Alex Oetzell


Once inside the city I relied on walking and Subway. I got to do all the big touristy stuff by buying the kinda "all in one" package/coupon pass thing. Top of the Rock and Empire State. The big art Museums, 9/11 memorial Museum, a boat ride around the entirety of Manhattan that took almost 5 hours and I got to skip all the lines. I think it cost me a little over $100 for that coupon book. Well worth it. So I balled in NY on a budget. The best stuff was free though. Walking the highland and just browsing Brooklyn, eating a hot dog in Central Park, John Lennon memorial, checking out the library, watching people play public pianos and people watching in time square. All the typical activities. 

Last time I was in New York I was just a kid and it was before 9/11. I got to check out a bunch of touristy stuff, and meet up with old friends this time around. "Doing" the big apple was very intimidating in a van, but it turned out to be EASY and cheap, so I spend a week there. Here's how it worked. I drove through New Jersey and played it safe and parked at a Walmart (for what I thought would be one night) a few miles away from the Lincon tunnel. Turns out this Walmart was the Meca of Walmart boondocks. It was insane, there were campers, trucks, and even people setting up tents in the big backlot of Walmart. In that same parking lot there was a bus you could take into the city and right back up to the parking lot for $8 round trip and it ran about every 10 minutes, and ran till 2 am. So I stayed a quick ride outside of the city for basically free. It turned out to be the easiest, safest way I portably could have "done" New York.

I investigated a few things off the beaten path. Hess's triangle which is the smallest pice of property owned in New York, this was also right outside the big gay ice-cream shop so naturally indulged too. I went to the Fearless Girl statue, which I was keen to see after reading an interesting article on it; . I also ran all over Brooklyn to get a rainbow bagel for myself and a friend. 

Defiantly the highlight of New York City was seeing a couple old friends. Familar faces on a very long trip in a van is more of a treat than big gay ice-cream. My friend from way back in elementary school showed me around Washington park, Brooklyn bridge and a bunch of other cool areas. We got some fantastic pizza and Ramen too. I also got a night out with a friend from my study abroad program in Italy. We went to the top of the Empire State Building at night, and just had a really nice time. As I said, seeing familiar faces on this trip was so wonderful, and I can't thank all my friends enough for taking time out of their busy lives to show me around. Forever grateful.