Sunday, December 16, 2012

The New York Saga: How I Ended Up Solo In NYC

Time to Stand Alone
 The advertisement by Jet Blue listed $49 each way from Chicago to New York for several dates in February. I almost fell off the Blue Line "L" platform because it seemed too good to be true. I rushed to my desk at work to tell my friends that this was it-the NY trip- and we couldn’t pass it up. I waited for the excitement level to match mine. It never did. I was deflated and confused. Didn’t they understand? This is a round trip flight to NYC for a $100!!!  Unfortunately, it was a bad time for everyone else. Or in hindsight maybe no one was as fixated on New York as I was.  I was so disappointed. I had been thinking so much of New York especially after becoming obsessed with Sex and The City. And, of course, I love fashion and wanted to see the stylish New Yorkers up close and personal. Well, after much internal agonizing and talking my co-workers ears off about it, I made a decision.  I was going to New York alone. This was a big deal for me at the time.  I tended to base all my decisions around the opinions and support of my friends. Everything seemed to be less interesting, exciting, or important if they weren’t involved. Yet, I just couldn’t get pass the nagging feeling that I needed to take advantage of this chance to go to Manhattan.

NYC On the Cheap
I went to Border’s and bought a book, Frommers: New York on $99 A Day.  Through Frommer's  I learned that going to New York between January and February was a great way to save money on hotels. Sure, it was going to be cold as you know what, but I was a single girl working on a private college salary and I needed all the savings I could get. Plus, I’m from Chicago and figured that I could withstand the cold with the right tools. By tools I mean thermal underwear, tights, and my trusty Timberland boots.  I perused the book to get dining recommendations and learn about the best places to shop.

After booking my flight I found a deal for a boutique hotel in the Theatre district through I chose the hotel based on the price and its’ proximity to a few major attractions. I knew I didn’t want to have to spend a ton of money on taxis. So, I was definitely hoping to walk most of the time. I also purchased a voucher for a shuttle to and from my hotel. Finally,  I went online and booked the Sex and The City tour (an obvious necessity) and a shopping tour of the garment district. My entire four day trip came  to a little over $550 with tours included.

Making a Safety Plan
While everyone seemed a little surprised I was taking the leap to go alone, they were also worried about how I would stay alive on the “mean” NY streets particularly my Uncle Keith. He said I needed to be careful because it would be like an episode of Law & Order “where the last footage they will have of is of you getting on the elevator.” He was adamant that I stay in Manhattan and not venture into the boroughs. I also figured that I would only wander the streets until no later than 9:30 or so.  I told my friend Melody and my aunt to expect a text from me every night by 10p.m. and if they didn’t receive it to call the police. I  was NOT kidding.

The plan was set. Everything was in motion and there was no turning back (I mean really no turning back because nothing was refundable).  I was about to head to New York city and I was doing it alone. I was so excited, but not just about the trip; it was liberating to do something just for me and not to base it around other people.  This trip was a big step forward for me.

Stay tuned for more about my NYC trip.

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