Today was probably the most fun I had because I was able to visit the place I was most anticipated about, Times Square. Before all that happened, we went to the Transit Museum, where the history of all the trains in Manhattan happened. It was super fun and interesting to see the trains from mid-1900 to today’s trains develop. I had the best time there, taking a bunch of pictures of me, modeling my transit rides from each period of time. I think the thing I remembered most and was most fascinated by was the development of the transit tickets. It went from some special coins to paper tickets and I was able to see the actual thing!
Next, we head to Flushing, where all went off to the New World Mall. I was once again surprised to see that everything looked just like modern day China. Even all the shops inside the mall was exactly like the malls we walk to in Macau. While I was walking around, I came across the food court and my God, everything looked so good. We all bought so much food, but I got to say the best I had was the Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumpling. I would even say that this was the best Xiao Long Bao I’ve ever eaten in my life and let’s just say that I had quite a lot of these too.
Finally, the thing I was most excited about had come. We all arrived at Times Squares and separated into groups to explore off on our own and we had our free time. Of course, when you’re in Times Squares, who doesn’t shop? Roaming around the busy streets, I went to stores and bought quite a few things until I finally sat down to rest. It was quite exhausting walking so much in a day and I have concluded that going to Times Square once or twice was probably enough for my lifetime.
May 31, 2016, this morning went to transit museum we spend about an hour there. From there we are able to see some very old transit, which I think is really cool. We told many picture and when through many different cart. After transit museum, we went to eat and shake shack, I think it tasted awesome. Since Brooklyn Bridge was nearby where we got lunch, we walk all the way to the see the Brooklyn Bridge, which kind of far away, then we when to Flushing, mainly the New World Mall. Once I walk into the mall I feel like this is China’s underground mall. All the food there is really good, everyone had at least one or more Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai soup dumpling), is a must try food if I ever go visit New York. After getting a full belly, we all went to the Time Square and do some shopping. Actually we did shop a lot because first of all, there’s human traffic everywhere. Secondly, there isn’t a lot of shop there that had interested me, so yeah. Lastly, or mainly, all of our feet is in a very bad pain, so me and my sister Angela when to get some new shoes. Once took of my shoes and try on a new pair of shoes, it’s like the best feeling ever, I don't really feel the painfulness in my feet for a long time. I have learned another lesson, don't were shoes that are too plat (where you can feel the rock on the floor) for a long distance, it's very bad idea. After time square, we all head out to the Korean street and have Korean food. It took our group a while too gets there because one of our group-mate (Meifeng) had us walk around the whole block before we get into the restaurant, it’s a memorable moment. After dinner half of the group when to H Market and get breakfast for tomorrow and walk to CVS for water and something else. That day when we got back to the hotel and after shower, I open a tub of warm to hot water for my feet to relax, and ended our night.
On the fifth day we went to the transit museum where we learned about the history of the makings of the underground. While we were there, we saw how the metro system have changed and improved overtime by the use of newer technology. After this self-tour, we ate breakfast at Shake Shack. After eating at Shake Shack, we went towards the Brooklyn Bridge to take a look because we were pretty close by. After looking at the Brooklyn Bridge we went to Flushing which was another Chinatown neighborhood. First impression of this place was, wow it has a lot of people similar to the Chinatown in San Francisco. To me this again seems like a Downtown but for a different reason instead of complete gentrification it seems like the Downtown was populated by Asians. We went to the mall and ate in the food court. After going to flushing we took the metro back to grand central where we went to Times Square and walked around. We first went to the Disney Store then the M&M store and then the Hershey’s Store which had the biggest Hershey Bar in the World, which was bigger than me. After this we decided to eat dinner at a Korean Restaurant called Five Cents. After eating dinner we went to buy breakfast for tomorrow at Paris Baguette.
The day started off at the NYC Transit Museum. Many of youth have been working on transit and pedestrian safety issues in San Francisco, so one of the things we wanted to learn about was the transit system in each city. The museum provided a timeline of the transit system history in NYC. We had a fun time taking pictures with the subway cars. For our lunch, before attempting to head to see the Brooklyn Bridge, we stopped by Shake Shack to try it out. We were not sure if we would get another chance, so we took the chance when we had it. It was delicious, but a little on the pricey side.
When we got to the Brooklyn Bridge area, we realized that the iconic sections of it was on the Manhattan Side whereas we were on the Brooklyn side. So, instead we just headed to Flushings to explore. We wanted to compare the different Chinatowns in the East Coast, as well as the satellite ones. When we arrived at Flushings, we spent most of our time at the New World Mall, which was famous for its food court. Afterwards, we made our way to Grand Central Station and Time Squares. We only stayed at Grand Central for about 30 minutes, taking in the design and hustle and bustle of the station. When we arrived at Time Squares, we split into groups to explore the area and shop for souvenirs. My group visited M&M World, which when you walked in, had a very sweet smell that made my nose uncomfortable. I also visited the Disney store and found NYC specific gifts for my friend. Times Squares, although very interesting to look at, was very busy. I prefer the slower pace of San Francisco. After a few hours, we made our way to Koreatown to Five Senses to eat. After dinner, we stopped by Paris Baguette Bakery and H Mart to buy breakfast for the next day.
We went to Transit Museum in the morning. We walked through the histories of the transformation of the transit system in New York. We see the models and experience the trains that people ride back in the days. We went to try Shake Shack for the first time. Later, we try to go see the Brooklyn Bridge but we did not see the bridge but we did see the entrance. Later, we took an hour to get to Flushing. This neighborhood are more like Chinatown than the Manhattan Chinatown. They have the grocery shops like the one on Stockton Street in San Francisco Chinatown. They also having many boba (bubble tea) stores in Flushing as well. The food at New World Mall food court are cheap and tasty. I felt like Flushing is more lively Chinese community in compare to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
After about an hour spending in Flushing, we took the subway to Grand Central where it is similar to the Union Station in Washington D.C. It is a tourist attraction with those ancient architecture and the arch with the zodiac signs are fascinating, I was amazed by it for couple of minutes. Inside the Grand Central are super crowded, there are people shopping, sitting, resting, and passing by to get out and in of the subway. Grand Central is just a very busy open space for both the New Yorkers and for tourist.
Later, we went to Times Square. But because of Times Square is famous for crowded situation, so we split up and each went with a partner and start our own separate adventure in Times Square. Times Square is just like how you will see on a picture and imagine it to be like. Everything in there are enlarged and I felt so small walking there especially it is packed with people. The traffic on the street are real bad, they need to have patrol to be in charge in every intersection but it is still chaotic. Times Square has solely business and restaurants. Their advertisement are big and flashy which makes me felt dizzy walking there. Overall, it is a great experience because it is rare to see big signs and super packed crowd in SF but you can see it in New York’s Times Square every day. For dinner, we went to Korean Town and ate at a restaurant called Five Senses. Korean Town is a very small neighborhood and you can see and feel the vibe of Korean Town when you see many Korean letters on the sign and there are many restaurants and karaoke places on the same block. After dinner, I went to H Mart which is a Korean market. Inside there was super cold because the freezer releasing these coldness can get into my body and I felt like that cold is a bit too much even though I wish to have that for many days in Washington D.C. Also, the food in H Mart are quite expensive so I didn't buy much food inside there. I am excited for tomorrow, the last day in New York City.
P.S. for myself: Great Job again! You didn't eat fast food. This time, I tried the ice cream in Shake Shack, but not the fast food :D
I am the lead on this very special day. I do not perform very well as a GPS. I was so confused with all the routes and directions. Luckily, everyone in my group has a better GPS App in their phones. We made it to our first stop! The Transit Museum is truly an extraordinary place that documents the entire history of NY’s metro system. Again, I took a lot of pictures there. One thing I really love about NY’s metro is its advertisement on the subway. Please, someone should go study these advertising comics, they are so educational and entertaining at the same time!
During our lunch break, I tried Shake Shack for the very first time. Even though I am not a big fan of hamburgers, but I have to say Shake Shack is the one to go. After the short break, we quickly got onto the metro and heading to our next destination --- Flushing, one of the Chinatowns in NY. If you are a foodie, you have to go try the Shanghai Dumplings there! Don’t ask me what is the name of the restaurant because I do not remember any names. Ask Yelp! I wish we could stay a little longer in Flushing because there are tons of great food there. Ooops, I just revealed my foodie side. Like running a marathon, we quickly made it to Grand Central Station. Don’t go there alone because you will get lost or feel like getting lost. The architectural style is quite astonishing there. After a short stay at the Grand Central, we took the metro to Time Square. When I got to Time Square, I didn’t know that we are actually in Time Square. You might ask, so what is Time Square? That was exactly my question. Time Square is the hub with giant billboards, neon bright lively colors, and many, many places to shop! I totally forgot where we went in Time Square because 80% of the time we were trying to go somewhere but we did not know where we were heading. I really think that I need a better GPS App. If you know any, please recommend them to me.
We went to the Transit Museum, but today was all about the food. Shake Shack is for sure better than In-N-Out. Can’t deny it. Their burgers are way better cooked and flavored. The fries are arguable, but still I can’t believe how good that burger was. After that we went Flushing and I probably had the best Soup Dumpling in my life so far. Nan Xiang Dumpling House, you’re doing some great things. It was mind blowing how good it was. We went back to New World Mall to meet up with the group and they also order soup dumpling. The one we got at Nan Xiang blew that at out of the park and the one at DC, it blew that one out to Pluto Grand Central Station was our next stop. It was so cool being in an iconic movie backdrop. We took some pictures. We snuck into some places to take better pictures. The Apple Store there was pretty much a library for everyone. Like the workers there were pretty much subscriber to the Apple program, but instead of paying money, they were cashing out. That looks like a comfortable job. Time Square. First place I went to had to be the Nintendo Store. Growing up on Nintendo made me want to get there buy some nice souvenirs for myself and friends. I kinda went crazy there with the buying because everything was something I related to. Everything was a little piece of what made who I am today. So yeah. I bought a lot. I’m not going to say how much, but it was a lot for a high school graduate. Overall Time Squares wouldn’t be a place I want to be. I felt like heart was running a marathon whenever I’m there. My sympathetic nervous system would be running overtime. That’s for my psychology peeps who knows what I’m talking about. We had food K-town and that was my day.
Onto our second day in New York. As great as we hear that the New York transit system is, we headed to the Transit Museum as the first place on our agenda. We explored about in the museum and learned about some of the history and information about the construction of the transit railroads. There were many displays of the old and new metro station entrances. One display that I found interesting was the New York Subway fare from time to time, with the first type of metro fare being a paper ticket, then later transformed to a coin, then to different sizes of tokens, and lastly to the metro card that it has today from the year of 1994. Now these were all at the upper level of the museum, and the lower level of the museum showcased all of the metro trains from the oldest to the newest.
After a while of exploration in the museum, we headed to Shake Shack for lunch, a burger chain that is quite popular in the east coast I believe. After lunch, we headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge since it was not too far away. However, as we were approaching to the bridge (or thought we were nearby and almost there), we came to figure that we were actually standing quite far away from it. And to actually step foot onto the bridge, a very long walk was required and we did not had the time to do so. Therefore, we greeted the bridge from quite far away as well as giving it a farewell. Now off we went -- Flushing Chinatown! Right when we got up from the metro station underground, we see huge waves of people. It did indeed felt a bit like the streets in Hong Kong. We walked for a while in the outdoor shops before we decided to head back into the New World Mall with its air conditioning. Then we shopped around the New World Supermarket and later went downstairs to the food court area. We all bought some drinks and food there, mainly boba and some Xiao Long Bao. Here is when I finally tried Gong Cha, while some of the others tried Kung Fu Tea. On our way to Times Square, we made a stop at the Grand Central station, where we explored a bit around the area. Then onto the last stop on our agenda -- Times Square!
The first thing you would notice at Times Square is of course the very bright LED plaques shown almost everywhere on the main streets. They indeed look very colorful and beautiful even in daytime, so I would expect them to look even prettier in nighttime. Times Square is famous and well known for all its shopping stores, but we didn’t explored those and instead went about into the stores that we normally would not have the chance to visit here in SF. Along our journey in Times Square, we went to the Disney store, the M&M store, the Hershey store, Sanrio, the Nintendo store, and lastly the Lego store. At the Nintendo store was where I added another plushie to my collection -- Kirby, one of my childhood memories! With our adventurous journey, we actually walked about Times Square twice, from 42nd Avenue to 48th Avenue, then back to 42nd and then lastly to 48th again... (Long story but I guess, good experience, of walking at least) Later, we walked just two more blocks down to 50th Ave. and took the bus from there to 32nd because there is no way we are going to walk back there for the third time. It was actually Koreatown that we choose to eat dinner at. We were walking about the town, as it was only one street, while waiting for our table at Five Senses, the Korean restaurant. What I found that was quite shocking and surprising was that there were a total of four karaoke places in just one street. Wow, how nice! We then went back into the restaurant and had a wonderful meal with some spices (yes, some very great spicy food). After dinner, we crossed to the other side of the street to Paris Baguette and H Mart to buy our breakfast for tomorrow morning. On our way back to the hotel, half of our group wanted to explore the Madison Square Garden, which is the arena for many sport games. Unfortunately, it was closed already when we arrived so we just had to head back to our hotel. Overall, to describe today in one word -- adventurous!
Another day at NYC and luckily there was no rain because a week before we checked the weather forecast and it said that it was supposed to rain. We started the day off by visiting the Transit Museum, there we were able to see the history and transitions of how the trains developed to what it is now currently. For lunch we had Shake Shack which is said to be similar to the In and Out of San Francisco but I found the burgers really expensive. However, I have to say even though it was expense the mushrooms were good.
After lunch we decided to walk over to see the Brooklyn Bridge but we only arrived at the entrance of Brooklyn Bridge and then we left to head over to Flushing. At Flushing we had free time and I mainly stayed at the New World Mall because my mom wanted to buy fruits. Later we went to Times Square because some of us wanted to shop and some of us want to experience what it is like to be in Times Square since we see it in movies all the time. At Times Squares, we had an enjoyable time walking in circles. From 42nd street we walked to 48th street and then back to 42nd street and back to 48th street. Why? Wells, it was mainly because of our miscommunication with one another. For dinner we head over to Korean town to eat Korean food. We went to Five Senses and we did a family style dinner where we shared all the food with one another. All the food was incredibly spicy but since I was hungry I ate a lot and then I ended my day but suffering from a terrible stomachache.
Our second day at New York City was completely packed. We probably visited something within the proximity of 50 tourist attractions, and I probably could have spent a good couple of hours in each of them, but we didn’t. The morning started with a trip to NYC’s Transit Museum, which finds fascination from the fact that the museum itself is built in an old NYC metro station. The old-fashioned, advertisement plastered old metro trains were surprisingly intriguing. The only thing that could make the museum better is the introduction of functioning trains with designs from the 50’s. I’d give anything to ride in one of those. From all the movies I’ve seen that features NYC, the most pervasive landmark would likely be NYC’s Grand Central Station. Grand Central turned out to be exactly what I imagined it to be and nothing more—an extremely crowded train station. I learned on this day that New Yorkers, contrary to how they are painted in the movies do not, in fact walk at the speed of light and push people out of their way to get to where they need to go. From Grand Central, we took what was probably the longest metro ride I’ve ever had to Flushing, Queens. Flushing is dubbed as the second, more contemporary Chinatown of NYC and this is undoubtedly true; it seems that many seniors head over to the Chinatown in the tenement district to hang out, while a large majority of the youth hang out at Flushing. I can’t help but get a Hong Kong feel from Flushing. Aside from the recent construction of super high-rises in Hong Kong shopping districts, Flushing and Hong Kong have very similar landscapes and street designs (but maybe that’s just me). The highlight of Flushing for me is definitely Nan Xiang Dumpling house. I swear, I’ve been to Shanghai and the Shanghai dumplings at this small NYC establishment are unquestionably better. Before all you Shanghainese people kill me, I was on a guided tour so they probably led me to unauthentic, tourist trap restaurant. My vision of Time Square also wasn’t too distant from reality—blocks and blocks of shopping, nothing more, nothing less. There were a couple of specialty stores like M&Ms, Hershey's, Disney, and Nintendo. If you ever stop by Time Square for the first time, I highly recommend visiting these specialty stores and not clothing chains like H&M that you could probably find anywhere else. We ended the day with dinner at a Korean restaurant named Five Senses in NYC’s “Koreatown”. Needless to say, the spice burned my soul with the radiance of a thousand suns. I’d rather not recount this experience.