I have planned my visit to The Big Apple many times, but something would always come up and prevent me from going. When I got accepted to #DMUglobal trip I thought that once again something will happen. Imagine how surprised I was when everything went according to the plan and our plane touched the ground without even the slightest bump.

It does not happen often, but sometimes you meet someone for the first time and it feels like you have known them forever. You instantly ‘click’, have a lot of things to talk about, there is no awkwardness, the conversation flows naturally, everything feels simple and right. Would you believe me if I said that being in New York felt just like that?

I wanted to visit New York ever since I was a little child. Mostly because it looked like everything I ever wanted my life to be – full of light, inspiration, and energy.

Some people told me that it looks like I’ve been to New York before and I felt like I did. No, magic or previous life experience has nothing to do with it. As basic as it sounds, I wanted to visit New York ever since I was a little child. Mostly because it looked like everything I ever wanted my life to be – full of light, inspiration, and energy. I probably saw every single movie and TV show set in New York and I now have a map of Manhattan tattooed in my memory with permanent ink. It is funny how going to New York seemed more impossible than going to Toronto or Hong Kong. You would think it is the other way around! I am so glad that all those previous trips got canceled and I got to see other parts of the world first. This meant that I could enjoy New York and see it for what it is rather than spend my time desperately trying to grasp the height of skyscrapers and not to get lost in all the noise (which is what I did for the first few days in Hong Kong).

You know, I was afraid I was not going to like it. I was worried we will not have enough time to see everything I wanted to see; although our stay was for only 5 nights, I had just enough time to do all the right things and see what I needed to see. Before this trip, I did not know what I want my next steps to be, I had no idea of where I will be this time next year, I had a lot of questions and no answers. New York answered all of them and even those I didn’t know I had. Fun fact – I was also worried that I will like New York more than I like London and after going back to the UK I will feel really sad for not being able to go back straight away. It is all fine! The more places I visit, the more I realize that London has a very special place in my life and it is hardly ever going to change.

I have to apologize because I did not take lots of photos. I know, does not sound like me. Do not get me wrong, the city was beautiful and photogenic. I just do not feel like I could convey that feeling through the lens. I would love to stay there for longer and do a proper photography project. Who knows, maybe one day, but for now, have a look at the photos I took and read the captions I wrote.

I wanted to start with this picture because this was the view from my hotel window, making this the first bit of New York I had a chance to properly look at. I was on the 10th floor, some of my friends stayed on the 20th (see below), but I actually preferred my view.
We landed on the 3rd of January. I did not expect to see so many Christmas decorations, but they were everywhere! I felt more Christmassy than on the actual Christmas day.
I was not planning on getting a Metro Card at first, but it was worth it. I feel like NYC’s Subway trains are much faster than London’s and there were no queues or a million stairs you need to conquer in order to get somewhere. Also, it is not entirely underground so there is a lot of fresh air. Well… as fresh as it gets when you are in a city. On the other hand, it means if it is raining there is water dripping on your head.
We were lucky enough to stay 4 minutes walk away from The Times Sq. We went to see it on that very first evening, then walked past it many times at night, but I have not taken a single photo of it in the daytime (do not ask me to explain why). I can see what the fuss is about, but since I am not a huge fan of buying stuff just for the sake of it, all these adverts were a little too much.
I wanted to write a separate post about food, but I can always do that later. Have you ever seen Daredevil? It is a show on Netflix about god-knows-what, but I like it because of the fight scenes, mesmerizing stage combat. Anyway, it is set in Hell’s Kitchen so naturally, I wanted to see what it looks like in reality. So it happens our hotel was across the street from there and I have spent almost all of my mornings walking around the neighborhood (I loved the vibe and already found a flat I want to live in…). While doing that I came across some great food places and I thought I will give them a go. I had a lot of smoothie bowls and banana shakes in my life, but none like the ones from Fresh From Hell. They sent my taste buds straight to heaven. One of the main reasons why I love New York is the options when it comes to food. And that there are places open no matter whether you’re craving something at 3AM or 7PM. AND – vegan options on every corner! I had the most delicious vegan burger in the world (from this place, I went there for two days in a row…) and don’t get me started on plant-based macaroons (from this place).
Needless to say, I had a long list of places I wanted to see and the food I wanted to try. Our second day in New York started with a quick Brooklyn tour and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
I was told that New York stinks and that after visiting New York you will see how clean the rest of the world is. Well… Let us agree to disagree on this one (thanks Leicester for showing me what the real mess looks like), the only thing I would say is that it was windy. Like proper wind tunnels, no point of carrying an umbrella or a hat.
We had three academic activities planned. I do not know how well you know me, but lately, I am all about international law. I also had a coursework to complete about the United Nations. A tour here meant a lot, hopefully, one day I will come back as a diplomat (because why not, can you spot Lithuanian flag?).
While we are talking law, this is from our visit to New York Supreme Court. We had a chance to watch a trial and I absolutely enjoyed it. If a few years ago someone told me that I will be traveling the world watching justice being served (yes, I wanted this to sound dramatic) in all these extraordinary places I would have told that person to stop taking drugs.
And third academic visit, 9/11 memorial. For the first time I spoke with someone who actually witnessed the attack and yes, I could discuss what it made me realize for hours, but that’s not what we’re here for so I will allow you to do your own thinking. I obviously saw this memorial in pictures on the internet, but the sound of running water and being able to see all these other tall buildings around puts everything into perspective.
I went to Roosevelt Island to see a different side of New York. This is Smallpox Hospital Ruin. I ended up going all the way to the Queensbridge and let me just say that I was glad we were staying in Manhattan.
The sun was shining straight to my face so I could not see my phone screen when taking this photo, but it turned out okay so here you go. This is the view of Manhattan from Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park.
I spend 4 hours walking around The Met. I tried to see as much as possible and even though I saw every single room there was, it was impossible for me to stop and read about every item they had. Information overload, but so far it is one of my favorite museums.
I LOVE Van Gogh’s paintings. There’s just something in his technique and colors that make me feel good. I woke up super early so I could be the first one to enter the museum and have a whole room for myself. I had like 10 minutes till more people came to have a look, but it was worth it.
Now let me tell you about the time we accidentally discovered China Town and Little Italy.
This place. The Original Buddha Bodai. I still have dreams about their Hot and Spicy soup, the deliciousness of the source in this dish I had, and do not get me started on their tea. I’m usually quite picky and harsh when it comes to food, but this place. THIS PLACE. Going to this place was the best decision in 2019 so far and coming back here is the first thing I am doing the next time I’m in New York.
Little Italy was lovely, I wish we had time to visit one of the many restaurants you can find here. But we found a massive Christmas shop which was amazing.
I wanted to see this, I was not planning to (because of the lack of time) and here it was, hidden on our way to the Subway. Just another proof that simply wandering around is the best way to discover things.
These few photos will hopefully show you how beautiful New York is when it i raining and why, in my opinion, it is a perfect destination for everyone interested in urban architecture.

As always, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into what I experienced. I also took some film photos, I still need to get them developed, but I think it is safe to say that more on New York is on the way (I will most likely share them here or on my Instagram).

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. I would like to kindly remind everyone that using these photos without my permission is prohibited.

Dear Gabriele Marija,

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