Archive For The “America” Category

Why You Should Go to NYC By Yourself

Why You Should Go to NYC By Yourself

At the Crossroads

New York City was the first trip I did solo. My family thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. It’s so big and I’m…well, I’m so small and insignificant. I get lost easily, I’m not independent enough, I don’t know how to read a map, it’s dangerous: these were the doubts running through my mind. Maybe they’re running through yours too.  But going to New York on my own, was one of the best decisions of my life.  I think everyone should go to NYC solo – here’s why:

It’s scary –  heck ya, it’s scary. But pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, pushes you to grow.  I know it can be overwhelming – what if you get lost, what if you get bored, what if you lose all your money, what if everything goes wrong? Let me tell you something: life is often scary.  But if you can find your way through New York, I think you can find your way through anything – I think you’re ready for the world.  Take a leap of faith. And when you’re standing on top of Rockefeller Center looking at the sunset while the wind gently blows on your face, don’t be surprised if it feels like you’re flying. Because you are. You spread your wings just by going to New York on your own – and you’re going places. Embrace the brave, strong, adventurous side of who you are – you  may not even know it exists, but I promise you, it’s been there all along.

It inspires you. New York makes you feel so alive because the city itself is so alive. You feel its pulse in every street corner you turn. It’s blood flows in the cars that race down the street. You can’t go 10 seconds without hearing a taxi honk its horn, or brakes screech to a halt, or music drifting through the air. It makes you want to be a part of it, even if your part is just sitting on a park bench watching it all happen. Or maybe your part is to walk down the street with your ponytail bouncing and a smile on your face or to sit at a cafe with a cup of coffee.  I can’t describe exactly what New York does to your heart – I will leave that to you do discover on your own.

You belong in New York.  You belong on a park bench in Central Park reading a book, you belong in the middle of Times Square with the lights shining on you, you belong in the first row of your favourite Broadway show, you belong on top the Empire State Building looking down on the world. You belong on the Highline while the sun is rising, and you belong on Top of Rockefeller Center when the sun is going down. You belong on the cobblestones of the West Village and you belong in the bustle of Wall Street. You belong.

It’s empowering. You learn to think on your feet, to be street smart, to carry yourself with confidence. You learn what it feels to be alive; to have life ooze out of the very pores of your skin. You learn that you don’t need somebody to hold your hand every step of the way.  You learn how to make decisions and to trust yourself. You learn how strong and brave you really are – then hold on to these parts, and never let them go.

But ultimately, I think New York is about creating yourself. You can be whomever you want to be and you’ll get to know yourself better than you ever have before.  You’ll come across so many interesting people who will teach you things you never even thought you needed to know.  You’ll have a better idea of the person you want to be and the person you could be. It’s as though your eyes are opened and a candle is ignited in your heart. And no matter where else you go in life,  keep that light burning bright and never let anyone or anything extinguish it.

If you’re still debating whether or not this is the trip for you, I think you need to cast your fears aside and do it. It’s scary, I know it’s scary – but I believe in you and New York believes in you.  Now you just have to believe in yourself.




America, Exploration

Things to See and Do in Central Park

Things to See and Do in Central Park

Old New York

At 843 acres fabulous, Central Park is a massive mesh of sculptures, castles, and ponds that are yearning to be explored.  This bustling area is a magical place that boasts both bustling hubs of activity and quiet spaces of reflection. There is so much to discover that it’s not possible to do all in one day. If you are looking for some ideas, I’ve included some of my highlights below:

Alice in Wonderland Sculpture
This sculpture is a wonderful reminder of childhood curiosity and wonder.  Kids love to climb over it and explore its little nooks and crannies.  There’s usually a gaggle of tourists gathered around, so you may have to wait a while to get the perfect picture, but it’s worth it.  Be sure to walk around it and read the quotes from Lewis Carroll’s classic.


Hans Christian Anderson Sculpture
Located in the same area as Alice in Wonderland, the Hans Christian Anderson Sculpture pays tribute to the writer of fairytales. The little duckling is a reference to The  Ugly Duckling. (The balloon will likely not be there when you go, just pointing out).


Watch the Sailboats in the Conservatory Water
Ever see Stuart Little? This is where George raced his boat! Lots of kids and families populate this area and it’s fun to watch the sailboats floating across the water.  In addition, lots of benches surround the area so it’s a nice spot to sit and rest your tired feet!

Read the Quotes at the Shakespeare Garden
This charming area is named after the poet and playwright, William Shakespeare (obviously). There are rustic benches to sit down and reflect on, and the garden  features flowers and plants mentioned in his poems and plays. Be sure to have a walk around to read the plaques scattered between the flowers featuring his quotes.


See the Turtles at Belvedere Castle
Right by Belvedere Castle is Turtle Pond.  This pond is man-made and is home to five species of turtles. You can see them swimming peacefully or resting on the rocks. It’s pretty cool!


Float in a Row Boat Under Bow Bridge
I’ve always wanted to do this! I didn’t get around to doing it because it struck me as an activity that would be more fun to do with someone (and I was by myself) but I plan on doing it one day. And hey, if you want to do it on your own – go ahead!!


Take a Picture with Balto
Fans of the wolf-dog, Balto, should not miss taking a picture with his sculpture! “They should build a statue of him!” For those who don’t know, Balto was the sled-dog hero who saved Alaska’s children from a diphtheria epidemic when he raced over the frozen landscape to deliver medicine. “A dog can not make this journey alone, but maybe a wolf can.”


Stop and Listen to the Buskers
You are guaranteed to come across many and they are worth stopping to listen to! The picture is of a group I saw singing Amazing Grace at Bathesda Terrace. It moved me to tears; it was so beautiful. I also saw a harpist, a duo paying tribute to the Everly Brothers, and a man with a guitar singing about how Tom Cruise scares him.


Sit at the ‘Enchanted’ Fountain at Bethesda Terrace
“How does she knowwwwwww you love her?” Rising from Bethesda Terrace is Bethesda Fountain – the place I will forever lovingly refer to as”Giselle’s Fountain”. Don’t expect an overly happy princess from Andalusia to lead everyone in song however (though that would be pretty cool!) 


Pay your Respects at the Imagine Tribute to John Lennon
Strawberry Fields is the home of the John Lennon tribute. It was here that John Lennon was walking when he was murdered. Just a warning that the area gets pretty crowded as everyone wants to take pictures with it!


Play Chess at the Chess and Checkers House
Nothing says good, old-fashioned fun more than a game of chess! If you don’t have your own pieces, you can borrow from the Conservancy staff. King-me! 
Chess and Checkers House
Have a Picnic in Sheep Meadow
With green space as far as the eye can see, spread out your picnic planet and enjoy a feast!

Sheep Meadow, Central Park (4)

Ride the Carousel
Doesn’t matter how old you are, Carousel’s are for everyone. 

Bike Through It
Is there a greater freedom in the world than biking through Central Park with the wind blowing in your hair? Maybe, but biking through Central Park is pretty great as well. Be sure to check groupon for deals – I got a 2 hour bike ride for only $10!


Read on a Park Bench
One of the best things about Central Park is that although it is busy with activity, it is also a place of solitude. There is nothing more peaceful than taking some “me time” and relaxing for a bit with a good book.


America, Exploration ,

The Ultimate New York To-Do List

The Ultimate New York To-Do List

New York Summer 2011
So you planned a trip to New York and you’re wondering what you should do during your time in the Big Apple? “I can help you there,” I said in Draco Malfoy’s voice. I’ve only been to New York twice in my life (once with my family and once on my own) but here’s a list of must-do activities I put together based experience.  It’s a city with SO MUCH going on that I suspect the list will keep on growing as I discover new things.

1.  Go See A Broadway Show

2. Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s

3. See the Trump Tower – Maybe you’ll get lucky and see Donald!

4. Take a Ferry to the Statue of Liberty

5. Explore Wall Street

6. Visit the 9/11 Memorial

7. Eat at Ellen’s Stardust Diner – The servers sing while they serve!

8.  Talk to a Policeman

9. Bike Central Park

10. Make your way to the Hudson River

11. Take in the View from the Empire State Building

12. Eat at the Shake Shack

13. Top of the Rock at Sunset

14. Relax at Bryant Park

15. Have a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery

16. Cross the Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge

17. Visit Toys R US

18. Visit The Disney Store

19. Read at Central Park

20. Try to Find the Troll in Central Park

21. Talk to a real New Yorker

22. Visit the Plaza – Because, ya know, Eloise lives there and all.

23. Carnegie Hall

Things I Want to Do:
24. See Mamma Mia on Broadway

25. Go to a Jazz Club

26. Float  in a boat under Bow Bridge

27.  Go to a Yankee’s Game

28. Be there for the Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve

29. Skate at Rockerfeller Ice Rink

Do you guys have any suggestions you think I should do? Let me know!

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