New York has made me an addicted coupon collector, and an expert on where you can find the least expensive oatmeal, peanut butter, eggs, Luna Bars, and which fruit stands have the best looking produce for the best price. After my first night here and realizing I was spoiled by Winco’s bulk section and $5 for 5 dozen eggs, I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that a dozen eggs were nearly $4 and the same box of oatmeal I got at home for $2 was nearly $5. It required walking around Upper West Manhattan for hours yesterday, but I’ve finally found the best places to buy my groceries. One thing checked off the to-do list, and I’m not even going to begin to count how many more to go!
I also made the mistake of grabbing my only reusable bag when going to buy a few groceries my first night. Because it was the only one I had at the time, I didn’t check to which one it was and was in for a surprise when I handed it to the bagger at the grocery store. He looked over at me with a confused and slight disgusted look and I thought I had done something to offend him but couldn’t possibly think of what. So I just smiled, took my bag of groceries and said “Thank You”. As I did, I noticed I had brought my Boston Red Sox bag into the heart of New York City. I’m surprised I didn’t get taken out by one of the many Yankee lovers. My dad would be proud though! Mom told me I had to go and get more reusable bags for fear of what would happen if I brought my Red Sox out in broad daylight.
My roommate has been incredibly helpful in giving me pointers as to where to go to buy things, what streets to avoid and which streets to use frequently, as well as how the transportation systems work. We went to Whole Foods the other night (while Whole Foods is the spendy place to buy groceries at in Boise, that’s actually one of the cheaper places to get many foods here!) and that was when I turned into one of those crazy coupon cutting ladies. I went to stock up on my Luna bars and Cliff bars when I saw they were $5 for 5. Hallelujah, something that’s at least similar in price to something back home! Below it said there was a coupon for $1.50 off when you buy two Luna bars. After doing the math we got a little too excited when we realized that meant each bar was just 25 cents each, something I have never found even close to being that price at home. With our eyes wide open in shock, we made it our mission to find where that coupon was and ended up grabbing a couple huge handfuls of the store’s circular since the coupon doesn’t expire until March 31. We’re even considering starting a business called the Luna Ladies and selling them to make a profit off of our great find
After doing a little research I also found you can print these coupons off online and I believe Whole Foods has the same sales across the nation. So for all my Boise friends (and friends not located in Boise who have Whole Foods near them), go out and get yourself a 25 cent Luna bar and see how you feel afterwards! You may think I’m over exaggerating, or maybe it’s the fact that I felt like I was making up for being charged over twice as much for other groceries. Regardless, it added a little highlight to one of my first evenings in New York. Seems like a crazy highlight to have when you’re in one of the most amazing cities in the world! That hasn’t been the only one of course.
Before coming to New York, I made a mini bucketlist of all the things I wanted to do and see while here. One of the things on that list was to run in Central Park. My first day here I decided to use Google Maps to help me find my way from my apartment to the park. Lucky for me I live a mile away from Central Park and the loop around the park is 6.2 miles which makes it perfect for my longer run days.
I ventured by myself, something I was quite proud of as I managed to not get lost, and even had a mother and her daughters fooled into thinking I was a local and knew where I was going. They asked me if I knew how to get to the skating rink which I responded no to and told them it was my first day here. The mother was with three girls about the age of 10 years old and when they heard I had no idea where I was going they lit up and started telling me all about the rules of the road. In Central Park there is one main pathway around the vicinity and additional trails that lead to monuments, baseball parks, lakes, and are a little more like a trail. They told me that on the main path you had three different lanes. A running lane, a biking lane, and a lane where golf carts and horses go on. They warned me to watch out when I started to go to the downtown area of Central Park as they told me it was incredibly busy. They weren’t lying! A couple times I thought I was going to get ran over by a horse carriage and then a biker pulling a couple in a trailer behind him. But it was euphoric to be running along and pass by scenic places that I’ve only seen in movies. At one point I took a picture of a couple vacationing from Australian and asked them if they wouldn’t mind taking one of me. They laughed a little but said sure and told me to enjoy my stay.
Yesterday I walked to TJ Maxx and Home Goods to get a few things for my room. One of the things I have loved the most since being in the city is the fact that pretty much anything you need is located within walking distance. Granted the prices may be a little more expensive, but you save money on gas, car insurance, and those atrocious parking tickets. You also have to carry back whatever you purchase (which for me included a 22 block walk) which prevents me from getting carried away and I have to be more finicky on my final purchase. Therefore I didn’t go too overboard which is good because I don’t have a whole lot of extra space in my room anyways.
I also picked up a couple applications for part time jobs while I walked around and got a feel for the neighborhood. I had no idea how absolutely beautiful my side of the city was and how family oriented it is. There were several kids out with their parents, people walking their dogs, and residents in New York are a lot more kind and friendly than they are made out to me. On numerous occasions I found myself carrying conversations with cashiers and even on the subway. While on the subway, I turned to ask a man, who was carrying a delectable, massive cake,
how to get invited to the party that that cake was going to be at. No one was talking to anyone really, unless it was someone they got on the subway with. I felt like maybe I engaged in a major Faux Pas and turned back to my roommate, Kim. But he continued to engage in conversation and explained to me that it was a Latino tradition for the holidays and whoever got the piece that had a doll in it had to throw a party within the next month. I’d heard of that with New Orleans and the King’s Cake and have always wanted to be a part of something like that!
That night, Kim took me to Columbus Circle and showed me where some of the wealthiest people live, where Live with Kelly and Michael is filmed (another highlight!), the Starbucks where celebrities are often seen, and we even saw Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We also picked up a couple more coupons from Whole Foods while on our way to Trader Joes. I told you those coupons are an addiction! When I went to the checkout I had one of the friendliest cashiers who told me I looked just like his friend back home. I asked where home was and he told me Utah. I told him I was from Idaho and suddenly I understood why people get so excited to find someone who is from their side of the country. He had been in the city for two months as I told him I had been there for two days. We both probably got a little too excited about our commonalities but it felt refreshing to meet someone from close to my home.
While I was out, I ran into this card and almost bought it because I loved what it said.
I absolutely love this and it really helped me to relax and understand that it’s going to take me a little while to get used to the tremendous changes I’m going through right now. But while I’m going through challenges and trying to adapt to a lifestyle change, I need to just enjoy every minute of it. I’m typically very good at doing that, but sometimes in life we need to be reminded of those things and I think I came across this card at the right time.
I didn’t get my run in yesterday, though my legs are so sore from walking all over town! I’m headed to Central Park again, this time to do the whole loop! Wish me luck that I don’t get trampled and manage to find my way back home, maybe even without Google Maps. Challenge accepted!
If you were to spend one week in New York, what would be on your bucketlist of things to do?