A new month, a new year and a new decade. We won’t get into the whole new year, new me thing because we’re into February now and as we all know New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it to this point. If you do want to know what my goals are for this year, you can read those here.
For most of us, January always seems to be the longest month ever. For me here in New York, I can tell you that it really was. It was a month of living off instant noodles and as many free outings as I could manage. Hence why I’ll be writing a #FridayFive all about free things to do in New York.
December was an expensive month with Christmas and New Year’s, plus all the Christmas activities that New York had to offer. So to say I was counting down the seconds until pay day would be an understatement.
Even though it was a long and cheap-ish month, I still managed to make a trip to a new state (the capital of America), a Broadway show, two New York boroughs, plenty of brunches and a concert. Here’s all that I got up to in January in New York.
Exploring a lot of New York
I did a lot of walking around different areas and districts of the city this month. I ticked off two new boroughs – Queens and Staten Island – which means I only have the Bronx left to explore before I tick off all five.
To be honest, there’s not much to see in Staten Island at all. The ferry from Manhattan is quite nice as you get to see the Statue of Liberty a little closer and it’s also a free trip. But other than the views of Manhattan from the island, there’s really no reason to go back more than once.
Queens on the other hand has so much to offer. We did a little eating excursion of Queens, hitting up a Tibetan restaurant hidden in the back of a phone shop, eating some Arepas, grabbing a pastry and then some famous tacos from a street vendor. I would definitely head back to Queens for some of the tastiest and cheapest food I’ve had in New York.
A few other weekends in January were spent exploring the Financial District, Seaport District, the Lower East Side, back to Brooklyn with a walk across the Wiliamsburg Bridge and Chinatown. We spent two straight weekends in Chinatown so I definitely know it inside out and can tell you were to get the best dumplings the area has to offer.
Broadway and gigs
This month I got to see Come From Away on Broadway. I went not having a clue what the story was or any of the songs from the show, but I had heard a lot of great things.
I was honestly blown away by how good the show was, and felt goosebumps quite a few times as the musical is based on the true story surrounding flights that were grounded in Canada during 9/11 and here we were, watching this play in New York.
I think the show is now on the West End in London, and I would 100% recommend going to see it. It’s funny and uplifting all while being sentimental around the main subject of the musical.
Near the end of January I went to see Irish singer Ryan McMullan in the intimate setting of the Mercury Lounge in Lower East Side New York. I’ve never been able to see Ryan when he performs in Ireland, so being able to see him perform to a small room in New York was quite something. You can read my little review of the gig here.
A trip to the Capitol
Yes, I spelt that wrong on purpose. For the public holiday in January, I took a trip to Washington D.C. for the long weekend, spending Saturday to Monday in Trump’s hometown.
It was a quick but great trip finally being able to see sights such as the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, the Mall, the Monument, the Capitol and the White House all up close.
There’s a lot to see and do in Washington D.C. that doesn’t just include the monuments and museums. I mean, I woke up with a raging hangover on the Sunday morning as we had quite a few too many very cheap drinks in one of the fun, outer districts of D.C. For a full recap on my D.C. trip, you can find that here.
Cheap and cheerful NYC
One word you would never think to associate with New York is ‘cheap’ but since January turned out to be the longest month ever, and we all had $20 to our name, we decided to find the best free things New York has to offer.
A lot of the interns on the program I’m on work for one of the big banks in the city and get a lot of discounts and free entries to certain attractions – most of these attractions being museums.
When you think of museums in New York, I’m sure you think of the 9/11 Museum, or the MoMA, the Met or Natural History Museum. I’m sure the Tenement Museum isn’t one that came to mind. I had also never heard of the Tenement Museum before I went one Saturday afternoon, but it was so good we found ourselves back there again the very next week.
If you were to Google it, it would tell you that it’s one of the most popular attractions New York has to offer – who knew? The Tenement Museum is a guided tour through old apartments in the Lower East Side of New York where immigrants lived decades ago. There are a lot of separate tours which means you can go back to have a look around others and learn about different decades and families.
Note that you have to book on to a specific tour at a certain time as most tours are maximum 15 people. The tours that we have done so far are Under One Roof and Hard Times. There’s an Irish immigrant tour that I’m dying to do but will probably wait until my family are visiting before doing that one.
January being a cheap month still didn’t stop me from going out for a lot of brunches and dinners, but I’ll get more into that when I post my recommendations of all the brunch and dinner places I’ve been to in New York.
What’s a month in New York without sport, eh? I finally attended another basketball game since not having been from my first time in October. It’s definitely not my favourite sport ever but Kyrie Irving was playing for the Nets this game so it was good to finally get to see him play.
And of course, there was a huge loss for the sport of Basketball in January and I’ll always remember where I was when I heard the news. It was a very strange day in New York that Sunday and you just knew everyone’s conversations were centered around what had happened.
I took in yet another ice hockey game watching the Islanders play the NJ Devils in Newark. I don’t know if I’m becoming a follower of the Islanders or just happen to go to a lot of their games because the tickets are cheap. I’m heading to another Islanders game in February for $4!
So that was my busy and mildly cheap January in New York. We’re now into the year that I will be leaving New York 🙁 and moving on to hopefully somewhere new by October. But I have eight months left of this city and America and I’m hoping to tick off at least one new state per month for the rest of my time here and I’ll be rounding up all that I get up to along the way. Happy New Year folks!