In New York (1)

New York is one of the must go of US. But as my last stop, I was just broke and it ruined my enthusiasm to visit this city. Buuuuut, when you are an adventurer lack of money is not a problem. In fact low cost trips exist and
sometimes are the best. You just have to follow your instinct.

“In New York!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York!
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it from New York”


I had this song of Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys in mind the day before leaving DC. I was impatient to reach this city. The trip form DC to New York lasted 4h30 min; 4h30 where I enjoyed once again the beautiful view. In the Greyhound bus I still had the song in mind. I finally put my headphone and listened the
song in repeat mode. Then I went to read the lyrics trying to understand the text. What was the song saying about New York??

I was definitely in New York mood.

When we arrived at Penn station I started to feel very insecure. Pen Station is the busiest station in New York with more than 630 000 passengers per weekday; served by many trains, bus and metro. Of course the station was crowded, and it reminded me some metros stations in Paris in busy days, in a worst level. Penn station was full of people and all kind of persons. I started asking myself if this New York trip was a good idea. We wanted to take a metro map but thinking about it, it was a very hot day, the station was crowded, it would be a complete disaster. Heat+Metro+Crowd = Hell. Just avoid if you can.

Then we decided to go out walk and if it is possible take the bus. But then again outside was croooooowded! Bus??? The bus is even not moving!! One option! Walk!

New York, Here we are!

The challenge was to visit New York in a half day. Yes I knoooow, it’s too short!

So we first went to store our luggage in a luggage storage. There is lot of luggage storage around Penn station and it is a real good deal. Just imagine yourself… walking up…walking down… visiting a city… with a heavy suitcase… or a heavy backpack….you’ll hate yourself 😒 😒. To visit a city you’ll better being light : no luggage, just hands in pockets, even no handbag for ladies if it is possible and flat shoes , so you can focus on what you see.

When we asked to the lady at the luggage storage what we could do in New York, she asked back for how long we were here. And the she laughed so hard when we answered.

– What?? Usually people come for 3 days or a week… What do you expect to do in a day??

She gave us a list of things to do, she talked about restaurants in some town where you just have to walk and follow the smell of the food, enter a restaurant and enjoy the best food you’ve ever tasted.

In New York Buildings are so high that streets seem narrow. Street was also very crowded. So many persons in one day and one place. Taking a photo without strangers inside was just impossible and actually it gives to the shoot something special. Buildings with huge screens and advertising everywhere. I couldn’t detach my eyes. Actually you walk in the street with eyes up and let your body follow the crowd. It is like the crowd carry you and all you have to do is watching.

New York City consists of five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan. Manhattan is the heart of New York City, home to the most famous attractions such as Times Square, Wall Street,Central Park …, museums etc.

When one is a movie addict, most of the names are familiar; it’s just amazing walking around and seeing in real life the magnitude of some of these sites.Heading to Time Square, I could not say how many times we were intercepted by the tour salesman. Being suspicious in nature, I suspected trickery. At a busy junction, a Nigerian couple managed to take a whole 10 minutes of our time, time we would have taken exploring the beckoning bright lights and performers and…., selling us this One in a life time deal to tour the city of New York, just for us 😱. If they were enough observers, they would understand that I listened more out of l curiosity; they could not convince me in the street, in a strange city to buy circuit tickets, as attractive as it seemed. In good trade, they extolled the merits of this turn, seemingly to give good deals, they were telling us they were passing a onetime favour to fellow African, yes! It was our lucky day and that the coupon was valid only today 😱😂😂😂😂 What next? Finally, we tell them that the tour did not interest us and we had other plans in mind.

Once in Times Square, it took me a few seconds to regain my senses. Whoa! It is Beyond the imaginable. I always thought that the legendary Time Square was a cinematic myth as it seemed unreal. It is a place rich in history, a place of celebration, an entertainment venue. On site I still wondered if I was dreaming… big screens, bright and dazzling, Joyous excitement, endless queues for access to shows, street entertainments of all sorts…. Time square is THE Manhattan Cultural temple with the Theater District and famous Broadway shows; We met real life characters that you can take pictures. In a nutshell, there is so much to do and see and for all budgets. Of course a day wouldn’t be sufficient to know and understand everything contained in this place. I merely contemplate. Now I understood why Time Square was also called the center of the universe, the crossroads of the world, and the heart of the world. It was more than that.

We attended a small street show. A group of young shirtless acrobats, Hype men and dancers attracting a sizeable crowd forming a small circle and looking for volunteers to join the act, be a part of the act; you had to be brave, very brave, trust them and once the center no questions, No moving … terrifying!The first volunteer was a young boy of around 8 years (I wondered, if he was a part of the act). One by one, the acrobats took turns to sprint and flip-jump over his head. Yes! Not just jump…but a front flip over the lads head. Then a second volunteer arrives, a boy around 13 years (I think this is the brother of the first), this time they front flip over both heads, then double front flip from one after the other with a 1m distance between the 2 boys.What is funny is their theatrics to prolong the suspense, holding the crowd. We all wondered what they would do next and when. They came and went, taking a person in the crowd, lining them at the center in a line, sprint towards them all under techno music pumping up the tension, only to halt just before the first person. It was funny, engaging and captivating. From Two people lined back to back at the center they went to 7, arranged from tallest to shortest: a man around fifty years, three young men, a young woman and two boys (I think it was the son of the lady). The dancers kept engaging the crowd in comedic talk, psyching up the crowd going back to the center volunteers to ask them again and again if they were brave enough to what was going to happen; otherwise it was time to chicken out. The crowd was growing larger, more and more excited, cameras and camera equipment were ready to capture the Scare show. Then they introduced themselves, explained that they were young artists from Bronx and we had to give coins to see more … 😂😂😁. From where we were, totally captivated, our curiosity was at its height, we were like hypnotized! The coins, notes and tokens were coming out of every pocket, why wait until then and not see the outcome?

Are you dying to know the end? Show me the token and I’ll tell you all.

Seriously, I saw the time pass before this infinite show, I did not have 3 days to visit New York, I had a flight to catch in a few hours, I grew impatient, it would soon be dark. It was technically impossible to front flip over the 7 heads lined up together, right??

Continuing our tour, we managed to get ourselves to the New-York Harbor. We stood back a few minutes to admire the port entrance before we decide to enter. At the entrance, we met a police officer on his smoke break. We established a small conversation with him which proved God sent as he gave us what I would regard as the best of New York Deals.

– Take the Staten Island Ferry, it is free. On the way out, stand on the right and on the way back, keep left. I think the next departure is in 1 minute, if you’re fast enough you can take it.

Bolt mode activated!!

I tell you, we could see the sun was about to set. We wanted to enjoy the last rays of the sun to see something otherwise the crossing would have been for nothing. I would confess later that the thank you that we had formulated for the officer was not up to the information he had given us.We made a worthy sprint, Usain Bolt style, to arrive on time at the ferry boarding platform, it was just funny, as if we had a lion on our heels 😂😂😂😂. And narrowly we were there!

The Staten Island Ferry connects Manhattan to Staten Island. The journey takes about 25 minutes, one way. Once the ferry left Manhattan behind us, in front of us was the Staten Island, to the right the majestic Statue of Liberty and New Jersey and to the far left Brooklyn and the impressive Brooklyn Bridge, all on the emerald blue plane catcher, The Hudson River. What more? Whether you sit at the front, rear, left or right the view is just wonderful, especially since we were also witnessing the sunset.I found it more interesting than some tours cruises where the piercing voice of the guide and commentaries spoil your serenity moment , enjoying the out of this world views.

Looking back toward the receding Manhattan, dusk was coming fast, I was happy and excited, this kind of view and this is a unique experience. My thankful heart went back to policeman  ! I wanted to give him a big hug but he was not there.Unlike on my arrival, I was now soothed, my NY craving satiated; the New York visit could stop there. I would be good for life…But NY is a dream come true there was more…….


A. Adventurer & L. Umbanyak

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