NYC: the city that never sleeps

by WouterVertogen

The Big Apple. Gosh, I’ve had to wait a long time before I finally travelled to the capital of the world! I had been to Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Rome but nothing prepared me for New York City’s merciless tempo. They say New York is the city that never sleeps… well let me tell you, our trip didn’t include much of it! 

Coming to NYC together with my boyfriend was a truly wonderful and luxurious experience. Luxurious in the sense of me not needing a map, guide or city pocketbook. See Evan, my boyfriend, has spent four years living in the city while studying at The Juilliard School. He’d ask where I wanted to go and off we went. I trusted him blindly. He knew exactly where he was going and that luckily saved us a lot of time on figuring out directions and the subway system. But because Evan is so familiar with the city, we did not only have the highlights to visit, we also had to make sure we’d meet his friends and one of mine as well.  So, you can imagine that me coming to New York for the first time was going to be a tight schedule. 

When you travel to New York, it is smart to make an overview of all the places and activities you want to visit and do before you actually get there. After you’ve made your list, you should check out what is located where. New York is an immensely large city and hopping on a subway from uptown to downtown can cost you easily 40 minutes. Therefor the clever thing to do is to choose one specific area of the city per day or per part of the day. That’s exactly what we did, and we came well prepared! 

To me the greatest thing about large American cities is the diversity of cultures. But that’s not only the case of NYC! The great thing about New York is that every part of the city has its own specific vibe. From the classy shops on the Upper East Side to the trendy breweries in Brooklyn. From the gay clubs in Hell’s Kitchen to the fancy skyscrapers around Wall Street. New York City truly has it all. When you want to switch up the vibe you only need to jump on a subway and move up or down a few blocks. As long as you do your homework on the city, it’s really easy!

I’m a sucker for history and art, but also for fashion and great architecture. You can imagine, I simply didn’t know where to look! At one point we just took a subway from downtown to uptown and kept hopping on and off, we didn’t need that cliché “hop on hop off bus”. At each stop we went outside just to take a peak and see places like: Grand Central Station, The Rockefeller Center or the Flatiron Building. There wasn’t so much time to spend hours on each destination, so we sped up the tempo. For a true New Yorker, we were probably still too slow though!

As if being in New York City for the first time wasn’t enough, it also happened to be World Pride at the exact time we were in the city. The entire city was literally one big rainbow! Evan and I had to go clubbing (obviously!) but that wasn’t an excuse to sleep in. No! There were a couple of nights where we came home around 4am and were up and running by 10am that same morning. I guess now you finally understand why our trip didn’t include many sleeping hours. 

It was June 28th in 1969 when Pride was born at the famous Stonewall Bar in Greenwich Village. Being able to enter that bar 50 years later was beyond special and gave me such a deeper understanding of our community’s history. 

I feel that because the city was celebrating Pride, my first-time NYC was even greater. I felt so welcomed by the city and it was just the right place to be at the right time. On top of that, Evan and I also celebrated our 2nd anniversary together during our visit. It couldn’t be more perfect, to celebrate our relationship during World Pride in New York City. I mean come on! 

Unfortunately, we had to miss the main event as we booked our flights so long in advance, we didn’t even realize it was going to be world pride week! Luckily, that didn’t take much away from our great experience. 

My first time in New York is something I’ll never forget. I’ll definitely write a post about my favorite places and other recommendations, with the help of Evan of course! We stayed in New York for 5 days as it was only a small part of our entire trip, which was a total of 3 weeks. Of course, 5 days wasn’t enough to explore all of New York, but it was enough to get a good first taste and left me hungry for more! 

I shall return!

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