NYC Outtakes- Random Photos and Advice for Visiting NYC

View from Hotel BPM in my drawer Out In Brooklyn messy hotel roomthe bed at hotel BPM

Pick a good place as your home base. Know the area you’re staying in and most importantly, don’t be afraid to stay outside of Manhattan. Me and Kat stayed at Hotel BPM, which is in Brooklyn. We got a fantastic room at a really great price through a flash sale they were doing, and with a bit of quick googling I saw there was a subway station a block away, perfect for getting into Manhattan in less than 15 minuets. There’s plenty of overpriced and seriously tiny hotels in Manhattan, as well as everywhere else, find the right one for you, and make it your insta-home. As long as you know how to get to where you want to go from where you’re at, and you can at least blend a little with the locals, you’ll be fine. Eyes open and easy smiles go a long way.

Bryant Park Views Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Visit Bryant Park. Just do it, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. You’ll end up in the middle of almost everything you could want to visit and surrounded by mostly native New Yorkers reading the paper, chatting with friends and you’ll realize that this is a place millions of people call home and to treat it accordingly. Understand that “NYC” encompasses the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island (as much as they might want to deny that) besides just the glitter of Manhattan, and get an idea of the immensity bred here. There is so much history, pride and love here, you’ll enjoy your time better once you feel that.
Kat looking out over Central ParkCentral park outtakes Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset near Columbus Circle, outside of Central Park

Take your time in Central Park, if thats the kind of thing you like. Probably it is the kind of thing you’ll like, if you’re even a little alive inside. This place is HUGE, seriously, just ever so huge and you probably won’t have enough time to spend exploring it all, but just enjoy the time you spend there and relish the beauty and calmness that is cultivated here. Also, take a photo of that damn Balto statue that took you and your friend over an hour to find even though you were pretty much on top of it half the time. Watch out for joggers and skateborders, smile to the beverage cart vendors.

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Know how to use the subway system. Seriously gods, this is so useful. Even if you can afford to take a cab everywhere, just don’t. You’ll be stuck in traffic more often than not, and apart from taking one to and from the airport, they really won’t get you there faster or more efficiently than using the subway. Get an app, use the handy maps at pretty much every station, get one from a station worker. Get comfy with getting on and off trains, listening for your stop (or counting the stops if you can’t hear or see ’cause the car you’re in is insanely packed). Put more money on your MetroCard than you think you’ll need, chances are you’ll miss a stop or get on an express train or the stars will align just right and you’ll end up halfway to the Bronx when you were aiming for the Met. And just consider it a given that you’re going to eventually come across a slightly mentally disturbed person on at least one of your rides, and basically, just be polite if you’re pushed into a conversation and consider it a rite of passage here.

Museum of Natural History Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Go where you want to go. Seriously, visiting NYC can be so expensive, if you don’t make the most of the time you have here, you’re going to regret it like nothing else. So. Go to the museum you want to visit, and take terrible photos to send to friends! Go to the Disney store that smack dab right in the middle of  Times Square to get your boyfriend that Star Wars t-shirt you’ll know they’ll love, even though there seems to be thousands of people already in there. Just, if it’s what you want to do, do it. Wander around Chinatown, a little lost and out of place, enjoy the disorientation.  Explore, walk around and just enjoy the time you have here, if you’re not a native, you don’t have an excuse for not making the most of everyday here.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset egg rolls, NYC pizza with peppers wtf pizza on the upper west side Chinatown dinner

Eat at that dingy corner fast Chinese food place with the oddly dirty floor, I promise the egg rolls there will be delicious, they’re friend to an inch within their life so you’ll be fine, plus the elderly couple most likely working there will be really nice, probably, and give you two free ones.  Pop into that really fancy and slightly loud restaurant that smells so good walking past it when you’re on the Upper West Side, as long as the menu isn’t dusted in gold, you can probably afford it, just check the menu posted outside if you want to make sure. The service won’t be the best, they’re rushed and it’s a busy night, but the food, no matter what you get, will be excellent, and you’ll enjoy the time you spend there. When you go to China town, because you heard they have great food there, you probably won’t know where to eat, everywhere will look good. So just pick one. Pick the one that shines the brightest and has happy looking people inside. Pick the one that goes down narrow stairs and you can smell something delicious wafting up. Just pick and sit down, smile and laugh with your server and let them give you a fork and spoon with your chopsticks, it doesn’t matter if you DO know how to eat with them. Whatever, really. Order a lot and stuff your face, it’ll be worth it.

Duane Reede in manhattan

Duane Reade will have what you need, they are everywhere, and from that emergency umbrella that you drop in to buy when the skies open up to drown you a little, to the sunscreen moisturizer you come to see as miraculous on overly sunny days, they really will most likely have what you need. If not, there are an insane amount of random specialty shops all over Manhattan, just a simple walk down any street will have you finding that thing you really needed but forgot to bring. Also, buy souvenirs. Yes, for at least 15 minutes of your trip, be a total and unabashed tourist. Buy tons more postcards than you think you really need, and at least a couple of nice keychains. Don’t be the person who visits NYC and doesn’t bring back nifty souvenirs for their friends and family, even if they didn’t ask, they’re expecting it and really, postcards are so inexpensive compared to the slight guilt trip you’ll avoid with them. Also come on, you want a fridge magnet, just admit it.

battery park quiet

Enjoy the time you have here. I know I said that already but, it needs repeating. I was born, grew up here, and yet I cherish the days I get to visit this grand city. It is unlike any other, and from the crowded streets to the places that are almost deserted, you can find yourself both overwhelmed and slightly disappointed when things don’t click like you thought they would, when places you’ve seen so many times on film seem less bright then they were on screen, when you realize you can’t make it to everywhere you want to see in the time you have. NYC is not a perfect place, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There is so much imperfection here, so many flaws and scars and quietly groaning mistakes…..but that is what makes NYC as a whole, beautiful and amazing and worth the attention. It is most definitely a life changing experience, it’s going to be magnificent and fantastic and worth every minute, and basically you’re going to love it here.

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And finally, before you leave, on the day you leave, take a selfie. Artistically shot, terrible lighting, doesn’t matter. Send it to a friend, share it with everyone on facebook, or just keep it for yourself. You’ll understand after you’re back home, going through your photos of the trip and you finish with the one of your face, bright eyed and slightly exhausted, ready to go home and never wanting to leave this fantastic place.


Scales of the Universe- Museum of Natural History, NYC

These Scales of the UniverseHeilbrunn Cosmic PathwayHayden theater 81st Street ViewScales of the UniverseA Galaxy in Flux

Science is the name of the game here, discovery and wonder as well, but you’d have to be pretty set in your ways not to call this place, especially the Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, anything short of deliriously beautiful and slightly magical.

It's magnificent herePlanets in Scale Inside the Museum of Natural History Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway Photograph these pathways Saturn and Jupiter in ScaleLovely Architecture in the Natural History Museum Take a look up at Saturn Architectural Love in the Natural History Museum

This would be the last part of the Museum of Natural History me and Kat explored before heading out into the rainy weather to inquire about the possibility of food.  And while there are so many parts of the museum I didn’t get to see, I can say with certainty that the places and exhibits I did manage to marvel over, they were amazing and fantastic. And yes, I will totally be back one day, and then probably the next day, and then the day after that. Not only was almost every part of the museum full of mentally stimulating articles of interest, you get the feeling that everyone here, from the visitors to the people working and studying here, they very much want to be here. To the very foundations of the building, there is an intense adoration here. A love for learning, for reaching for more and further frontiers and ultimately for a betterment through discovery.


Mineral, Meteorite and Gems in the Museum of Natural History- Manhattan,NY

Petrified Wood in the Natural History Museum

The first floor of the Museum of Natural History is where I spent most of my visit, wandering the dimly lit and softly illuminated areas with moderated steps, pausing slowly at every display, camera set to capture everything I could with the least amount of disruption and a heart open overfilling with loveliness.

in the Museum of Natural History In the Hall of Gems These lovely things in the Museum of Natural History Look Closer- Hall of Gems Exploring in the Morgan Hall of Gems In the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems Lovelyness in the Natural History Museum Exploring on the first floor of the Museum of Natural History

Walking through the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins to fall into the Ross Hall of Meterorites, it all started to blur together in a dizzying way into the Guggenheim Hall of Minerals and the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems.  I wouldn’t even know these names if not for the helpful map I was given after paying the voluntary entry fee. When you’re actually there, it’s a fantastic journey of just following the pathways, circling around and back and sitting down for long moments of contemplation and just marveling at the beauty you’re sitting in the middle of.In the Hall of Minerals- Museum of Natural History These Lights, First Floor Look Closer, Hall of Minerals First floor of the Natural History Museum I Could Spend a Decade Here Minerals and other natural things Wolframite and others

There’s something very much like peace and euphoria that came over me in the time I spent in this part of the museum. Not just from the sheer beauty contained here, but also the history embedded in every particle of items displayed. The phrase, “Be humble for you are made of earth, be noble for you are made of stars ” that I see almost everyday overused on my tumblr dashboard has honestly never felt more relevant than when I was here.A Study in Minerals Lets Study Gems and Minerals yes? These are inspirations Number 14 a shock of green Bury me here, just a little Guggenheim of Minerals Standout GreyScale in the hall of Minerals Details in the Natural History Museum

Too much? At least I didn’t post my notebook pages filled with notes, notes and more notes. I really can’t wait to go back,  it surreal how much I enjoyed the time I spent here, truly.


The Museum of Natural History- Manhattan, NY Pt. 1

the Grand Gallery in the Natural History Museum If there was one place that could convince me to move back to NYC for good, it would be the Natural History Museum. Yup. If someone bought me a membership, I would be like “well, I mean, you can’t let a membership go to waste can you?” , pack my bags and find some willing roommates to rent a crappy apartment with and spend any extra money on pizza and egg rolls. I imagine I would be very unhealthy if I moved back.

The third day of me and Kats stay in NYC (or technically second, considering we didn’t cross into New York till after midnight that first day ), we woke up to rain rain and just so much rain. But thankfully we had anticipated that, and planned to visit museums instead of trying to walk around sight seeing. We decided to go through a list of museums to visit and pick one to devote the day to and since the Cooper-Hewitt Museum was at the time closed for extensive repairs, coupled with the fact that I geek out over anything to do with minerals and space, and given that Kat loves anthropology, it was easy to settle on the Museum of Natural History as our destination of choice.

Queuing at the Museum of Natural History Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda View The Natural History Museum Youth Quote Teddy Roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt quote in the Natural History Museum Manhood quote in the Natural History Museum Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda

Because of the rainy conditions of the day, it wasn’t too surprising the number of people waiting to get in when we arrived. Lines wove in and out, around and around, and while for a second there we considered turning back, we steadied ourselves and got in line. We queued for about 45 minutes, which seems slightly insane, but I can say with certainty it was  really, really worth it. I know i’ve never waited in a more beautiful area, the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda being a sight in and of itself.

Imagining Tech Hall In Natural History Museum One Is Born, One Dies, The Land Increases Exploring in the Museum of Natural History African Peoples Exhibits In the Natural History Museum Arrow Heads displays in the Natural History Museum Pottery Displays in the Natural History Musueum Exhibits in the Natural History Museum Entering Stout Hall of Asian Peoples Samurai Display in the Natural History Museum in Stout Hall of Asian Peoples exploring in the Natural History Museum

Me and Kat stayed on the second floor (which is where you enter from the main entrance on Central Park West ) for a good while, but as I was eager to see more, especially the Guggenheim Hall of Minerals we split up to meet up later.

cont. in pt. 2

Look Up, Look Around – Grand Central Terminal, NYC

The ornate arches in Grand Central A Specific Sign These Views Kill Me- Grand Central StationThis View- Grand CentralSee these constellation Let Me Fall In Love Here

There are a lot of place in Manhattan, in the world really, that are beautiful and can create a feeling of cherished awe inside a soul the moment you step inside. I have been at the edge of a wild coastline, staring out to the relentless ocean….I have stood on and beneath structures both immense and filled with the glory of brilliance, and I have bathed in the last light of the day shinning from the peaks of rugged mountains in slightly god forsaken places… and while I couldn’t tell you without a doubt that Grand Central Station deserves to be on everyones list of places to visit and marvel, it is most deservedly on mine. 

The Passerbys in Grand Central Lets Go- Grand Central Goddess it's beautiful here Kat Looks Up in Grand Central

If you tell me “I’m planning on visiting Manhattan” I will probably grab you by the shoulders and beg that you visit so, so many places, but the one that I will pause on, the one that I will say “Really, it’s hard to explain why, but please, take a pause here.” is Grand Central. I am in love with the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park always causes the inner explorer in me to go slightly batty, St. Patricks Cathedral makes me glow and light up inside, and museums abound in beauty and greatness here but. Grand Central station has an exceptional wonder that is hard to quantify in specific qualities, difficult to explain in words alone.

These Halls - Grand Central In the USA Black and White in the Gold of Grand Central Perhaps theres too much to love here We're Swimming in Opposite Directions This View- Grand CentralA Peek Up in Grand Central

There is so much beauty here, the kind that is both quiet and filled with loveliness as well as the kind that demands you look, really look, take in all the splendor. After exploring south manhattan with Kat, taking in the views beneath Brooklyn Bridge, we walked north-westish (that’s a real direction, trust me) and ended up in China town. We ate dinner at the Yeah Shanghai Deluxe, then got on the 6 train from Canal street and headed towards the Grand Central stop. And from there…

Grand Central Station 'tis all lovely in Grand Central Station Look up in Grand CentralAwe in Grand Central

Shaky hands from too much caffeine and jittery legs, iPhone shots to send to my friends immediately, and feeling overwhelmed with love for this place that I remembered ever so fondly from my childhood and teen years. I loved looking around and exchanging smiles with other people taking photographs of this amazing place, all the while making sure to stay out of the way of people rushing by to catch their trains, hurrying by to keep up with life.  Like the rest of Manhattan, you’re surrounded by all kinds of people, and with my love for people watching, soaking in all the details of life blurring by, this is the kind of place I could spend a day in, sketching life and jotting down thousands of ideas on rough paper pieces. Also, with all the dining options available here, you really could spend the day wandering in and out of the various levels and areas. I think Kat is probably grateful that I didn’t make her stay all day, but the time we spent here was really fantastic, and one of my favorite memories of the time we spend in NYC.