Experiencing NYC During a 10 hour Layover
Currently, Mark and I are on our way to Durban, South Africa. Our travel time is a whopping 48 hours- in which we had layovers in New York City, Milan, and Durban. But how did we choose what to do in the Big Apple in such a short amount of time?
I have never been to New York City, or really past the Mason Dixon line. To be completely honest, the concrete jungle wasn't on my bucket list before this trip. For a southern gal, Charlotte, NC was a big enough city for me- until New York completely changed my mind in the matter of hours.
Knowing our trip would be short and impossible to get the full experience of New York living, we picked which part of the city we would actually experience on the bus ride to the city itself. Not planning exactly how we were going to get there and where we were actually going could've been an absolute nightmare for most but I loved the rush of it all.
JFK Airport to New York City
There are several options for mode of transportation: taxi, uber, train, and bus. After quickly researching, we realized our best options were down to either a train or bus. This decision was the easiest of the entire trip because neither broke the bank and both were reliable and relatively quick. We opted to pay a little more for the bus since it would save us time.
The bus ride into the city was breathtaking and beautiful- it also gave us time to decide where we wanted to go. Both being complete foodies, it took all of five minutes before deciding Chinatown.
P.S. Do not spend time deciding on whether or not to leave your carry on at a baggage storage center. Just do it. Trust me. This not only exhausted us but slowed us down by a landslide. Check the images out below- Mark even carried his diving fins around NYC!
Somewhere in the Middle of NYC to Chinatown
Once we got off the bus, to say that both of us were overwhelmed would be an understatement. Not in the "stressed out holy shit we are going to die here" kind of way but just having to take it a lot of things all at once. Everything interested me, we could've spent all day just on the same street the bus stop was. After wandering around a park square for about 30 minutes, we snapped out of it and found the nearest subway station.
The subway station was our biggest hardship on this little adventure. Neither one of us knew what the hell was going on and it took about an hour and half for us to: 1. figure out how to ride the subway, 2. ride the subway a few times and get lost, 3. finally arrive on Canal Street in Chinatown.
Chinatown, with the rest of New York City, looked just as it does in the movies. Just as quickly as we picked Chinatown as a destination, we chose one of the first restaurants we laid our eyes on. IT WAS THE BOMB. No, I don't know the name of it or where it was located in Chinatown. We did spend time looking for the subway stations but when we got to our location, we soaked in every detail that we could. I didn't spend time looking for the best rated restaurants. Going with the flow always tends to lead to the best experiences, luckily I have Mark to remind me of that. At the restaurant, I asked for the most popular thing on the menu and minutes later the waitress appeared with a noodle bowl that could've fed a family of five.
Chinatown to Grand Central Station
As soon as we stepped out of the restaurant, a thunderstorm shook the city, sending most people off the streets and hiding for cover. Due to the fact we had all of our electronics in our carry on bags, we knew we also had to wait it out or our bags would've been soaked to the bone and electronics done for. The rain didn't put a damper on our adventure. The environment going from bustling and sunny to gray and slow paced shed an entirely different perspective on the city itself.
Last Stop: Grand Central Station
We weren't planning on visiting Grand Central Station but accidentally got off the subway a bit earlier. Thank god we did because Grand Central Station was stunning! The station has an old timey feel, originally opening in 1871, with a market and several food stands. While there, we got a lemon sorbet and toured the station for about 20 minutes until heading back into the rain and on the bus to JFK airport.
That concludes my 10 hour layover of NYC- what an adventure it was. Luckily running around the Big Apple for most of day led me to be dog tired for my overnight flight to Milan!