What I learned in NYC (other than computer nerd stuff...):
- If you see a standing puddle in the street and it hasn't been raining, hold your breath around it and for the love of feet not rotting off, do NOT step in it. That mess is FOUL.
- Subways. They go in different directions, much like interstates. They are a bit confusing,kind of like the beltline in Raleigh. Two words: Uptown and Downtown. Learn what direction those go, and your good.
- Google Maps is your friend. Especially if your carrying a saweet Android powered phone like I am now. Turn on the GPS on that puppy, and open Google Maps. "MY location" oh there you are! Type in where you want to go, and press the "Mass Transit" button. It will tell you where to walk, and then what subway to take. Awesomeness. Subway train stop service (while you are on it) because some moron did something suspicious in a station ahead? Hop off at the next station and open Google Maps. Presto! Tells you which other subway to take to get to where your going. Oh and PS: Iphones don't get service at all in the subway stations. Thank you Verizon. One more reason why I will never leave you. Droid does.
- Another thing about sub stations....most platforms have multiple exits, that will bring you out on different streets. Pay attention to what way your entered. Otherwise, you will end up by the water, 6 blocks from where you should be. I'm just saying....
- NYC pizza...its not all equal.
- Streets run East-West and Avenues run North-South. Walking a block on a street is about 3x longer than a block on an Avenue. I don't know why.
- The view from the top of Rockefeller Center is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G and is a classier experience than going to the Empire State Building. I did one during the day and one at night. Highly recommend that. But it will be chilly and WINDY up there at night. Bring a sweater or shiver for hours afterwards!
- Photography 101:Do not use your flash on top of the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Plaza at night. Just don't.
- Ride the Staten Island Ferry and walk the Brooklyn Bridge. These were two of my favorite things, and both were FREE.
- The Brooklyn Bridge has a lane for walking, and a lane for biking. Stay in the appropriate lane when you are walking, or grouchy old men on bikes will snarl at you audibly. People also have bells on their bike, the kind that go "ka-ching, ka-ching" and the more polite riders will just ring their bell at you. Some bikers ride crazy fast and will mow you down if you are walking across the bike lane to get a picture from the edge. Beware!
- Walk. A lot. You will see stuff you didn't even know about. The architecture EVERYWHERE is amazing, and there is lots to see.
- Riding the subway is not scary. Riding in a cab, can be.
- Laguardia airport is seriously serious about security. Prepare to feel a little bit violated when you are done.
- Eat at local places. The food is so good! If it looks like a dive, but there is a line out the door, go in!
- Macy's is HUGE!! And crowded.
My New York experience did not include two shiny twin towers in lower Manhattan. But it did include visiting the site where they once stood. Visiting the site of the World Trade Center is humbling, more so than I was expecting. Seeing the "Tribute in Light" spotlights project into the sky from the WTC site, is even more humbling (I never got a picture of this. They only shine for short while in the evenings leading up to September 11, as they test the lights, but I did see them two times).And while it was very sad to see the site where those two magnificent towers once stood, and remember that awful day, I don't think I have ever been more proud to be an American. Rebuilding is going strong, and the new 1 World Trade Center is rising high into the sky already. In the footprints, sunken deep into the earth, in the foundations of the Twin Towers, two reflecting pools are visibly being constructed, as part of the memorial that will be a part of the new WTC site.
Shockingly, I took a whole bunch of pictures during my time in New York. If you would like to check them out, you can visit the album here: