New York, New York Part 2

Arriving at JFK, knackered, jetlagged and half drugged (from the sleeping pills), we brisk-walked our way to Customs, only to find out that there is a very very long queue developing. I was optimistic though as I thought that eventhough the queue was long, I was certain that it'll be quick. How wrong was I, what I initially thought was a half hour max wait, suddenly became one hour, by then, my optimism drained and I became annoyed and angry. More annoyed when I realised that there were hundreds of people queuing but only a few customs counters were opened.

Literally a couple of hours later, our turn finally came. There was a small situation during this customs check up that I prefer not to share but basically we had spent another hour being put in a room where should I say 'additional check ups' were required'. Inside the room, I saw a number of people of various ethnicities; of Arab descent, Chinese, and Eastern European. It was then that I realised that our long wait to get us out of the airport was not ending there, evidently we had to wait more for another interview until we're approved entry. What was already two hours queuing, was now becoming ever-ending. After an hour of waiting for our turn (again), we were finally called up, with misspronunciation of my name no less. Less than five minutes  of interview, we were approved and the whole waiting ordeal was over. Yup, one hour wait just for a five minutes interview.

As soon as we're out, we hopped on a yellow cab and left for the City. By this time it was 1500PM. As soon as we arrived, checked in our room, put our things down, and immediately crashed to our beds. 30+ hours of flight, and three hours of waiting at the airport: that's pretty much more than a day spent being on air. Oh, for the first night we stayed at The Paul Hotel, a very hipstery hotel that perhaps pays homage to Paul McCartney, seeing the may Beatles and McCartney's references in and around the vicinity.

Around 3AM we woke up, trying to get a sense of time. We realised we just slept for 12 hours, not knowing what to do, we killed time watching reruns of Friends and other 90's series for the next three hours. By 6 we got ourselves ready and started out to spend our first actual day in the city. We walked for a few hundreds yard for the first thing in our agenda - Coffee. Not just plain ol' coffee, but coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters just next to the Ace Hotel.

We then made our way to the Washington Square Park near Greenwich Village and took some photos of the park. From there on we ventured around the Village and explore the many interesting place there. Greenwich Village or the West Village is known to be the City’s bohemian enclave, where historically artists, writers, eccentrics and students thrive in the cultural neighbourhood. So much of authentic American culture is born on these streets. We practically walked from one end of the village to other, walking along Bleecker Street, the the renowned shopping street in New York.

Along the way we came across a very familiar sight and perhaps one of the famous apartments in the City - The Friends Apartment. The Friends Apartment is located at 90 Bedford Street, at the corner of Bedford and Grove. Trivia: Supposedly the apartment is above the fictional Central Perk cafe, and every once in a while they have a bumper shot before scenes at Central Perk that shows a red Village Cigars sign. This sign is actually located at the corner of Christopher Street and Seventh Avenue, and not at Bedford and Grove. A few photo ops later, we made our way to the Chelsea Market.

Set in a historic factory, Manhattan's Chelsea Market is now home to some of the city's finest epicurean shops and restaurants. Chelsea Market reminded me of Covent Garden in London; it just looks and feels the same. The place was absolutely packed! Apart from clothings and accessories, the market is known mostly for their wide array of food choices and delis. Too bad we could not try any of the foods. But nonetheless, it was interesting to see and experience the different types of food and delicacies the place had to offer - Italian, American, Japanese, Seafood - you name it!

After lunch we made our way back to the hotel and checked out, and carried our luggages to our Airbnb, located at the Upper East Side. Safe to say we actually struggled during the first day in the City due to jetlagged. We didnt do much the rest of the day, I did a bit of laundry and whilst Sarah cooked an early dinner. Late in the afternoon, we could not bear it anymore and decided to call it a day. It didn't take long for us to crash.




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