I don’t do goodbyes very well, I never have. First of all, goodbyes are hardly ever ‘good’, I mean, sometimes, even saying goodbye to something you don’t like can be scary because heading towards the unknown is just that: scary. Period.
When I woke up that morning it hit me immediately that that would be my last opportunity to roam around the city my dreams always played out in and although I knew there was so much more coming after that day, I was still, for all I knew, headed into the unknown.
Isn’t that what I had been doing all those days that saw me exploring the Big Apple? I was toying with the unknown that whole time; walking through unknown streets, meeting strange people, eating unfamiliar things, heading towards mysterious paths. It was all unknown to me and the only way it all went down was by me saying goodbye to the home I had sort of gotten too comfortable in.
I guess that’s the thought process that got me out of bed that morning: the idea that I just had to savour the little that was left and embrace the art of goodbyes which is and has been a constant theme in my life, maybe in everyone’s lives actually.
The day started out gloomy as grey skies covered the sky and for us, that should have been the sign for what was to come.
We had had three days straight of pure hot sunshine prior to that one, so how bad could it be really? Plus, we had come all the way from Manchester, and at this point, it is shocking when it doesn’t splash down like waterfalls from an angry sky. Actually, acknowledging the chance of a rainy day comes hand in hand with even the simplest decisions in life.
Clearly our trip could have done with a lot more planning as the day it was pouring down was the one we decided would be perfect for a long calming walk around a gigantic park and other, mainly outdoors, activities.
I wore a black skater dress and my blue denim jeans jacket, grabbed my 750D camera as per usual, then my sister and I headed out for one last adventure.
The underground had become a daily part of the journey we looked forward to and it became the norm for us to run around mezzanines and platforms, scan metro cards and feel our hair fly away with the breeze as the trains swiftly flashed by our side. We were almost always taking the F line which would take us straight from Queens to the heart of Manhattan.
Our first stop that day? Central Park.
At that point, the rain was just droplets which were, yes annoying, but nowhere close to being a hindrance.
I’ll be honest and say we only went to Central Park because we thought it was an important touristy thing to do, something to add to the we-saw list that we could tick off with red marker. Ordinarily, you just wouldn’t find me chilling at a park like I used to in my childhood memories, but I do believe it can be a calming experience to be immersed in the green away from everyday life.
Central Park was obviously a lot more than just a park. It was a full-on vibe of its own. I’d assume it wasn’t as crowded as it would be normally, as the rain started to evolve and make itself more noticeable in the air.
There were horses with carriages ready to pick people up and take them round and round the green land, people were walking around under colourful umbrellas and sweaty bodies were running and jugging all around the park. The tourists were there too, same as us, climbing small rocks and heights to take pictures up top with the skyscrapers as their backdrops.
We walked around a little more and already drenched by the rain, we decided it was time to move on to the next stop of the day, Macy’s.
On the way, we met two Italian women who were lost and were trying to find their way to the underground they needed. I immediately switched language due to pure reflex and we talked about our experiences in New York so far. My sister google searched the location they were headed to and then we parted ways hoping they would find theirs.
‘THE WORLD’S LARGEST STORE’ was written on the top of the building and it sure was no understatement. The store, which is amongst the largest in the world, houses a crazy number of big-name brands like Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein. From jewellery to dresses, women clothing and men’s, accessories and restaurants to indulge in during shopping breaks; I could conclude the writing on the wall was wildly appropriate.
As cool as it all sounded in theory, I feel like I was the only one who wasn’t enjoying the full-on Macy’s experience. To me, how big it was felt like the liability; like I was roaming around with little to no purpose. It was also weird for me to feel the way I did because I’m someone who usually loves shopping. I love smelling the new clothes and touching the fluffy sweaters or trying on five different pairs of glasses to see which fits the best. I’m usually all for that, but the Macy’s shop (or more like labyrinth!) was overwhelmingly massive for me and there was nothing that really caught my eye at that moment. I hate to be that person that blames the internet for every change in their lives or in society as a whole, but I did wonder if I would have felt the same way scrolling through an app on my phone. Most likely I wouldn’t have been too bothered by that; I would have looked for what I wanted and found it, compared it to the rest and bought it. On some level, I’m sure that can be a bad thing, but on another, I can’t help but wonder if that’s just efficiency at it’s finest. Who knows, maybe the internet is ruining us all!
After what felt like twelve hours of wasted time, we finally found an elevator that led us out of the giant maze we entered into wide-eyed.
Once we exited the building, we were met with a New York we had seen only the side profile of that early morning, but now we were getting the full-frontal view we hadn’t seen before; New York in the heavy rain. In the UK, we often refer to that as raining cats and dogs, and while that makes no actual sense, it would be the perfect way to describe the situation we were in. It was pouring so hard it seemed like it would never stop.
In true British fashion, we decided the rain would not be able to stop us from heading towards our next destination as it was one we believed would be a must-do and an amazing sight to see. We were headed to the ports for a cruise that would take us to see Lady Liberty.
The sky kept throwing it down as we walked around the city looking for how to get to those damn ports. Round and round and round we went in search for any means of transport that was accessible and would get us there by the time the cruise began to board. I guess we had run out of our luck for the trip because although we walked round in search of an accessible station, we couldn’t find one to save the last evening of our trip. We tried the Uber app in hopes we could get there on time, but the fares had skyrocketed, and the price just wasn’t an option at that moment. My sister pointed out a ‘bright side’: I had waited to buy the tickets which didn’t seem very refundable. After attempting all other possible solutions we could come up with, we put our gloves down and eventually gave up on the cruise altogether.
With that plan going bust, we spent the rest roaming around NYC one last time and we went shopping at less intimidatingly huge outlets. We got Chick-fil-A to go on our way back to the hotel that night and headed back to the subway station really slowly capturing one last view of the city that was home for four days.
We walked whilst talking about all that had occurred in the past four days; all the crazy beautiful things we’d seen, all the ups and downs we’d experienced, all things we used to see in movies come to life. We laughed about the airport mishaps and still wondered if we were scammed by that one taxi driver. I remembered the guy in the underground station that helped me with the wheelchair and I don’t think I’ll ever forget how impressively cool his fashion sense was.
When I closed my eyes that night, I could see New York at night shine bright, vivid, untameable. I went all the way back to that bus that showed me all the magic the city possessed within and it all felt like a dream. An almost perfect dream.
I slept like a baby that night knowing the next day I would take flight to my next adventure.
Your restless romantic roamer