After finishing camp in Rhode Island and having one last solemn drive down the old camp road, It hit me that the best summer of my life was coming to a close.
I was sat in my friends SUV though with 2 other internationals and our native driver and the 4 of us were determined to enjoy our final week together before returning to reality. Road trip to NYC time…
Our friend lived in Greenwich Connecticut so we drove from Camp to their house to drop the car off. We spent the night at hers enjoying a BBQ and the tree swing into the lake her house backed on to, Another perfect evening. We woke up around 9 and (rather excitedly) headed to the Big Apple. This was my first time going to NYC as I had flown in to Boston rather than JFK so didn’t know what to expect. We took a bus to the big city which took us to Port Authority Bus station on 8th Avenue which to my amazement was about 30 seconds away from time square. WOW! I remember the first things I saw were the huge TV screens advertising for Samsung, followed by the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co restaurant from Forrest Gump…Amazing!
Now we had to find the hostel to drop our bags off and keep exploring. We couldn’t check in until 3pm however we knew a bag store had been made available so we headed to the hostel. As soon as you have mastered the streets and avenues grid system (Avenues go North to South and Streets go East to West) you’ll find getting around NYC is a breeze. Although it was only a 5-10 minute walk to the hotel we decided to take the subway as all of our bags from the whole of the summer weighed a ton. We went in to the Time Sq subway station and each bought a weekly metro card recommended by our friend. A fantastic idea which I strongly advice anyone visiting for more than 48 hours consider as the subway system is so convenient and you could end up taking 10+rides a day so a weekly pass for about $25 is fantastic value.
We found the hotel without too much hassle and dropped our bags off.
By this time we were starting to get a bit hungry so it was Brunch o’Clock . We couldn’t decide between breakfast in the park (only a few blocks away) or checking out one of the street vendors for a Bagel or a Hotdog.
As we were leaving the hostel we where approached by some other people who turned out to also be camp counselors and were heading to the park for food and an explore so we decided to tag along with the 3 of them and headed to Central park.
The Park was amazing and oh my word it was HUGE! We sat on a huge rock overlooking part of the zoo ate our lunch and chatted the day away until it we realized it was already 2:30 and were meant to be meeting up at the hostel at 3pm. Whoops.
We made it back to the hostel with a few minutes to spare. 10 minutes later we met our guide and were presented with our keys and a packet of information with a really helpful Subway map.
The guide went through the planned itinerary, which sounded amazing and was really flexible so we could do some things with the group, or go off and do our own thing.
On our first night we went on a night time walking tour to Time Square which was even more impressive at night, from there we then walked to the Empire state building which was an unforgettable experience as Manhattan at night is the most beautiful skyline you could ever imagine.
The next morning we woke up early to have breakfast and try and meet some of the other camp people before the bus tour. We met some really nice people who had been at a camp in Pennsylvania they intended to walk all the way down Manhattan and then across Brooklyn Bridge rather than going on the bus tour and from what we heard back later they had a great walk although they warned it is a very long way, far far further than they had expected. We went on the open top tour bus which turned out to be a brilliant idea as we could stay on for the tour and then when we got to a site we wanted to spend a little more time at we could get off, this turned out to be a brilliant way to get around the city.
The evening plan was to go and watch a musical on Broadway with the group however when we got there we were seeing Matilda which the 4 of us had all seen before so we decided to go and see Jersey Boys instead since we didn’t want to completely miss out on the Broadway experience. It was AWESOME! Easily the best musical that any of us had seen and we were lucky enough to see the actually cast that won the TONY award.
The next two days and nights all blurred into one big sight seeing mission, including the Rockerfeller center, Radio City, The Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty however the standout memory has to be the Ground Zero memorial. We were all a bit nervous beforehand given how sad a situation 9/11 is however the memorial is such a beautiful and poignant memory to all those lost in the attack that you do form a very strong emotional bond to those you’re with and those you miss, a tear jerking and beautiful shrine but an experience I urge all to undertake when in NYC.
The final night we had a group party planned with all the other camp counselors staying at the hotel. Our small group of 4 went for a final NYC supper in the Hard Rock café before hand and met in the hostel lobby at 7pm. The Bar crawl was open to over and under 21s however obviously those under couldn’t drink. This never turned out to be a problem as everyone was in such high spirits that after the first bar O’Neill’s (which was of course an Irish karaoke bar) everyone had joined together in one big song and dance. We went to another 3 bars who’s names escape me and then our group being all over 21 left to go to a club with 2 of our NYC friends from camp. The club was called the Green room and was in central SoHo, it was so cool, the whole exterior had plants growing all over it (hence the name) and the interior was like a decadent spaceship. I’ll concede it was very pricey however it was a last night so who can you blame for having a good time? And trust me, We had far more than a ‘good’ time and danced until 2am when the week finally caught up with us and we unanimously voted for bedtime.
The final morning we had a lovely breakfast in a quaint café which was another pleasant surprise in the great metropolis of NYC you can still find a nice family owned small Café. The rest of the day was spent saying our good byes and leaving at staggered times throughout the day for our various planes home from JFK and Newark in Jersey.
BEST WEEK EVER!