First bite of the Big Apple

New York. Where shall I start?
After finishing my two months of research in Richland, I have one whole week off to explore any part of America that I wish. And that means New York. In only a few days, there have been so many brilliant moments that I really can't think what to tell you first. Given the amount that I have done, chronologically listing everything would be far too long for both of us, so I shall try to give you the very edited highlights.
Within the first few hours of arriving in New York, I had come to the conclusion that it is a very friendly city. As a tourist with a large suitcase, I didn't expect to be hugely popular on the underground, but no sooner did I approach a flight of stairs than some friendly person would offer to help. I never had to ask for directions, they were always offered, and everybody on the street made eye contact and returned a smile. Considering that this is a huge city and I am not a local, I found that both surprising and wonderful.
As far as sightseeing goes, New York is everything I could have hoped for and more. I wore myself out walking around simply because I couldn't risk going back to my hostel and missing something. On the first day I spent several hours getting happily lost in Central Park, finally finding my way out onto 7th Avenue and heading south towards 42nd St. The lake in Central Park was beautiful, though you really have to be a jogger (or at least pretend to be) in order to get onto the path that borders it.
And oh, the food I had in New York was delicious! That first day in the park I stopped at a little square where a few food carts were open. I had a really tasty lunch of Chinese pork dumplings smothered in soy sauce, and chased it down with an Earl Grey ice-cream - scrumptious! Everywhere you go, the street food is excellent. Without going into a single restaurant, I had Chinese, Turkish and a delicious Egyptian pitta filled with roast lamb and falafel and salad. I also ended up eating enough pretzels to sink a ship - they are sold everywhere very cheaply and have the most irresistible smoky flavour.
My favourite food moment though came moments after I first discovered Grand Central Station, coming up from the subway into that huge hall with the Zodiac paintings on the ceiling. Turning left out of the station, I decided to sample three of the tiny cupcakes offered up in a nearby shop. And that is how I first saw the Chrysler building, quite unexpectedly, walking along from Grand Central Station eating a pink lemonade cupcake.


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