Chapter 18: New York – The city which never sleeps (part 1)

We left Boston with mixed feelings. On one hand we felt like leaving behind part of Europe again, on the other hand, we were looking for New York, new adventures already. The bus was leaving in the morning around 10am, therefore we quickly finished the amazing breakfast in the hostel, we packed our stuff, took special care for the gifts bought for Family and Friends and left the apartment.

The bus was on time and not really crowded. We went back to New York on the same route as we did come to Boston. It was a more than 4 hours trip by bus, however for a European being first time in the states, each trip (even the same road) gives always something extra. Therefore I was actually enjoying it.

We arrived to New York around 4-5pm. As usual the bus did stop at Port Authority Bus Station on the 42nd street. Leaving the bus, we were heading to the Metro station. We already booked our accommodation in advance, therefore at least, we did not have to struggle with it. We took the metro and went to Astor PI. I remember the metro station as in the evening we went to Washington square park by walk and it was really close. To be honest, I don’t remember the place we have stayed, but I know for sure it was a hostel somewhere in East Village, with rooms full with bunk-beds. There were no small rooms for 3 people, only rooms for 8-12 people full with bunk-beds separated for men and women. Therefore me, Adam and Eva couldn’t stay in 1 room as we did in Boston. The lucky thing was that at least we were on the same floor.

After arriving to the hostel we found out soon that it won’t be the same as in Boston. No luxury breakfast and almost no space for luggage. To be honest, I did not feel very well when entering the room. It was small, 4 bunk-bed, 1 bath room for 8 people. It was not something I was used to stay in the past. I was also a little bit afraid of the safety. I did not hear good things overall about safety in New York, specially not in hostels, where many people are coming/ leaving. However except of the gifts, photos and some closes, I did not have anything valuable with me. As it was not so late, we left everything there, took only our passport and other personal belongings and went to discover the city.

First we grabbed something to eat. There was a fast food close by the hostel, grabbed a burger and went straight to the Washington Square Park. The place was really looking great. We sit down and enjoyed the food looking at the park and people around.

In September is getting dark already after 7pm. We walked a bit toward the Empire state building and enjoying a bit Manhattan. As you might remember, I already spent 1 night in New York before the camp started, however I was not going fare away from my hostel. I did not know the place and did not want to risk to get lost. However now, I was not worried. No plans, just to see as much as possible from the city.

It became soon dark, therefore we decided to go back to our place, have a drink somewhere close and get to known our roommates, as we will spend with them a few days. Unfortunately there are no pictures made (at least I don’t have any) from that evening, but we had a great time. We went back to our room, met 2 guys from Morocco, one from Germany and another one from France. We were almost the same age and went out for a drink. It was really hard to found a bar where we could find a place to sit. Almost all the bard were fully crowded. Finally, we found a small bar, and I could get my beer. It was a bit surprising that the beer did cost 5 bucks, however the bartender took 6 as the tip was automatically included. I did not know that in the United States you have to pay tips everywhere and often they are automatically included in the bill. In general the tip is between 18 and 22%, however you can give more. People don’t appreciate if you give less. Anyway, it was a new experience worth or learn it.

After few beers and some cigarettes (yes, during those times I did smoke. I’m not really proud of it, however I had some hard times after me. Specially it was coming to the first anniversary of my fathers death. Whenever I went during/ after the camp and I bought souvenirs for my Family and Friends, I was always thinking about my father. What kind of souvenir would he like. How happy he would be seeing the gifts from United States. He always wanted to visit New York, unfortunately this never happened. At least I could fulfill partially his dream and visit the states.). We went back to our place. I took shower and got ready for a sleep, as tomorrow a long day was ahead of me full with walks and sightseeing. More to come in the next chapter.

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