4Change Energy’s very own, Aidin Belganeh, took her first, and certainly not last, trip to the one and only New York City. Read her guest blog on how the Big Apple defied her expectations all while meeting every single one.
It’s always been a dream of mine to visit New York and to (one day) live there and I finally took the trip for the first time. I was there one night a few years ago, but that really didn’t count so it was my first time in the big apple and I loved it. When you think of New York, you imagine yellow cabs, busy people walking fast in the streets or taking the train, traffic, a lot of lights and, well, a lot of energy. I must say a lot of these are true, but the city has this charm and beauty that I haven’t seen anywhere else. When I landed I had to take a shuttle from the airport to an area where my Uber could pick me up. As soon as I landed and got on the dirty, old looking bus with lots of other people either traveling from other places or coming back home, I felt the energy and beauty of the city. I couldn’t believe I had finally made it to New York! There was this moment in the bus as we traveled a few blocks seeing all the old and beautiful architecture of the city, I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. I then hopped in my Uber and began the ride to where I would be staying. It took so long and after a countless amount of honking, I had arrived at my hotel, Peninsula, which is at the intersection of the 5th avenue and 55th street.
Immediately after grabbing some food (the first thing I had that day aside from my Starbucks coffee was a glass of wine but hey it was my vacation) I headed out for a walk on 5th avenue. It was a Thursday afternoon, and the streets were crowded with people walking quickly, mostly on their phones or with a group of friends. I live downtown in Dallas, so I’m used to walking and feeling the city’s energy, but New York was on another level, in a good way. People were crossing the streets even when the walking signs were not on, so cars had to either stop and yell at them or honk to get through the lights. At first, I was so diligent about the walking lights, but towards the end of my trip, I was side-by-side with those New Yorkers and pushing them aside to get through! You can walk on the streets naked and no one would even notice. New Yorkers have seen it all, so it takes a lot to grab one’s attention, especially when they’re trying to get somewhere. I think that’s what I liked the most about the city. People are efficient and determined to get to their destinations. They understand that time is limited, and they try to not waste any of it with silly matters. So, you barely see the locals get distracted or stop in the middle of the street just so they can answer a text, yes I’m throwing some shade at Dallas’ Uptown right here! 😊
After a little walk and grabbing another Starbucks, there was one at just about every corner, I walked towards 70th street which is where my school, New York School of Interior Design, is located. It was my first time there and the building was beautiful with a lot of history. The school is more than 100 years old! It was awesome to witness its character and charm and I felt closer to my school now that I was there. I met with one of my classmates which I had met Online, and we had a great chat and a couple of drinks. I, of course, had to order a Manhattan! After that I walked back to 55th street to meet another friend. That’s one other thing I loved about New York. It’s so easy to walk around and I learned how to read maps and navigate around the city, so by end of it I didn’t even need a GPS or my phone to find my way around. We went to Gallaghers for some amazing steak, then to Chelsea for coffee, and finally to Time Square and Washington Square Park. I loved the charm and coziness of Chelsea. I think that was one of my favorite places in Manhattan. We took the train and I bought my first train pass which was a cool moment!
On Friday, I took a tour of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) which was displaying the exhibition of Trasila do Amaral and some other great artists. Amaral brought abstract art to Brazil and her work is being exhibited for the first time in North America at the MoMA. I loved her art and I encourage everyone to check it out if the opportunity comes around. So by now you’re probably wondering, when am I going to talk about New York style pizza? Well, for lunch I went to the Prince St. Pizza Shop in SOHO. It was the best pizza I’ve had in a long time and waiting in the long line was totally worth it. After that it started raining really hard, so I walked to a Whole Foods store nearby (well 20 mins away, but that’s nothing in NYC) and then I took an Uber back to my hotel. I had a little hot tea and stayed at my hotel for the rest of the night. However, I did go to the roof top bar at Peninsula for a glass of Jameson on the rocks!
Saturday, I only had half a day so I got up early and I went to the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked all the way from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The bridge was beautiful and the view from every single corner of the walk was breathtaking. It was so crowded, but I didn’t care because I was really living in the moment, connecting with the beautiful architecture, the city, and myself. I had some time to clear my mind and really breathe, despite having many people around me. I think that was one of my top 3 moments of my NYC trip! After that I walked around the Brooklyn Bridge, had lunch at Café River, and spent a little time watching the Manhattan ferries and the Statue of Liberty from a distance.
They say there is no other place like New York and I must say, I agree. It’s loud, dominant, rude, energetic yet so charming and beautiful.
Here are my three tips if you decide to travel around:
- Walk everywhere or take the train:
Don’t be afraid to walk around and learn the map. It’s so easy to navigate around because streets are numbered so if you know your destination, it’s so easy to figure out how to get there. One of my most favorite things from this trip was walking around, witnessing the crowd and enjoying the energy of the city.
- Go during the week, but stay for the weekend:
The energy of the city during the week is just not comparable with what I saw on the weekend. On Thursday and Friday, streets were packed and there was so much to do. I think I liked the city better on the weekday, while it is much less crowded than the weekends.
- Be like a local:
I think one of the things I promised myself before going there was that I would just enjoy the city and not pressure myself into going to as many places as possible just to say I went. Some things you have to see, like the Brooklyn Bridge, but I liked that I had left my Friday open to just walk around. I went to a local coffeeshop for breakfast and listened to the conversations of some of the people there. It was interesting!! Just walk around and explore the city. It’s so beautiful, you won’t get bored.
Aidin moved to the United States with her family at a young age. Her passion for consumer behavior and advertising directed her to get a BBA in Marketing & Advertising from Southern Methodist University. Since then, Aidin has worked at agencies and in-house marketing teams as the digital strategist with focus on user web experience and analytics. Aidin loves interior design, cooking, working out and living a healthy and inspired life. She loves to inspire people to follow their hearts and work hard on making their dreams come true.