Dear reader, I am pleased to inform you that I am drafting this post in New York City from a comfy chair in my friend Molly's dining room. I'm staying with her in Brooklyn for 5 nights before flying on to France. It's great spending time with my far-flung friend and seeing a little more of this amazing city. I visited another friend in Upper East Side Manhattan in 2010 and saw most of the things you're supposed to see in New York, but I never made it more than halfway across the bridge to Brooklyn. Until now!
Molly suggested taking the Staten Island Ferry on my first afternoon (it's free!) to see the Statue of Liberty and get a cool ocean breeze.
I left Portland on Monday night with my backpack, purse, and a 64-pound suitcase carrying everything I deemed necessary for a year of life abroad. I planned to stow that suitcase at JFK Airport and return for it 5 days later on my continuing flight to France, but apparently the JFK employees who know things don't arrive until after 5:30 AM, which is when I found myself lumbering around the airport with more than half my weight in luggage and less than half my usual hours of sleep. After an hour-long back-and-forth journey between the various terminals (by train) looking for the mythical land of Bag Storage, I gave up and decided to take my chances with the subway system.
9/11 Memorial at sunset.
Café Dada was incredible!), and then going off to do touristy NY things while she works. I rode the subway to Manhattan yesterday and walked through Central Park to the American Natural History Museum. The day before, I spent 4 hours in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I now have 14 nasty mosquito bites, but I think it was worth it. The BBG was crazy--like plant-Disneyland. There was SO much to see, from cherry tree fields to desert greenhouses to bonsai showrooms to a Japanese garden to a forest trail. I loved it! Getting into the parks here has been a great way to combat the heat/humidity/smell/noise/crowds factors I'm not used to in NY.
Everything is sticky, costs 3x what it should, and smells like feet, but I am incredibly happy to be here! Next up: my flight to France, immigration, and meeting my host family...!
Oh you know we be havin' Disney sing-along night.