Travel Journal: Finding My Feet in New York City

After my late night arrival and an airport sleepover I was ready to head out and explore the wonders of New York City. Let’s see if all those US films, sitcoms and musical hits are right. Is New York the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” ? Well, I had to go find out….

My first step was to make my way from JFK airport to my week’s accommodation which was located on 106th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s over an hour journey with multiple changes but it gives me an excellent introduction to to the New York subway!

My hostel is right next to Central Park, so after dropping off my luggage, I head straight out to explore the famous park. The best way to explore a new place is definitely on foot and I always do far more walking while abroad than I ever would at home and here in New York the fact that Central Park connects so many parts of the city is an even better excuse to walk.

Views from The Lake, Central Park
Views from The Lake, Central Park

Just from my first visit I very much fell in love with Central Park and I spent plenty more time thought the week wandering about and getting lost in it. As it was my first day in New York, my walk about is mainly a recon day so I explore far and wide to get my bearings.

I wander past the Rockerfeller Centre, famous for its Christmas illuminations every year but even during June there was some kind of garden display on show. After this, it was Grand Central Station. Even though just about every street in New York is a location for some film or TV scene, Grand Central Station has got to be one of the most memorable settings. From North by Northwest to Superman,  Men in Black to Friends with Benefits…all shot here in this iconic spot.

New York's Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Traditional ticket booths at Grand Central Station
I love the ticket booths

One of the most amusing things is that this is not actually Grand Central Station at all, it Grand Central Terminal and always has been but at some point people changed the name in everyday conversations and now it seems to have stuck.

Grand Central Terminal Sign
Grand Central Terminal

After thoroughly exploring Grand Central “Station” I headed back out on my general walk about and find a few more of the famous New York sites. Straight off is the Empire State Building and I spent a while wandering round the outside. I planned to head up to the top of the Empire State Building later in the week but just wandering around it was still quite exciting. I similarly stopped at Madison Square Gardens but again only spot the building and don’t head in for a tour, though it I’m sure it would have been quite interesting.

Just from my walks around the city I felt I had seen quite a lot just on my first day in New York but there was plenty planned for the week. Unfortunately, my hostel accommodation had a few issues including not having a bed despite me booking and paying in advance. They do eventually sort something out after finding someone in my dorm room has stayed longer than scheduled. After a long day I was ready for bed.