I wanted to wake up in the city that doesn’t sleep. It was up to me: New York, New York. My first ever solo travel by plane where I couldn’t use my car to drive back home or navigate a few circles around the block. No security blankets. Just a downloaded Google map and extensive research of the subway system.
“You can do this,” I told myself with my anxiety on maximum. Some of my greatest fears have always included public transportation, being mugged of my cell phone while I’m alone, and getting lost. All three of these were strong potential situations for me, but I knew the only way to get over it was to conquer it. I walked with conviction through the airport terminal. Purchased a Metro Card like I had done it 100 times before. Sure enough, I boarded the wrong train, and though I was headed to Manhattan, I was not headed to the right stop. My detour ultimately led me just a few blocks out of the way, and right past Radio City Music Hall. I made it to my hotel safely and ventured out again for a late night dessert at Momofuku. Let me tell you, if you are walking like you know where you are going to Momofuku Milk Bar Midtown, then you will end up walking right past it, circle the block in an attempt to not let people see you’re doubling back, and then walk past it again. The sign is tiny, where I expected to see flashing lights saying GREAT TREATS HERE!
I redeemed myself day two with a successfully navigated trip to Chelsea Market and down a shifty looking hallway to a taco shop serving up great ceviche. No lines or hype like the lobster place or the Asian hot spots. With a full belly, I slipped out the back door and right onto the streets to take a walk down the High Line. It was extremely warm and borderline hot, but the view was gorgeous, and the rich foliage provided a few shady spots to cool off.
I successfully navigated once again to Battery Park, and after a glass of champagne and a gaze at the Statue of Liberty, I made my way towards Wall Street. Without realizing it, I came across the Charging Bull installation, and better yet, the Fearless Girl. This is where my lost became found. It was so unbelievably inspiring to see that little body staring down the bull. Girls begged their parents to take photos standing next to her with their hands on their hips, chest strong, and feet planted firmly in the ground. My anxieties started running down into the gutters. I was okay. Sure, I had gotten lost and frustrated, but I was physically safe and kept going on my travels. I can do this.
I decided it was time for a reward, and Mother of Pearl knew just the kind of icy, passion fruit, and bourbon beverage to cool me off- complete with a shark-induced blood fest. As darkness began to approach, I had to squeeze in a stop to Otto’s Shrunken Head, which has all of the classic dive elements I love in a tiki bar.
Times Square was overwhelming at best, and thankfully, I could tuck away into the Renaissance Hotel’s bar and lounge for dinner and a quiet view of the hustle and bustle. Brendon Urie was starring in Kinky Boots, and as a faithful pop punk fan, you know I had to park it in a second row seat to weep over the beauty that is Brendon’s voice (and face). To no surprise, he was stellar, and well worth the tickets. I now firmly believe that he should perform in heels at all times.
For Sunday brunch, I had to satisfy my inner Serena van der Woodsen. The Plaza Hotel is the quintessential opulent New York destination, and it did not disappoint. I had to dodge my way through a Puerto Rican Pride Parade to enter the front steps, but inside I was greeted by exuberant flower displays and sparkling chandeliers. A Hemingway Daiquiri and pâté sounded like a balanced brunch to me. After all, I had found myself in New York and dining at the Plaza.