New York City

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Between my flight and conference, I still managed to get some time for sightseeing. Mostly it required me getting up at 5 am, but it was worth it! Seeing Madame Liberty with my own eyes was an amazing experience. I did not manage to get to the crown, as this trips are booked few months in advance. Yet I believe that the best view You can get is the one above – from the cruise with both Statue of Livery and Manhattan on one picture 🙂 When You take a boat to Statue of Liberty You cannot miss Ellis Island. This is a huge part of American history. Ellis Island is where in the early days all immigrants landed and right now it is filled with memories and stories up until present day.

After failing a citizenship test (still some learning ahead) I returned to Manhattan. I decided to walk around – see a crowd around Charging Bull, buy coffee on Wall Street, and sooner than I realized I’ve ended up at 9/11 memorial place. Next to this place of reflection I was surprised by a new World Trade Center, which looks like an alien ship that just landed in the middle of New York City (like in every alien-invasion movie).

Then I’ve continued my walk crossing next to Jacob Wrey Mould Fountain and New York City Hall, which is heavily secured. Then I’ve walked towards the Brooklyn Bridge in a huge crowd. Still, the experience was a unique one – with the bridge shaking and roaring from the cars passing through it. I must definitely see it from the other side as well.

On the next day, I found a moment to enter a Central Park. The weather cooperated with my plan and I was able to walk the park in the morning sun with a clear, blue sky. It was a lovely relief from the crowded streets and overwhelming skyscrapers.

Then after the conference ended I still had some time before my flight. So I’ve walked through the Rockefeller Center with the golden statue of Prometheus and the Channel Gardens ended with the Uraeus” statue. It was hard to turn away from this monument, as it is absolutely astonishing. But when I did I found Saint Patric’s Cathedral. It is this weird moment when in the most cities this cathedrals towers would be seen from far away. But here You could easily miss it, as it is surrounded by even bigger skyscrapers. It looks out of place…

Lessons learned

This trip was, in fact, the second trip I’ve planned myself (except for flights – they were arranged by my amazing friends from Objectivity). So I would like to share some thoughts about what I’ve learned.

Connecting flight time – I thought that 1 hour is enough to change the flight. Please don’t do this mistake. 30 minutes of delay on start, some of it caught up in the air, but then 45 minutes of driving through the airport… This is how I’ve ended up with 13 minutes to make it for my plane to New York. Next flight – on the next day. I’ve managed to run, like I have never run in my life, and made it. But another one hour of the flight I was fighting for my breath.

Prepare everything in advance – I always try to plan everything, including the public transportation I can use at my destination. But this time I did not have everything set up with my Airbnb, so I planned to catch up on JFK when I connected to WiFi. Well – no WiFi on JFK. And SIM card with the internet access cost at least 50$. Costly overlook for me.

Metro card – this is something I did well. I’ve checked the prices and rules of public transportation in New York in advance. So I was able to search for discounts and knew what to do after I left the Air Train from JFK. Only one thing confused me – So You enter the Air Train without paying, but need to pay at the exit where You can print the Metro Card.

Be nice – works like a charm every single time. Often people react in rudeness when facing a stressful situation, which makes everyone around less eager to help them. So every time something unexpected is happening, or something I do not like, I still force myself to stay calm and nice towards other people, and yet firm and specific that makes them listen. Like a kid kicking Your chair in 9-hour flight 🙂

Travel socks – I decided to try them for the first time. Bought them in Decathlon and I wore them both ways. When flying back my legs still swell a bit, yet not as much as I remember they used to. I think it was money well spent and I will continue flying (or driving a long distance on the bus) with them.

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