Grand Central Station and 5th Avenue

A couple of days ago one of my childhood best friends sent me an email with tips on what to see and do in New York as well as how to adjust to my new lifestyle. She too is from Boise and worked in Washington DC for a bit of time. The last thing she ended with was this

You will do great if you can remember to live for the moment, not for the things you have left behind.

That really stuck with me and has been incredibly helpful in adjusting to the fast paced New York lifestyle. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty outgoing individual who is often on a mission to do something and feels the need to take advantage of every chance in life because you don’t know if that opportunity will pop up again. But my first couple of days were a difficult transition for me. I realize that was only 5 days ago but I have done so much in the last few days that it feels like so much longer! I was incredibly homesick initially and almost everything would remind me of something back home and make me wonder what I would be doing if I was with my friends and family. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to go to get basic necessities (such as food!) and was a little terrified of making a wrong turn or running into someone I didn’t want to cross paths with. Well, when I walked around the next day in broad daylight and realized I lived in a completely safe neighborhood that was absolutely beautiful and full of families I started to feel like I could begin to be comfortable. It also helps that my roommate, Kim, has been so helpful in showing me around and taking me to different places. But realizing that I needed to start focusing on the here and now and how to make the most of it rather than wondering what’s going on back home really helped make my transition smoother.
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The inside of the New York Public Library

Over the past couple of days I’ve done my best to maintain a schedule similar to mine back home so I can begin to feel like this is my home and settle in. I try to wake up early, go for a run, update my blog, and then go out and do any errands I may have. There is so much more to do than back at home so it’s important that I just go out and do as much as I can as well.  The lifestyle is completely different than that of Boise’s lifestyle. First off, everyone walks everywhere. If a place is within a mile or two, I have a difficult time justifying paying $2.50/$5.00 to get there and back via bus when I know I can just walk. Everyone is on a mission, for the most part. There isn’t a lot of dilly dallying and people know exactly where they are headed to. This was difficult for me the first couple of days because I wanted to look around at everything, I felt like Sunni on one of our runs! I wanted to talk to people, ask questions, get a feel for my surroundings. It didn’t help that everything blended together so I couldn’t walk at a fast pace because I didn’t know where exactly I was going. Thank you Google Maps! Because of this it also makes it a little difficult to run in the city. The only place I have ran is Central Park and there’s another path on Riverside I’m going to venture to tomorrow. But I’m happy to say I ran the entire Central Park loop (6.2 miles plus the couple of miles to get there and back) on Sunday!

Running on a Sunday in Central Park is insane. But insane in a good way. If you just happened to show up and didn’t know any better you would think there was some sort of race going on. It’s not packed to the point where you are unable to freely move around, but with all the runners it adds a competitive feel. That is if you’re like me and feel like anyone around you is racing you and you must beat them to the “finish line”. There are also a massive amount of dogs, which was so refreshing for me. I even saw a little yellow lab puppy and my first golden retriever in the city. He reminded me of Sunni as he ran around with his ball in the side of his mouth, wagging his tail and teasing anyone around him to try and take the ball from him.

Yesterday I had a packed day. I skipped my run because I knew I would be walking all day. My goal was to wake up at the time I would typically wake up for work, get ready, and catch the subway at the time I normally would so I could get used to the hustle and bustle and find my way to work. I decided to go a little later since I hadn’t taken the subway by myself and had never been to Grand Central Station. So instead I dropped off my applications, walked around and checked out some new shops, and then hopped on the subway. I tried to act as if I knew what I was doing and therefore convincing myself that I had this and would have no problem getting to where I needed to go.

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For me to get to work, I have to make a couple transitions which I thought shouldn’t be too tricky.

1. Hop on the subway and ride for about 20 minutes unless the express stops at the same time one of my other stops lets people off. (I didn’t try the express yet but will later this week.)

2. Next I have to get off and catch the shuttle to Grand Central Station. You can tell when the shuttle is about to leave because people are in a huge hurry and running through the doors as they are about to shut. A little terrifying to see all these people running towards you!

3. Then I get out at Grand Central Station and take the correct exit to the road I get on to get to work which is another 5 minute walk.

It sounded pretty simple when I looked it up on Hopstop on my phone (a great app that helps figure out how to use the subway and which stops to take). But it’s a little difficult when you are disoriented and have no idea what anything is around you. Grand Central Station is incredibly busy and also has trains leaving from it too. Finally I was able to figure out how to successfully get from Grand Central Station to my work and walked the route back and forth a couple of times to get myself familiar with it.
library
Then I adventured! I was absolutely captivated by everything I saw. Even everything from their post office to their library was beautiful. I mailed a couple letters (just so they would say they were shipped from Grand Central Station Post Office) and walked along 5th Avenue. I picked up a few of my favorite type of chocolate, Lindt. Then I walked to the library to pick up my library card. The building outside was breathtaking. As I made my way in I was blown away by the beautiful décor inside and taken by how a library could be so beautiful.

insidelibr

It had two huge staircases that wrapped around the sides and led up to the main floor where there were different photography exhibits, historic displays, and two older women sitting at the information booth with boots on their hands talking about how cute each other’s shoes were. They were a hoot and helped me figure out how to get my public library card. Mom was so proud when I told her!

librarycard
I wanted to stay and look but decided I would save museums for another day when I had more time. After that I decided I wanted to go to Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue. One of my favorite movie’s is Breakfast At Tiffany’s and it’s been a dream of mine to reenact the opening scene where she is eating a croissant and drinking coffee outside the window at Tiffany’s. While I made my way out I passed by a huge Christmas tree and had to stop in my place. Was that THE famous tree by Rockefeller Center? I crossed the road and saw the golden statue and sure enough, the ice skating rink below it. This famous rink that has been shown in so many movies was right in front of me. And was tiny! They make it look so much bigger in the movies. But I was taken by how beautiful it was and picked up a brochure so Luke and I could go ice skating on it when he comes here.
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While walking I was on a mission to find a warm coat. I just had my nice trench coat and my wind breaker running jacket which just wasn’t cutting it! It’s been warmer here than in Boise but at night it can be quite chilly and a little windy. Many people wear down jackets, often times one’s that go nearly to their ankles. That seemed like a little much for me. It was difficult to find a good down jacket though, especially because I’ve never really imagined myself wearing one. They either made me look like a big marshmallow or made me feel like I was about to take off into space. I finally decided on a BCBG that was incredibly warm with a collar that you could zip all the way up to cover your nose if you wanted to. This is nice because otherwise you have to wear a scarf at all times and sometimes you don’t want to be carrying around a bunch of different articles of clothing for fear of losing something while trying to keep track of it all. I also got it for a steal of a deal at nearly 1/3 the price (coupon/discount lady in action again!)

I couldn’t call it a day before going to Dunkin Donuts and having a strawberry donut with sprinkles on it in honor of my dad. My father absolutely LOVES Dunkin Donuts and it’s one of the highlights of any trip that has a Dunkin Donuts around. They are everywhere around here but for some reason I couldn’t find any around 5th Avenue, though there were plenty of Starbucks and Subways. Finally I saw a sign pointing to where I could find one and I sat myself down to a strawberry coffee cake donut (they were out of sprinkles unfortunately). After walking around for miles I devoured that, it was delicious.
dunkin
I was about to head back and save Tiffany’s for the next day when I saw a sign saying St. Patrick’s. I walked a little farther and saw it was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Even though it is being restored at the moment it was captivating. I couldn’t help but go inside.

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The moment I walked in I was moved. There were candles lit all around the church and displays of different Saints were set up on the sides with candles that you could light for the different Saints. I made a donation and lit a prayer candle, then sat in the front of the church with others and prayed.

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I’ve missed Sundays at church with my family and it felt peaceful to be able to just sit there in silence. I honestly could have sat there for the remainder of the afternoon, but my phone was about to die and the last thing I wanted was to be on the completely opposite end of New York when it was dark and have to figure out how to get back to my apartment.

In addition to that, I had to be sure to be back in time to catch the bachelor with Kim. Like I said, I’m trying to maintain a similar schedule to the one back home which meant I couldn’t miss the Bachelor! So we made our late night snacks (I feel like I am constantly hungry over here since I’m walking all day) and sat down in our comfy clothes and eagerly waited to see how promising this season would be. Now that I’ve found the best places to find the groceries I typically eat I can start making my own meals again. I finally found cranberries that didn’t cost a fortune, too! And it helps that it comes in a cut little box for $1.29 for 4 oz. That ladies and gentlemen, is a deal in New York.
DSC_0434I topped off a big pile of spinach (the cheapest way to get it was through a giant container so I’ve been trying to eat spinach a couple of times a day) with sliced almonds, dried “Nice!” cranberries, and some sliced hard boiled eggs. I was all set to see what sort of juicy things are going to be happening on Bachelor this year.

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I also received a couple of boxes from Amazon with some of the things I ordered. One of the packages was a portable closet I ordered for my room. When I first ordered it I thought “No problem, Luke can help me set it up!” not clicking at the time with the idea that I would be the one having to set it up. After reading a not so thorough instruction manual and having to move some pieces around (okay, a lot of pieces) I finally completed it. And in only 2 hours! Keep in mind I was distracted by the Bachelor and only worked on it during commercial breaks. But I’m so excited to set it up in my room!
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Today was like Christmas as one of my Amazon orders came in. If you’ve ever moved across the country without a moving truck, you understand there are many things which end up being left behind because they are cheaper to simply order online through Amazon with free shipping than to pay to have them shipped.

boxes

I opened up one package which made me laugh because never in a million years would I think I would be ordering tuna fish, tampons, cinnamon, and flaxseed online. Just a random mix together but it was so much cheaper online than here in the city.

As for today I have a couple of interviews and am hoping my legs will feel up for a nice long run again!

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2 thoughts on “Grand Central Station and 5th Avenue

  1. Gen, this is great. Thanks for sharing. When I was in NYC last year, I absolutely loved grand central station. And walked and walked in Central Park…..on a Sunday in the rain. Hang in there!

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