BY BRITTANY PREOCANIN
Have you ever felt inclined to unexpectedly take a trip somewhere? After a very long conversation about how much we had been working, my cousin and I decided to take a mini vacation.
It only took a few minutes before we had booked a trip to New York City for $600, with Comfort Tour Canada, including transportation and hotel.
There were 48 precious hours to explore the Big Apple, with 5th Avenue shops, bustling Times Square, Off Broadway musicals and nature’s oasis in Central Park.
A 6 a.m. wakeup call and the brisk morning air gets you out of a travel coma for your Day 1 exploration — I’m sorry if you thought this would be a relaxing trip.
On the way into mid-town you pick up a cynical American tour guide and off you go to absorb the culture of the city, with its architectural skyscrapers, street performers and subway systems.
First stop is a stroll through Central Park, filled with trees, open fields and man-made ponds, weaving paths, bridges and a slew of joggers that make you feel guilty for the pancakes you had at breakfast.
Covering more than 843 acres of New York City land, Central Park would take almost a full day to walk through its entirety.
So with a short visit to the Strawberry Fields tribute to John Lennon, located within the park across from his old Dakota apartment, you decide to hop back on the bus.
Passing MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art) on 53rd Street and making your way down to Grand Central Station, the skyscrapers of Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building obstruct your view of whether it’s a sunny day.
The tour guide on the other hand suggests that the $32 elevator ride to the Top of the Rock will leave you speechless with its view of New York City.
Who wouldn’t want to ride up 70 floors for a 360-degree view anyways?
You eventually arrive at Grand Central Station to see the iconic clock, featured in the 1978 Superman movie and many other films, located in the centre of a wide-open room. You look around waiting in hopes that a flash mob will erupt with Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” theme song.
But instead you head downstairs to the Shake Shack — originally a single hot dog cart located in Madison Square Park that grew into a franchise in 2004 — where a burger that will not disappoint is handed to you in exchange for $9 (U.S.).
Next stop, the chaotic, “Crossroads of the World,” the energy-filled, commercialized site for the New Year’s Eve ball drop, Times Square.
Known as the Heart of Manhattan, it is impossible to take in all at once, with flashing billboards, brightly lit shops and people walking in every direction, you can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed.
The tour guide bids you adieu as you seek out the TKTS hut for Broadway shows, hidden behind all the lights and confused tourists. When you hop in line for the discounted day-of-show tickets you’re bombarded with pamphlets for musicals. Should you see Chicago, Kinky Boots or Matilda?
Once the booth opens and the line starts moving, you realize your time is running out. You quickly decide to see the story about a man who designs high heels for drag queens and pray that tonight Wayne Brady will play the part of Lola.
With a couple of hours before the show, you head to Hells Kitchen for dinner at Il Forno on 8th Avenue, a classy Italian bistro with life-changing mushroom risotto, at a surprisingly decent price.
Following dinner you grab a cannoli from a pizza and pastry shop a block down from the restaurant, because after all, you’re in New York and a cannoli is practically a staple dessert. With a pastry and Kinky Boots ticket in hand, you head to 45th Street for a heart-warming, hysterical, upbeat musical performance with gorgeous heels and extravagant costumes.
Leaving the theatre just after 10 p.m. you start your trek toward 8th Avenue and head south to Pennsylvania Station for your one-way train ride to New Brunswick, New Jersey, where hotels are cheaper than mid-town ones.
Below is a map of our second day in the city including travel, price points, shopping districts—if you want to feel like a true New Yorker—and the best tourist destinations for a 20-something-year-old.