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New York Experience

by Anthony Banh  from Canada

Have you ever wanted to hop on a plane to experience what it’s like to have an unplanned adventure? So have I… which is why I decided to do it. Walking into a completely new city with little preparation can be frightening but, with the right people, you’ll return home with unforgettable memories and hundreds of stories to share. This is a story of my own impulsive trip that I hope will inspire you to take risks, be bold, and break out of your comfort zone to learn, fall victim to your wanderlust, and grow as a traveller. Prior to my trip to New York, I was a planner — I always wanted to know exactly what I’d be doing down to the minute. On the flight back to Toronto, I still couldn’t believe that I woke up and bought a ticket on a random Thursday morning to find myself in New York the next day.

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New York, the view of Lower Manhattan from the Rockefeller Centre by Anthony Banh

Day One

When we arrived, my friends and I were awestruck by the level of energy this city offered. Despite the little sleep we had before our flight at 5am, we were wide awake and ready to explore.

After settling in our hotel, we decided to walk around the block to get a better taste of the New York lifestyle. As odd as it sounds, I loved crossing the streets of New York. When you’re in the middle of the intersection, all you’d see is an endless road with waves of proudly-standing buildings.

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The streets of New York by Anthony Banh

During the evening, we rode the subway to Chinatown and rented city bikes to cover as much ground as possible. We found our way up the Manhattan Bridge and stopped halfway to gaze at the city. This was one of the most memorable moments of our trip because we had no idea where we were going and we ended with a breathtaking view of the city at night. You can’t get this experience if you follow a tour!

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New York,  the view of Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge by Anthony Banh

We wanted to end our first night in NYC with a bang and there was no better way to do so than by visiting Times Square. I know, I know, it’s a tourist trap but it wasn’t so bad! My friends and I sat here all night people-watching. In such a small space, there were thousands of people from diverse backgrounds. We had a conversation with a local here and he said, “We’re all weird in our own way, we should embrace it.” He was absolutely right.

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New York, Times Square at night by Anthony Banh

Day Two

It was 3am by the time we got back to our hotel and we woke up a few hours after for brunch. If you’re a fan of pizza, make sure you take advantage of the dollar pizza slices found in almost every block!

As we walked around, we discovered the Rockefeller Centre. Having heard of the breathtaking views you can get from this tower, we planned to visit it on the last day.

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New York, the Rockefeller Centre featuring Atlas by Anthony Banh

We had no idea what was planned for the day. All we wanted to do was to experience everything New York had to offer. Within an hour, we found ourselves in Harlem and Central Park. I don’t have photos from this part of the trip because of the warnings the locals gave us about the area. However, don’t let this discourage you from exploring Harlem as bus tours is an option! From what we saw, it’s a whole new side of New York that’s worth experiencing for yourself!

After exploring Upper Manhattan, it was time to check out Lower Manhattan which included Wall Street and the World Trade Centre Memorial. This is a must-do if you’re visiting New York. Standing where the World Trade Centres once stood was a powerful experience and seeing the locals united together as one was a beautiful sight. There is nothing that this city can’t handle!

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New York, the World Trade Centre Memorial by Anthony Banh

Day Three

By the third day, we decided to catch up on sleep and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) for a less physically draining experience. For any locals or visitors who need a break from the fast-pace city, I’d highly recommend visiting the MET for its tranquility and history.

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New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Anthony Banh

Day Four

We started our last day in Brooklyn to get an outside view of Manhattan and to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. In an attempt to make most of the little time we had left, we visited the World Trade Centre Memorial once more and discovered the Fulton Centre. This place showed me how important it is to put our cell phones down to keep our heads up and see what’s around us. If you’re someone who appreciates cool architecture, look up at the Fulton Centre.

As I previously mentioned, we ended our trip by visiting the Rockefeller Centre. At 70 stories high, your jaw will drop and your breath will be taken away. I can’t think of any other way to end your trip at New York City. Why? I was able to pinpoint all the places I explored in the city in just two photos; Harlem, Central Park, the World Trade Centre, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the list goes on!

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New York, the view of Upper Manhattan from the Rockefeller Centre by Anthony Banh

Despite only being four days, it sounds like one eventful trip… right? These were just the highlights! There are hundreds of stories that I can share, big and small. This wouldn’t have happened without the spontaneity of our trip and for this reason, I encourage you all to experience a trip such as this for yourself!

Video of DAY1 by Anthony Banh
Video of DAY3 by Anthony Banh
Video of DAY2 by Anthony Banh
Video of DAY4 by Anthony Banh
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