April 23, 2011

New York is a City of Dreams

I touched down in New York today at 5pm at Newark International Airport. I've never been to NYC before, so you can imagine how jittery I was. But I arrived safely, using the NJ Transit railway that took me from the Newark station to New York Penn Station.

I am staying at the Aloft Harlem Hotel that is located at the Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 125th Street in Uptown. I originally planned to stay at New Jersey and commute easily by train but I booked very late and it was a sudden decision of mine to see NYC finally. Most of the decent hotels in New Jersey was completely booked out, leaving me with a handful of choices to stay either at Hoboken or Manhatten. I was led to read about Aloft Harlem, a hotel that is part of the Starwood Hotels. I did too much research about the Harlem area that led to me feeling quite nervous about it's location. But after a phone call with the helpful Hotel reception, they assured me that the location is completely safe.

For the price and the quality of the rooms, I must say that this is a great steal if you want to see New York without having to be on the New Jersey side. The hotel was only opened in Dec 2010, so everything is in tiptop condition. Huge TV screens, clean bathrooms, free wi-fi and art-deco design, there is really nothing that I can criticise the hotel on. If you're a Starwood Preferred Guest (free registration online), you can take advantage of 3 nights for the price of 2 up until Dec 2011. For the prices of downtown NY hotels with skyrocket hotel prices ranging from US$400-500 per night, Aloft Harlem ended up costing me $190 per night.

An easy 5 minute stroll will take you to the subway on the 125th street that leads you directly to Columbus Square @ 59th Street. And if you take another 10 minutes walk from 8th avenue to 5th avenue, that's where the shopping bonanza will begin (and that's where I will be on today!). The D express trains zips through and I'm in midtown NY in a flat 5 minutes.

But since I arrived fairly late and I was getting symptoms of jetlag, I decided to play safe and take a 2 hour stroll. Where else would I go first than Times Square? I walked from Columbus Square @ 59th street to Times Square @ 42 street. The whole Manhatten area (uptown & downtown) is organised by parallel street numbers and avenue numbers. The main buzz of the city is located below the 59th street and Central Park starts from 59th upwards.

Anyway, it was really straightforward that I didn't really need to reference to a map. Nobody here takes traffic lights seriously, so I would be following a crowd totally dazzled by lights, and realise only half way that I'm walking through a red pedestrian light!

In order to experience Times Square properly, you must be there in person. I cannot describe in words how beautiful everything was. The atmosphere was electrifying with colours filtering the sky with dazzling lights. I was completely and utterly mesmerised. I have never seen and felt anything so amazing in my life. I can imagine spending hours and hours in the square just soaking in the exhilirating feeling of being there finally... in the big apple.

As a beautyholic, I had to see what a US drugstore looked like. I was in heaven just seeing the prices and the mass array of awesome drugstore products. I feel completely envious of my US readers because of the feast that rest on the eyes. I just couldn't choose what I wanted. Can you believe I only walked with just this number of products today? I simply couldn't decide what I wanted to get! I was stunned on my tracks like as if I won a lottery!!!!

So this is Day 1 of New York City. Don't expect to see any pictures of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was a trip completely unprepared for and I didn't realise that getting Crowne passes to see the beautiful green lady isolated in a small little island off the coast of New York was something I needed to prepare for months ahead.

New York City is just simply a m a z i n g!


Miaka said...

I can imagine u hauling in the drugstore over the next few days!! How long is your NYC trip?

CAMILLA said...

i always wanted to visit new york
i hope someday.. i can be there too...

the city of dreams

Y. said...

I'm fm M'sia and I hear that it is rather troublesome to get the visa to visit the US, S'porean's are exempted from this I guess. Interviews, documents, fees etc.

I wld love to visit New York....someday :)

Tracy said...

@Miaka: You guessed right! I am weak when it comes to resisting US makeup!

@Camilla: It's a beautiful city and lots of character. I hope to go back again. It's impossible to see the whole place in just a mere 3 days.

@Y.: I'm not sure who are exempted from the US visa, but I had to apply for ESTA online to go through US customs. The US is getting stricter and stricter about immigration laws, but only because they have experienced 9-11.

everbluec said...

I always thought why US Daytime pictures always look abit soft and more towards the warm tones.

(Did they edit the pics too much or so??) But looking at your pics... made me realised that, it might be the shades of their skintones/hair colors and building shades which made the pics look soft (lolx)

OOh, you got the wet and Wild palette!

Jessy said...

i always wanted to go to new york~~~when the weather is good maybe me and the hubby will go on a little roadtrip, but we are still deciding b/w NYC or Washington DC~~~nevertheless it seemed that u had fun~~~~

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