth having.
We then wandered into the 'Oculus' which is this gigantic white building shaped intentionally like a dove leaving a child's hands. After this was a trip up to the top of One World Trade Centre to the observation deck to get some incredible 360 degree views of the city.
I caught the subway back to my hostel and am now resting my poor feet and thinking about sleep. New York really does have so much to offer and I'm loving every minute.
I'll leave you with this physics masterpiece downstairs in Grand Central Terminal where if you face one corner you can hear someone speaking on the opposite side as clearly as if they were standing next to you. Science!
I'll catch you all in a couple more days with some new adventures.
Till next time,