Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Yaaaawwwwwk!!!!

As the plane touched down into the John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, I felt tears well in my eyes. For many years, New York had been the one place I had always dreamed of visiting. For the girl that had traveled everywhere, New York was the place that would always be unreachable...

Virgin America’s A-320 descended easily into New York at 5.30am after a smooth flight across the continent. I had not closed my eyes from the time the plane took off from LAX to the time it touched the tarmac at JFK. I was far too excited to bother about sleeping. While I passed some time by excitedly consuming copious amounts of airplane coffee, I for the most part sat and listened to my Ipod whilst staring out the window. I watched the states pass underneath me, destinations which sounded familiar only because of storybooks and television shows. Los Angeles, Colorado (hi EC!!), Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania were each greeted with an excited smile, as I eagerly watched as the little plane icon move closer and closer to New York. There was always something to keep me occupied – from the lights of Denver, the electrical storm that rolled in underneath us over Chicago to the red, burnt orange and neon blue glow created by the sun rising over the states of Pennsylvania and New York.

The sheer size of JFK airport is hard to fathom and with over nine terminals in the precinct, there was always going to be a risk that I would not find Ruth, who had traveled from LA to New York on a different and slightly earlier flight. Surprisingly though, she had found her way to Terminal Four and we literally bumped into each other within minutes of me coming out of the departure gates. We made our way out of JFK on the Airtrain to Jamaica Station, where we took the New York Subway to 50th Street in Manhattan. Throughout the journey, I would experience random bursts of excitement, which usually arose from seeing familiar names on signs – Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, 5th Avenue…I was finally in New York. The surprising thing was that, despite being barely 7.00am on a Saturday morning, there was always a kind man or two to assist us to pull our bags through subway station or drag them across platforms into lifts.

Either Manhattan has a large population of gentlemen, or they were still drunk from the prior night…?

It only seemed fair that our first stop in New York was a Starbucks on the corner of 50th Street and 8th Avenue (that said, at 7.00am, there was little else open in New York to put our bags and our weary selves!). We had five hours to pass before we were able to board the cruise ship, so for a couple of hours, Ruth played around on the internet while I ventured outside for a quick wander around Times Square and Broadway. It did not seem right to sit in a coffee shop while New York was waking up around me!

Despite my weary eyes, I wandered around a few of the blocks around 50th Street, and I found myself rubbing my eyes in amazement as Times Square came into view. I couldn’t help but let out a little squeal as I walked past the “Ed Sullivan Theatre”, home of the Late Show with David Letterman, and I must admit, I did a little tap dance past where Chicago is being staged on Broadway. I even threw out a few “glitter fingers” as I saw the theatre that housed “Mamma Mia”.

I also managed to avoid being mown down at the traffic lights by looking both ways (cars drive on the wrong side of the road in the US!).

The sun had risen in New York and the sky was a clear blue as we arrived at the bustling Manhattan Terminal. The Carnival Miracle was parked at its berth and the sheer size of the boat took my breath away. A few happy snaps of the boat ensued. The large crew was busily unloading passengers whilst another prepared the boat for the oncoming guests. It was a hive of activity, which I found a little overwhelming, given that I had a “proper” sleep in over 24 hours. Tired and irritable, Ruth and I still managed to drag our bags through the terminal, dodging large tour groups, wedding parties, families, limousines, forklifts, lorries, over-tanned post-cruise couples, wheelchairs, drink vendors, suitcases and security in order to find two seats. We were grateful to find two seats, where we sat and waited until it was time to board.


  1. And so the adventure out President Obama, K's in town. Make the most of every minute in NY, it's a city that never sleeps(I've been told). Great shots of the Big Apple too. Keep living that dream.

  2. Love it Kate. Your description had me feeling I was there with you, I wish. Great work. Cant wait for the next installment.Love Mum