Another day of waking up early in the morning. Two hours of sleep sure felt great. I woke up at around 4:30 A.M. this morning since we had to leave D.C. and travel to New York through Bolt Bus at 6:30 A.M. We all took the taxi at around 5:15 A.M. and arrived at the Union Station. Now this was the first time where we tried Dunkin’ Donuts, despite the fact that we’ve seen it for multiple times throughout our trip in D.C. We bought a box of small donut holes for everyone to share as “breakfast.” Then off we went from D.C. on our way to New York. We took a short break in the middle of the bus ride and later arrived to New York at around 10:30 A.M. New York’s weather is quite hot as well, but at least it is not as humid as D.C. The first and foremost important thing to do there of course, is to check in at our hotel. This hotel, Wyndham New Yorker, is so big compared to the one we stayed at in D.C. (with eight floors total). After a while of talking with the receptionist, we all stored our luggage in one room and headed out. Now the second most important thing to do here on our first day in New York of course was to purchase our metro card. We all bought a 7-day pass for $31, since many of the places we visit here has to be travelled through the metro trains. Our first stop in New York -- Chinatown! Since we scheduled a tour at 2:00 P.M., we had to quickly grab lunch and head to the Tenement Museum, the meetup place for the tour. As we were standing on the streets of Chinatown trying to search for a restaurant to eat at, we came to see this hot pot place named 99 Favor Taste. Our whole group of twelve went inside the restaurant, went to the second floor, then decided that we actually would not have enough time to finish this meal, apologized then headed back out. Now imagine if you were one of the customers dining there, you would probably be staring at us. And yes, that was exactly how it was like when we were walking out of the restaurant as we saw many pairs of eyes focused on us. Later, we finally settled at another Chinese restaurant and ate a quick, yummy, and not-so-expensive brunch. Now is when we finally started heading to the Tenement Museum, which was really not that far away. We went on a “Then and Now” tour with our own group of twelve people, and we mainly walked about the Lower East side of New York. The first thing around this area that stood out to me was the public open space with tables and chairs in the middle of the street, with cars passing by on both sides, also serving as a very large refuge island for pedestrians crossing the crosswalk. The tour started with some background information about the Tenement Museum building before we proceed to the parlor of another tenement. There, we learned about the red light district where there used to be prostitution in the residential area in 1901, which reminded me of Broadway Street in SF’s Chinatown. At one of the stops of the tour, Cera Roosevelt Park, we learned about the low cost affordable housing buildings in New York. There was actually a contest for designs of the buildings, and from what we see in the pictures from the tour guides, their affordable housing buildings look quite similar to the Ping Yuen buildings we have here in San Francisco. Another stop we made along our way was the M’Finda Kalunga Garden. We walked inside and saw many beautiful flowers and plants. Overall, it was a nice experience I would say, despite the fact that my allergies were killing me while we were at the garden. (And I also don’t know why but my allergies are getting at me right now as I’m writing this...literally, no joke.) An interesting fact that I learned from the tour guide was something called the Green Thumb status, which basically certifies a park by the city. In SF, most, if not all, of our parks are considered open space to the public where everyone can just enter. Later, we came about to a hotel that stands out a lot on the street we were at, due to its glass windows and extraordinary height (much taller than its surrounded buildings). At this stop, we learned a little about the building height laws and the air rights of this hotel, which reminded me of the zoning law we have in SF’s Chinatown. Another stop we made was in front of a blue mosaic glass window building in which its name is called Blue (nice name indeed). From what I recall from the tour, residents here are chosen by lottery and they have to be re-verified to prove their qualification. This also reminded me of the lottery system that we have here in SF for the condominium buildings. Finally, the last stop of our tour, where we stood near to a few buildings that were built under the time of Urban Renewal. Already, this topic reminded me of a building in SF’s Chinatown -- the International Hotel in Manilatown. Many residents from this building were displaced when the city had to take down twenty nine acres of tenements. This was also the time where racial discrimination took place when most of the residents being displaced were Black or Latino and many who were placed in the buildings were white, also known as the white flight. One thing that I’ve also noticed along our way through the tour was that many buildings around this area are mixed-use, meaning that the lower level is for commercial use and the upper level is for residential purposes, which is what you will see in SF’s Chinatown as well. Overall, this was a nice tour as I learned a lot about the Lower East Side of Manhattan and discovered a several similarities between this area and San Francisco’s Chinatown. Next stop on our agenda would be the High Line, but before that, we somewhat went on an adventure. First, on our way to leaving Chinatown, we came to discover the famous roll up ice cream place, Minus Celsius. It was a nice and cool experience, seeing the chefs there making the ice cream for the customers on an ice cold platform. To me, the ice cream making process seemed as if the knives (or if not then a type of utensil) were ice skating. The taste of the ice cream seemed quite ordinary, maybe with a bit more of frozen ice cream compared to the regular ones. I felt that the price of this was more paid for the eye witnessing of the process of making the ice cream as well as its finished product, rather than the actual ice cream itself, as it was worth $7 for a cup. After the ice cream experience, we finally left Chinatown and was on our way to the High Line. We got off the metro and had quite a while of walking before we arrived. And on our way, we actually made a stop at the Hudson River Harbor, which looked much alike the Zhu Jiang River in China, according to a few people in our group. It was indeed a very nice view at the harbor, as we spent some time taking pictures and resting there. A few minutes later, we finally arrived at the High Line, as it wasn’t that far away from the Hudson River. We walked along the High Line from one end to the other by ourselves and explored around with our best friend -- our cameras (a.k.a. our smartphones and also some actual real cameras). Now it is the time for dinner, and as much as we want to try the hot pot place we attempted earlier today, we decided to head back to Chinatown for dinner. We took our first bus ride in New York to the metro station. Again, the buses in New York are also similar to the ones in SF, and also just with the same one extra feature -- air conditioning. We then transferred to the metro and arrived back in Chinatown. At the 99 Favor Taste restaurant, we chose to have Hot Pot for all you can eat. What I like about the hot pot style here is that it was one pot per person, so everyone can choose their own soup base. And this was the time where I decided to try the congee soup base that I have long wanted to try. In the beginning, we basically ordered one dish of everything that didn’t require us to pay extra and ordered more as we made our way through the meal. After dinner, we took the metro back to our hotel, and on the streets we saw many beautiful lights and LED plaque displays. We got the other two rooms in the hotel and brought our luggage to our own room. I liked the room we had in New York’s hotel. Although it only has one bathroom, we now don’t have to share it among nine people. So far, my impression of New York is that I like this city (despite the fact that it is extremely busy especially at the metro stations), and it does seem to have quite a huge Chinese population.