New York Gap Year

New York Gap Year Travel

After leaving Canada, I arrived a few hours later at LaGuardia airport in New York. The view from the plane was quite amazing with skyscrapers dominating the landscape and I could also clearly see the Statue of Liberty. After leaving the airport, I took a taxi down to Manhattan where I had booked a single room for three nights.

Travelling through parts of Queens and Brooklyn by taxi, New York looked quite different with numerous poor neighbourhoods and 

endless lines of tower blocks. As I arrived in Manhattan, the view changed and began to resemble the image of New York I had in mind from seeing various films over the decades based in New York.

The hotel was inexpensive but unfortunately, the room was tiny and to make matters worse there was a gap of around six inches at the top of each room so that conversations and any noise from other rooms could be heard clearly. An hour after I had arrived, the pleasant sounds of other travellers burping and eating was broken by the arrival of four American girls who managed the incredible feat of all talking at the same time without taking breath. It was at this point I realised I had reached a state of total fatigue which was making me less tolerant than normal.

The next day, I dragged my weary legs onto the sidewalks of New York to explore the major attractions. Broadway was my first stop and I was amazed at the amount of filth and rubbish on the streets. Obviously my fatigue was still dominating my perceptions. I stopped off at a quaint little English tea shop for some Earl Grey and some cake. I had only been in New York for twenty four hours and I was already using words like ‘quaint’ which had never crossed my lips in London.

Everywhere I walked I had flashbacks to various movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Sex in the City as many of the streets had a familiar look. Unfortunately the subway and outer neighbourhoods reminded me more of Charles Bronson’s ‘Death Wish’ films. New York has made major improvements over the past decade and crime levels have plummeted after the city imposed a zero tolerance policy to crime and low level crime in particular. Although crime had fallen dramatically, New York was still the only place which felt a little unsafe compared to all the other destinations I had been to on my gap year world travel. This was later confirmed when I returned to my hotel only to find out from another traveller that a man had entered the hotel earlier in the day and had assaulted a member of the hotel staff.

After spending another couple of days sightseeing and shopping, I had finally reached total exhaustion and was totally relieved to enter John F. Kennedy International Airport and take my final flight home to London.

Next Stop: Gap year travel to London and home >>