Bijgewerkt: 21 jun 2018
As you grow older it's not easy to assemble your friends to travel. Everyone's got their own 'grown-up' obligations. I have the greatest luck to be a part of a wonderful friendship. Since the age of ten (or something, it's been too long...) we've been together in what started as a basketball team coached by my dad (shoutout Dad !). A couple of them come and go and sometimes a new one gets added to the group but the core remains the same...
Our trip: 3 days - 4 nights
Goal: to discover New York and have a taste of the nightlife
D A Y Z E R O
After spending ninety quality minutes waiting to go through customs, we finally found ourselves on US soil. We swiped our credit cards for the first time and filled up our Metrocard and we were on our way to the Airbnb apartment.
We easily located it and it looked like our building was inhabited by Jews and Jews only. This, of course is not a problem; But it could become one if they knew one of the guys on our team had a similar name as Himmler, Dennis Imler.
After the unpacking and room arrangement we headed to Greenwich Village where we booked seats to enjoy a 10PM Comedy Cellar show. Because we lost so much time going through customs our only dinner option was a quick slice of pizza. "YUCK" is the only word to describe the pizza. A mixture of cheese, fat, oil, fat, tomato and dough.
The Comedy Cellar features up and coming comic talent and the team concluded that about 50% of the artists did well. Sadly our fatigue of the flights and the journey itself was a bit too overwhelming to really enjoy this evening as some of the guys were nodding through the show.
D A Y O N E
Early morning wasn't a problem today. The AC wasn't working due to unexpected high temperatures (33°C !!!) that surprised the whole building. That made everyone wake up just in time!
From our apartment we took a hike from Lower East Side through Chinatown all the way to Financial District while taking in the views of the Manhattan Bridge. We grabbed a cream cheese bagel for $1.75 and a $1.25 coffee and walked to the WTC Memorial. After taking a good look at the big symbolic holes in the ground we entered the 9/11 Museum. As someone who visited this place a second time, I highly advise you to book tickets in advance which let you skip the waiting lines outdoors.
Inside the museum the guys were taken their breath away by the severe impact 9/11 had on our society. The museum does a good job to respectfully show the stories behind the victims of that day. You get the story of Ladder 3, the firemen platoon who died after the impact of the plane on site. Going inside one of the symbolic towers you get the entire story. From before 9/11 to the minutes before impact, to the details of the impact, the reaction of the people, the first emergency calls, the reaction of the world, the first Live broadcasts, the sanctions to close down US airspace, ... It's just so much and it leaves you speechless inside the building.
As someone who already visited the museum I was the first one that finished the museum. Because of the ridiculously strong AC I almost froze to death while waiting 60 minutes before the other ones were ready!
Once outside we walked past Wallstreet and made our way to the Staten Island Ferry to have a look at the New York skyline and passing by Lady Liberty. After getting almost run down by enthusiastic tourists who were fighting for the best spot on the boat, we found ourselves alone in best position to take pictures of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. We're still not sure where the tourists went to be honest.
Protip! Make sure you get your skyline pictures on the trip to Staten Island. When you take the return trip to Manhattan, you're not allowed to be on the same position as we were on! So maybe you should be an irritating little FOK and run down others as well when boarding the ferry.
After leaving the Ferry we had a quick little drink and tried to hop on the next ferry, which we did not make, we managed to miss it by a minute or so...
Upon arrival in Manhattan we took a walk through Wallstreet, got some pictures with the famous Bull and entered Trump tower to get some soda's because it was DAMN HOT (28°C !!!) in the city!
We continued our walking habits and got a good look how the city was: Busy, smells like urine when the sun shines and a lot of weirdo's. We walked onto the Brooklyn Bridge and we kinda knew from the beginning it would be quite the walk. A gazillion pictures later, it wasn't that bad as time flies by while you're enjoying the views of Brooklyn Heights, the Manhattan Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge Architecture... all in the same moment while you're dodging lightning speed cyclists who are returning home from work. Quite the mission!
Big hike, big urge to pee afterwards! We found something that made us feel relieved and we asked a local law enforcer how we could make way to Williamsburg by subway. We had to skip our walk on the Brooklyn Heights and taking pictures in Dumbo would've been too time consuming as well.
We really felt the difference between the Manhattan chaos and the Williamsburg down-to-earth vibe. We entered Walter Foods which looked like hipster paradise when you entered.
After our meal we dropped in a latin bar and enjoyed some beers over guy talk. Nothing too late, not too drunk, just in time for a good night's sleep ;-)
D A Y T W O
Rise and shine, onwards to Chelsea, Manhattan where we planned a morning walk over the High Line. Because we were so close to the Chelsea Market we decided to buy our breakfast over there and take a little peek at the Markets. It's a big food market where you can eat the whole day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, sweets, doesn't matter. If you're close to the Chelsea Market, make sure you visit ;-)
After our bacon and cheese sandwich we were fueled up to take a walk on the High Line, an old railroad that goes between the big buildings of Manhattan and the coolest designed building of Manhattan as well.
At the end of the High Line we found the New York Citibikes. This means New Yorkers saw 8 dudes racing around on little bikes. First thing we passed on our bikes? Times Square! Nothing like getting used to the bike than making your way down the most busiest places on Earth. We kept enjoying our rides until the beginning of Central Park. Had a quick pitstop, did some walking, picked up a bike and went onwards to the Guggenheim Museum for another pitstop.
We spent the whole afternoon riding (or racing) our bikes through Central Park and had a quick pitstop in the Museum of Natural History as well. After that we continued riding the bikes back to the proximity of Times Square so we could get to dinner at Carmine's.
Carmine's is an American "Italian" restaurant where you share food plates like family. The concept is good and the food is good as well but we should've thought twice while booking a restaurant nearby Times Squares. The waiting line was huge even though we made a reservation, the bar was really expensive and there were just too many people in the restaurant. After we got our table, one of our guys spilled a bottle of wine on our neighbors table just because everything was so packed!
We made sure our guy felt guilty though!
Our tummy's were full and we decided to walk through Times Square and soak in all the lights and chaos the place has to offer.
We headed home, went to the liquor store, got some drinks in and discovered the local party scene. Now, I don't remember the names of venues we went to but it was in Lower East Side and after that we took a taxi to the Mean Fiddler. All in all, it was a good night :)
D A Y T H R E E
Three hours of sleep went by way too fast and I was going to Dunkin' Donuts to grab 36 donuts and a big jug of coffee. Nothing like diabetes to forget about your alcohol problems right!?
No one really liked the American Breakfast and after a slow morning we picked ourselves up and took our citibikes for a last ride to 34th Street Madison Square Garden where we had an arena tour. Our tourguide his name was Bryan and Bryan was a little cuckoo in the nest. The tour isn't that special and I don't really recommend anyone doing it.
Shopping! If you're in New York City, you gotta do some shopping right? So that's how we spent our Sunday afternoon. Some had lists of their girlfriend they had to get so we enjoyed hopping in and out of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Avenue stores.
Like everything in New York, things take more time than you plan for, so after we were done shopping it was 8PM and we chose for a quick dinner option. Chicken Club Sandwich and Fish and Chips and we were on to our apartment to drop our shopping bags.
Fatigue got to us when we arrived at the apartment, but nothing a quick shower can't fix and we took a taxi to a rooftop bar. The mood was good and we took the elevator to the top floor of the hotel but eight dudes together... they don't get in! Not in Antwerp, not in Manhattan.
Nick & Popo were too tired and took taxi's home and the other ones managed to find another bar where they could feast their eyes on the New York Skyline.
D A Y R E T U R N
We slept in and took all the time in the world to pack our bags and clean the apartment. Because our Airbnb host couldn't storage our bags until we had to leave to the airport so we used Vertoe to find a storage place close to the subway. Easy to use, not that expensive, I really recommend this service if you're in the same position.
We had our first healthy meal at Bluestone Lane for a Hummus toast, Avocado toast and a Chicken Sandwich. The thing that makes Bluestone special is their great, great coffee. It tastes amazing, especially if you grab those morning watery coffees in New York.
Our last hours in Manhattan were spent buying new sneakers and eating a Belgian Waffle (Yeah, I know...) and having a conversation in Bryant Park looking back on one of the fastest weekends ever...
Can't wait for the next brotrip together...
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