Things you shouldn’t do upon arrival to a country while severely jet lagged: Stay awake till 4am. That’s exactly what I did, and boy did I pay for it in the morning afternoon.

I woke up 12:01pm. By the time I was ready to leave the hostel it was 2pm. The sun sets at 4pm, giving me only two hours of workable daylight. I’m travelling on my own in another country with a very limited time in this city, and I wasted basically an entire day. It felt terrible.

Still, gotta make the most of it. So I head out to buy a new camera lens and go exploring.

And that kids, is when I caught the wrong subway. Twice in a row.

First time it was the right line, just wrong direction. The second time was when I realized I caught the wrong one, hopped off, saw an open subway across from me and logically hopped onto it. That was the wrong line entirely. After that detour I never caught the wrong subway again.

This is far more complicated than it seems.

I got my sweet new lens, the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (aka my precious). I missed this lens so much. Time to take it to the streets. From there I walked to the Staten Island Ferry , passing the Freedom Tower (1 World Trade Center) and City Hall along the way. Couldn’t get into the memorial without a ticket.

The yet to be completed Freedom Tower.
Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

The Staten Island Ferry is a must for any traveller in New York, especially at night. For a free ride it gives you a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline from the south side. The Statue of Liberty passed by and moved right into place next to the Freedom Tower, and looked almost like it was saluting it.

From the Staten Island Ferry.

New York really is the city that never sleeps, and you should definitely take advantage of that fact. I went to the top of the Empire State Building at 11pm. During normal hours – like the morning, after lunch or the evening, times the typical tourist family would come – this whole place would be packed, and the journey to the top would be delayed by long queues and over an hour of wait time. Not in the middle of the night. No lines! I waltzed straight past the queues and right into the elevator. Up I go!

New York really is the city that never sleeps.

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The view of the city from the top was staggering. You don’t really get a sense of the scale of NYC on the ground, but up here it became crystal clear. The sparkling city lights stretched out beyond the horizon, literally in all directions. This is from the top of one of the tallest buildings in New York. I could see countless skyscrapers, the obsidian black of the East and Hudson Rivers, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the specks of lights from the cars down below – the full breadth of this concrete jungle. And I’m towering above it all, without a care in the world.

I love this city.

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