4.5 Hours. This is the amount of time I had to finally visit the city that I’d heard/watched/dreamed of all my 20 years of life: New York City. How many Woody Allen odes to this place had I seen? How many Nora Ephron romantic comedies have taken place in this crazy city of opportunity? After all my exposure to the best television and film based in NYC, and FINALLY, I’d be able to become a part of this experience, of this realm that only existed on-screen. Needless to say, this was a BIG freakin’ deal to me; I had romantic notions that needed to be explored here.
Now, I have rarely traveled alone before, much less to the bustling and somewhat intimidating Manhattan, and I had to plan my 4.5 hours accordingly. Why did I only have such a specific amount of time to explore the city? Well, my sister goes to school at Ithaca College, in upstate New York, and in order to visit her this past weekend, I had to catch a connecting bus in NYC from DC, ya see?
So let the record show that I, Alejandra Buitrago, embarked on my journey to New York City on Saturday, May 11th, 2013. At 5:30 am.
In true iPhone glory, you, too, can see snippets of my trip:
Upon hitting the Holland Tunnel on the Jersey side, I knew only one song was worthy enough to underscore such a tremendous moment in my life, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” Now, those sixteen minutes became some of the most poetic I’d experienced in a long time, despite the group of vociferous little girls behind me on the bus excited for their trip to the American Girl Doll Store.
Fresh off the bus at noon, finally rid of the fleet of soccer moms and their pleasant daughters sitting not-so-quietly on the five hour journey to the city.
I met with inconnu’s very own EIC Joanna Harkins for lunch at the Bowery Diner (documented rather splendidly, if I say so myself.)
And I had a brunch that would make both Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson tear up:
Now post brunch and the lovely conversation ( a la Sex and the City, minus the scandalous Samantha banter), with Joanna as my temporary guide, we decided to take me to the most wondrous place for a Lemonite, such as myself: 30 Rock. Now, in the limited amount of time I had (and limited amount of money) the train seemed to be the most efficient form of transportation. So off to the subway we went!
It was a pleasant ride, especially when Joanna and I chatted with a group of *ahem* rather good looking men on the way. Considering the reputation New Yorkers have of being standoffish and rude, the people I’d encountered so far were actually very friendly and helpful, which was surprising in the subway of all places. Also, this entire time I’d been lugging around a huge satchel and carry-on luggage, so I looked a bit out of place and was expecting more flack from the people of New York.
I must preface this part of the timeline by saying that Liz Lemon/ Tina Fey, while an inspiration to many, is the reason I aim to write for television in the not too distant future. It was honestly that pivotal to my life and my career aspirations. So naturally, this trip to 30 Rock felt more like a pilgrimage and less like a photo op.
Nonetheless, here is my view of the magical Rockefeller Center. Feel free to sing the 30 Rock theme song amongst yourselves.
Inevitably, I needed a fangirl picture.
The next destination was so touristy, I know, I know. Times Square. But, tell me, what’s a girl gonna do?
I bid adieu to Joanna here at Times Square where I roamed around for a couple of hours. In my last hour as a vistor in New York, I decided to go by Bryant Park- the site of many cool things, but at the top of my head, I know they currently film exterior shots of Suits and White Collar there.
I was tired at this point, especially lugging around baggage, so I caved and sniped a cab from someone (and according to HIMYM, that’s a check off the list of what makes you a New Yorker). The cabbie was very nice and we had a similar conversation to the one Brooke Davis shared with her respective cabbie in One Tree Hill, so I felt like I was having a moment.
And after spotting Sofia Coppola walking past me, as I devoured my scone in the park, thunder rang loudly in the city. It had been threatening to rain all day, and at this moment, rain of a Biblical caliber fell on me as I tried to make it from Bryant Park to the Port Authority to catch my next bus upstate. Sidenote: how ironic was it that I should embark on my own odyssey in the rain while traveling to Ithaca?
Long story-short, I made it to the next bus after having my umbrella flip on me in a torrential downpour SIX TIMES. I was soaked, and so was my baggage.
On my way out of the city, I played some more “Rhapsody in Blue” to bookend the trip. While snapping this picture of the New York City skyline, I couldn’t help but wonder (in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion)… what was New York’s first impression of me?
I had bantered with the locals, sampled the food, seen (some of) the sights, even endured its tests. Did I make an impression? I might as well have been a blip on the radar this time, but I aim to really do this city justice soon. New York may be fickle, but I’m not discouraged because “No one writes songs about the ones that come easy,” now do they?