1) When you get off the plane and exit the airport, there might be a man standing outside in a long black coat. Now if you’re looking lost and clueless because it’s your first time there – like it was for us – he’ll probably pretend to be nice and ask you if you’re looking for a taxi. And if you’re naïve and tired like we were, you’ll probably smile and say “sure,” then follow him because you think he’s showing you to the place where you can catch a taxi. However, this is not the case at all. He’ll actually lead you to the shady part of a parking garage, and will try to get you to ride in his town car for a flat rate. One thing you must keep in mind is that he’s just trying to make an extra buck, and will probably charge you more than you would pay for a yellow taxi into the city. Also, if you tell him no, be prepared because there will be a bunch of other men just like him circling around like vultures in similar cars waiting to snatch you up. The best thing to do when you exit the airport is to look for the long line of people waiting by the curb for yellow taxis.
On a side note, another lesson I learned about taxis in NYC is that they are IMPOSSIBLE to catch on a Friday night after 5:00 PM. I used to think I was an expert at flagging down taxis because I’ve lived in Seoul, South Korea, where catching one is an art form, but NYC is a completely different beast. You can try jumping out in front of one, flashing your naughty pillows at one, waving your beating heart around in your fist while making the offer that the driver can sell it on the black market for 100% profit, but no taxi will stop for you, EVER. You’re better off just walking to your destination — no matter how far you have to go. We learned this the hard way, but at least it was fun trying for the first ten minutes.
2) Some hotels have these giant stone heads in their lobbies that look like they belong in that Prometheus movie, and by some, I actually mean one – the Grand Hyatt next to Grand Central Station. I honestly felt like these statues were going to start glowing and suck out my soul every time I walked by them. Do you remember that scene from the Neverending Story with the Sphinx Gate? You know when the statues would start to glow and disintegrate anyone with an impure heart who passed by? Yes, I feared that statue would do exactly the same to me, but I guess my heart was pure enough, and I am safe, still in one piece as you can see, since I’m writing this new blog post, atm.
3) The food in NYC is amazing, and the highlights of the good eats I enjoyed are as follows:
- Matzo ball soup and peanut butter pie at Scotty’s Diner. It was my first time trying matzo ball soup in my entire life, and it was delicious! Though, the peanut butter pie is what ultimately made my taste buds Gangnam Style dance right off my tongue. It was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, and I kind of wish I could go back to NYC, solely for this peanut butter pie.
- NYC style pizza. We went to John’s Pizzeria in Times Square because it was listed as being in NYC top 10 places for pizza. It was a 20 minute wait, but the pizza was oh so tasty. We got the margarita pizza made with fresh mozzarella, and we had no problem eating the entire thing. I also learned the difference between NY style pizza and Chicago style pizza. NY style’s crust is super thin, while Chicago style’s is super thick.
- We also visited Café Boulud for brunch. I had the buttermilk pancakes and rib hash, which were 100% heavenly. But to be honest, I had never felt so out of place in my entire life. It’s one of those fancy smancy places where if you pick up the wrong fork or look the wrong way the staff and other patrons judge you. I mean, I’m sure this was all in my head, but it was still awkward. Though if you want to experience luxury dining in NYC with good food, I suggest you go here, since it’s close to The Met and you can walk there afterward.
- Turkey burger at the Old Town Bar. The fries were delicious and the meat was seasoned and cooked exactly the way I like it. Not to mention, they had bottles of Stella, which rounded out the meal perfectly.
- Butternut squash ravioli at The Cafeteria. This was my favorite meal in NYC. The squash was ripe and sweet, and they added just the right amount of cheese to the dish. The service was also excellent at this place.
4) Times Square is a big tourist trap with interesting crazies left and right.
- One guy posed as a cop and pretended to stop us for jaywalking to ask for Hurricane Sandy donations. He kind of scared the bejeezus out of me at first, but he did end up giving us adorable pink NY beanies for donating and sweet talked the heck out of us.
- One guy stopped my friend and asked her for weed money.
- You need to watch out for Mickey Mouse and friends in Times Square. Mickey will try to act all innocent and ask you if you want to take a picture with him, but will actually try to molest you if he gets close enough – hence my friend’s awkward picture where he’s reaching for her boob with his tongue out.
5) They have Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome looking limousines.
Don’t ask me why and how, but they do!
6) You can spend all day in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but
will never see all the amazing things they have on display. My favorite displays were the Van Gogh paintings and antique musical instruments.
- Van Gogh has always been one of my favorite artists, and it was my first time ever seeing any of his work in person. Let me say the real thing doesn’t compare to any pictures you see in textbooks. The originals are breathtaking and I could have stared at them all day. There’s so much intricacy and texture to his work, things you can’t really notice unless you see them in real life.
- I also liked the flute exhibit in the instruments wing because I’m a flautist myself.
7) Central Park blanketed in snow is
breathtaking. You can also write cool things in the snow on its border wall. Things like your name, things about the weather, and things about… well I’m not going to explain that last one.
8) NYC is a city teaming with life! I met a lot of nice people, and absolutely loved being surrounded by every kind of person imaginable when I walked around on its streets.
9) NYC is tons of fun to enjoy with a friend!!! You can ask my friend, Steph. We had a great time figuring out how to tackle and have fun in the city!
10) NYC is an addictive city, and I can’t wait to go back!!! I really think I’d like to live and work in NYC someday.
Have you been to NYC before? What was your most interesting encounter there?
If you haven’t, where have you been or would like to go?
Thanks for stopping by.
Even though I’m not a book blogger anymore, I’m going to start doing a monthly wrap up of all the books I’ve read and enjoyed each month. This month I’ve read a total of 15 books, and the ones I really loved are as follows (All images in this entry link back to Good Reads):
- Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. It’s a British Gothic mystery novel
with supernatural elements. It was witty, charming, creepy, and sexy in all the right places, and I absolutely adored all of the characters, especially the protagonist, Kami. Her sense of humor was spot on for me, and I really appreciated the fact that Brennan explored how being Eurasian can affect one’s personal identity through her, which is something I can relate to a lot.
- Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder, a powerful story about abuse – full of pain, beauty, and hope. I will admit that it was difficult for me to read at first, since I had felt a deep sadness for Rae and her situation, but was glad that I had stuck with it until the end because of the overall uplifting message. Schroeder’s poetry was impressive, and I think she truly understood the psychology behind abusive relationships.
- Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a historical fiction novel set in Europe during WWII, and is about two teenage girls, Maddie a pilot, and Julie a talented agent. Wein’s rich descriptions and suspenseful situation gripped me straight from the beginning. She captures just how strong the bonds of friendship and the human spirit can be in the darkest of times. This is a story I think I’ll have to reread every year because it’s just that beautifully haunting. It was also recently announced as a 2013 Printz Award winner, so if you’re still hesitant about reading it, know that it’s a book held in high esteem. ;)
- Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi. This is the second book in a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian trilogy. I read Under the Never Sky last year, and love love loved it like crazy! To be honest, I had a deep fear that this book would fall short of its predecessor, but I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. The character development was stronger than ever, and the action sequences had me on the edge of my seat the whole entire time. There were some very sexy moments between Aria and Perry, and I fell hard for Roar. It really is one of the better YA Dystopian series out there, so if you’re looking to start one, there isn’t one I can recommend more than this one.
- Just One Day by Gayle Forman. It’s a coming of age novel about a girl named Allyson as she grows into her own identity. Allyson is a very relatable character, one that teenage girls of past and present can feel a strong connection to. She travels Europe, discovers love, loses love, finds strength in losing that love, and finally finds the courage to stand on her own and confront her hovering mother. Forman also does a masterful job of building intrigue and tension between Allyson and Willem, Allyson’s love interest. Their interactions are electric, and the best way to describe their dialogue is that it’s straight up sexy. I can’t wait to read Just One Year in the fall, which is the rest of their story told from Willem’s perspective. This book should also come with a warning label because it will make you hungry for delicious and random things.
- The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross. This is the second book in The Steampunk Chronicles. I read its predecessor The Girl in the Steel Corset last year, and loved it, so of course I had to follow up and read the sequel. Clockwork Collar did not disappoint. The fun levels were straight through the roof, comparable to the first book. You can’t just go wrong with X-men like characters and Steampunk.
- Gates of Paradise by Melissa De La Cruz, the final book in the Blue Bloods series. It was truly touching to see my favorite characters finally get the endings they all fought so hard for and deserved. This finale was seven years in the making, and I was sad to let this series go.
- Boundless by Cynthia Hand, the final book in the Unearthly Trilogy. This series is one of few paranormal romance series I’ve loved from start to finish. These books have so much to offer in terms of lessons about love, loss, friendship, and purpose. I honestly think there’s no way I can sum this series up in a way that will do it justice, so you’ll just have to read it for yourself if you’re interested. Though, I will say that this finale was bittersweet, beautiful, and what I hoped for in many ways.
And that’s a wrap of my favorite reads for this month. What were some of yours?
On January 23, 2013, I hopped in my car and drove two hours to Decatur, GA. Why did I do this? To attend the Melissa De La Cruz signing at the Little Shop of Stories, of course! For those of you who don’t know, she’s currently touring for the last book in her Blue Bloods Series, Gates of Paradise. Blue Bloods has been a seven year long love affair for me, one involving the guilty pleasures of vampires, fallen angels, and Gossip Girl combined, which is why I had to attend this signing!
Melissa De La Cruz was full of energy, super nice, and told us all kinds of juicy and interesting tidbits about her books as she wrote them. Highlights included:
- Both Mel Gibson and Charlize Theron were interested in producing a Blue Bloods movie at certain points in time. They even got as far as having lawyer meetings with Charlize, but the deal had eventually fallen through because Charlize wanted the straight to DVD movie rights too.
- The model on the cover of Revelations was actually one of Melissa’s editors at Disney*Hyperion. She was a former ballerina and had a pretty neck, so they decided to use it for the cover art.
- Melissa’s husband helped her write some of her books, which is why the opening of Misguided Angel starts off with a boat chase.
- Dehua and Deming Chen, the Chinese venator twins featured in the books, are actual people. Melissa went to college with Dehua, and both twins eventually went on to veejaying jobs at MTV Shanghai and MTV Hong Kong. The Dehua and Deming’s niece actually read the Blue Blood series and contacted Melissa, asking her if she knew her aunts.
- The CW was actually developing a Blue Bloods television show during the same time they were developing The Vampire Diaries. Vampires had been hot at the time, so the network wanted to pick up a vampire series for teens, and were going to choose between the two. But sadly, they had trusted the producer of TVD more, and ended up choosing that project. This was my favorite tidbit because if they had chosen Blue Bloods, we’d all be drooling over a Jack Force, Oliver Hazard Perry, and Kingsley Martin instead of those boring old Salvatore Brothers right now. Yep, I said it, I find the Salvatore Brothers boring, and like the men of Blue Bloods a lot more. Not to mention, I think Schuyler Van Alen would have been a far more interesting lead than Elena Gilbert, but I guess that’s just my personal preference. ;)
- Melissa and her husband signed on to write a new series called Frozen, which is supposed to be like LoTR in reverse.
- And finally, Melissa announced that she’s signed a deal to write a spin-off series of Blue Bloods with the adult division of Hyperion. It’s going to be called The Vampires of Manhattan, featuring all the Blue Bloods main players as adults!!! We rarely ever get to see this happen with YA series, so I’m very excited to see how all the characters end up faring in their grownup lives.
All in all, the night was a night full of fun. I was able to meet other book loving friends, hear inside info about the series, chat with Melissa, snap a few pictures, and get some books signed.
On a side note, Blue Bloods is one of only two Young Adult vampire series I’ve ever really enjoyed, the other being Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Twilight has really soured the genre in general for me, so if you’re looking for a new vampire series to read, I suggest Blood Bloods or Vampire Academy. They’re both good, but in different ways.
Thanks for stopping by,
P.S. - I’m also going to attend the Dark Days Tour on February 5th, so expect a post about Cynthia Hand, Veronica Rossi, Brodi Ashton, and Tahereh Mafi coming your way soon!