Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City

16th Oct 2017

New York City

Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City by Shekar Kunder
Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City 1/5 by Shekar Kunder

It was past midnight when they asked to vacate the house. It was a cold night and for a moment I thought, we would have no place to sleep.

Day 1 at New York:

As I was nearing New York, I was not sure if Colin (remember the photographer from Greece) would meet me. He had confirmed to me that I could stay at his place. I left him messages but did not get any response. I thought, if he wouldn't reply then I would stay in a hostel for a couple of days. It was afternoon, when I reached New York. Luckily, Colin responded before I got down from the bus, and he asked me to get down at Central Park.

He was late by 20 mins, and I was looking in all the possible directions for Colin. Finally, he arrived, looking sharp in his blue suit. He was on his way back from work. He was happy to meet me again. I was exited to explore the place. To begin with, we took a stroll in Central Park. I had never seen any park this huge. I'm not exaggerating here; you can easily spend an entire day covering this park. There were many sports enthusiast spending their time at the park.

Colin told me that, he could not respond as he lost his phone a day prior and he bought a new phone just a few hours before. He took me to nearby tourist spots from Central Park. First, we visited the Bethesda Fountain. Later we went to Trinity Church, and at last, we went to Grand Central Station.

Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City 2/5 by Shekar Kunder

I was enjoying my time, as I couldn't believe I was in the most happening city in the world. Colin told me that he was shifting to a new house and he doesn't have a place to stay for a couple of nights. He arranged our stay at a friend's home named Mellissa. It was sweet of him to organise all this for me.

Evening, we went to Times Square building; the energy out there was insane. It was named after the famous newspaper New York Times. It would be best if you visited this square in the evening as it's illuminated with lights. The energy consumes you, with all the huge brands in the vicinity. Many call it a melting pot for culture, as people from across the world visit this city.

Scam alert: There will be a lot of cartoon characters around the square. They will ask to click photos with them, and then they will bargain about the money later. Make sure you ask them in advance about money. I paid 5$ for the above photo (Thumbnail photo from the video). Also, sometimes others will join in and ask for money separately.

I was exhausted by the end of the day; all I wanted to do was sleep well after a long day. Mellisa had arranged an airbed for us. At first, I felt a little strange, but then I was comfortable sleeping on it.

Day 2:

We got up early and headed towards Central Park for a jog. There were a lot of runners in the park enjoying their morning routine. Colin took me to his gym; everybody loved the guy for his friendly nature. I got a lot of suggestions from his gym buddies about places I should go and eat. All the recommendation had one thing in common; you should see this world's best location. New Yorkers have a belief that everything about New York is the world's best.

I did a little workout, but I was more interested in steam & sauna, which was incredibly relaxing.

The moment finally arrived; I went to see the Statue of Liberty. It was a surreal feeling witnessing one of the wonders of the world. It became an icon of freedom & seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving from the sea. We took a free ferry from Staten ferry island. It passes by the statue.

We headed out to High Line Garden; it is a 2-mile-long elevated linear park and rail-trail created on the west side of Manhattan. It is a must-visit to walk the high line when you are visiting New York.

We spent some time in the park gazing at the sun.

In the evening, I walked through the wall street. Wall Street is an eight-block-long street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. Melissa met us, and we went to Brooklyn Bridge. It is the same bridge where the iconic scene of Shahrukh in Kal Ho Na Ho, was shot . It was a beautiful site with sideways for cycling and running. The Brooklyn Bridge has set a record as the longest suspension bridge in the world.

Manhattan is the lavish side of New York City. Huge skyscrapers and most densely populated area. It is the home of the world's two largest stock exchanges (NASDAQ & New York Stock Exchange). Some of the biggest media giants, celebs, stay in this area. It is one of the costliest places for real estate in the world.

I loved the metro in New York; it is well connected throughout the city. It is the cheapest option to travel to New York.

I was anticipating a regular night, but something went wrong from there. Melisa's roommate had a problem with us staying there, so she requested us to move out of the apartment. Poor Colin, had to move as well with me at night. He called up a few friends, and luckily, he got the keys to his new house. He didn't inform the landlord that he has a friend who would be staying with him. No guest were allowed in his new apartment, so he sneaked me inside from the back door. It was crazy, but I had to spend one more night in the city.

Day 3:

We started the day a bit late due to the midnight hustle. Colin spoke with his new neighbour. He took me to a Pizza joint; the food was yummy. We strolled around Central Park. It is an excellent site to click photos. He talked to me about his hometown Utah. His passion for photography. He was happy with his fast life in New York. He also suggested me to try for a job in finance in the States. We share the same view of travelling. We decided to meet up in Europe sometime later.

Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City 3/5 by Shekar Kunder

Yummy Pizza

Evening time, we visited the Rockefeller Center. You need to pay 38 dollars to visit the top of the rock. It is worth the money. I thought I would never visit here again, so why not see this once in my lifetime. You can see the entire city from the top. You can also come here to Sunset. Enjoy the incredible view of the empire state building. NYC midtown and skyscrapers. You can also see the central park through the north view.

I was relaxed as my New York trip was almost over. I didn't plan for any crazy adventure for the night. Colin was not given the key to the main entrance, so we could not enter the house. He called the roommates, and no one picked up his call. For a moment we thought maybe we need to check into a hotel room. We had exhausted all our plans. I just had to spend the night as I had 6 am bus scheduled for Boston.

As we were walking back disappointed, he saw his neighbour and asked her if she could open the main door. She was going for a stroll with her dog. We thanked her and got inside the house. Again, he sneaked me inside from the back door. It was funny and crazy at the same time. He was quite upset with this current stay situation. My idea was not to sleep as I had a hard time getting up in the morning. I invited Colin to India and told him that my house is always open to him.

Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City 4/5 by Shekar Kunder

Me and Collin

I was genuinely grateful for all the help Colin did for me. He is a happy go, lucky guy. As we were talking, both slept, luckily I got up on time and took a cab to the bus station. I didn't wake up Colin, as he was sleeping peacefully. I left him a message that I was going.

On my way back, I was thinking of how beautiful last few days that I had witnessed. Within hours I reached back to Boston, and Randal (remember Budapest) was flying from Florida to meet me in Boston.

Much like Mumbai, New York is a fast-paced city. People are always in a rush, busy chasing their dreams. New York is one of the expensive cities. I spent 20,000 - 30,000 for three days. People here believe everything is the world's best in New York. Most of them have never travelled outside the USA. It is a fun city, and you will have a great time. My personal favourite was the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park & the metro.

Back to Boston:

Randall met me in Boston, and he had booked an exotic hotel for our stay. He was travelling from Florida. I had two days to return to India. Randall was doing very well on YouTube. I saw his channel exploding with millions of views. He had made it big in the crypto space.

Yet, he was the same goofy Randall we knew. Mike joined us briefly for dinner, and all three of us had a good time together. We were walking together on Newbury street and doing social freedom exercises.

Photo of Reasons why I was fascinated with New York City 5/5 by Shekar Kunder

Mike , Me & Randall at Boston

So it was the last day, and I had done enough of approaches. I just wanted to catch my flight and return to India. Randall pushed me to make one approach, I spoke to an Iranian woman, and our conversation went well. I don't know what happened from that moment; I was a social butterfly. Could walk to anyone and talk to them. Randall was thinking what the hell you speak so much.

I saw a girl who was so was present in the park. I had to go and talk to her. It turned out she was visiting Boston and was with a friend. Randall was speaking to the friend, and we chatted for good 15 mins. As I was walking by, there was a group who wanted me to click their photo, and I jokingly replied that I would need a group hug for that. All of them came together and hugged me. It was a magical feeling.

I was sad to say goodbye to my dear friend Randall. I have a fantastic time when he is around. He said he would miss me too but would travel back to Bangkok and we can meet there with Christian. This beautiful trip to the United States of America was finally coming to an end.

- I'm grateful for the people who helped me in the journey. Special thanks to Mike, Randall & Collin.

- USA is a lovely country, and I have got a ten years visa; I want to visit it one more time before my visa expires. The second trip I want to visit UTAH to see its natural beauty.

- I did so many social experiments, now I was very comfortable talking to new people.

- There was this new sense of confidence that is hard to explain, deep inside, you know that you have changed, but others wouldn't understand.

- The last day in Boston, was unbelievable; I was carrying such friendly energy and people were drawn towards me. I will remember it for the rest of my life.

- Entering a house in New York from the back door was something I didn't imagine I would do. It was a crazy and fun experience.

- Solo trips are the best trips in the world, as you grow as a person. You do a lot of things that are outside your comfort zone.

- Lastly, I want to thank Sasha for giving me this opportunity to travel and learn social freedom from the best trainer Mike.

This is Shekar. I see you in the next one. Ciao.