The final instalment from our travel journal – The travelling Adventure of Laura & Nicole in the summer of 2009. Illustrated with images shot on B&W film on my Olympus OM10.
Monday 3rd August
We caught the 5hr ‘Mega Bus’ to New York City today. Driving towards the skyline of Manhatten was an incredible feeling! As we exited the Lincoln Tunnel it was a bizarre feeling.. we were excited, nervous and strangely revelling in the fact that this was the end. A beautiful way to finish our trip before heading home *Somewhere I have been missing soo much recently.
Our hostel was on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue, so we took a subway ride to get there. I sat on my enormous backpack as all seats were taken and a mariachi band jumped on the train for one stop. They played Mexican music and cheered everyone up, it was so random! A guy in a smart suit sat next to me and asked “What are you smiling at?” and I replied “I’m in New York City, how can I NOT smile!?” He advised me not to smile or look at anyone as i’d likely get robbed! Wow.
This evening we caught a Hostel tour to Staten Island, Wall Street & Times Square. The staten island memorial for twin tower victims was beautifully lit and so personal. We headed back over to Manhattan on the ferry and even at 11.30pm it was heaving with people/tourists/taxi’s/police! It really was crazy but so much fun. It really is the city that never sleeps!
Wednesday 5th August
Before we left the UK, a friend of mine recommended I sign up to Big Apple Greeter. Its a volunteer programme where local New Yorkers show you around to the non touristy spots and show you cool places to eat, shop, see etc.. Our guide was called ‘S’ and he was awesome! We went to visit the former home of John Lennon & Yoko Ono as well as the memorial garden in Central Park. We ate “Everything bagels”, Deli shopped at Zabars and listened to his stories about living in the city. I cannot recommend it highly enough, we had a real taste of authentic New York. I have a feeling this will be my favourite day!
In the afternoon we hit China Town which was insane! It smelled soo bad and was just as loud, bustling and dirty as actual Asia. I couldn’t see New York through the porcelain goods and noodle street food. We totally loved it and enjoyed dumplings as we watched the people on the street. After we visited Little Italy and Soho but were too sleepy to really enjoy it. It was crammed with homely boutiques and quirky fashion houses.. my eyes were swooning.
Friday 7th August
Yesterday we went on a walking tour of Brooklyn with a man who was pushing 80yrs old. We visited Williamsburg which was much more chilled out with a cool art vibe. I could sit in a coffee shop here sketching for the rest of my life! As we walked back over the Brooklyn Bridge, I had such an empowering feeling! Like I was on top of the world. We were in NYC and soon we were going back home and for the first time in my life, I was excited about the UK. Seeing it, exploring it and living it.
We went to a market in Greenwich Village and I was so swept up in the culture here. We tasted organic food, tried on handmade clothes and chatted with locals. I want to live here! I want to pick up my boyfriend and my dog and move to Greenwich Village. After staring at the apartment where ‘Friends’ is set and the ‘street’ where Carrie from Sex & The City lived, we decided to hit the movie hotspots – The New York Public Library and Grand Central Station.. They were amazing!
One thing I LOVE about walking the city is the people watching. I guess that’s been a big element to my shooting on this trip, there are so many characters out on the street, waiting to be photographed and often just wanting to be listened too. A great reason to travel light and frankly living cheap, is the real experiences your getting. No, we haven’t seen the Empire State Building but we have met the real people of New York. We have seen so many incredible places and I cant wait to get home and develop all these photographs and re-live all the moments of the trip. Travel really does broaden the mind.. and the heart. I hope one day I have the chance to come back x