My trip to New York started on an evening flight departing at 11:45 from SeaTac international airport to the Newark airport in New Jersey. We landed at just after 7:40 the next morning. Newark airport is smaller and cleaner than JFK which may be more convenient or cheaper to fly to. Newark was the cheapest flight for me at the time of booking.

I was kicking my very heavy (who can afford to pay those ridiculous overweight fees on checked luggage, right?) carry on down the ramp to board the plane a gorgeous man offered to carry it for me. I told him that the bag was ridiculously heavy, and he just said, “let me carry it anyways.” He only had to carry it about 20 feet further since I had to check the bag regardless, but that was when I found out that this hunk of hotness would be sitting next to me for the next five hours. My first thought was, “I spent the last two weeks on Tinder trying to meet some beautiful person to handout with in New York City and come to find the love of my life on the plane ride there.”

That lasted until baggage claim when gorgeous man helped me get my bags off the carousel and then I watched his fine ass walk out the door and I realized that I had failed to learn something so basic as this man’s name.

After that, I took a taxi to m hotel, the Sheraton in Times Square. (Huge shout-out to my mom for the best Christmas upgrade because there is no way I could afford this hotel on my own.) Tip #1: when you’re requesting a taxi at a taxi stand make sure that they give you a ticket with the fare and assign you a taxi. The first person I approached took back my ticket and I didn’t find out that he had mistakenly cancelled my taxi until I approached the woman that took over the next shift who immediately got me a taxi to take me to my hotel. You cannot take an Uber from the airports, or at least it’s supposed to be illegal for them to pick you up from there, I could have taken a hotel shuttle which would have been cheaper but required a reservation and would have taken longer. There are also buses that depart from the airport to take you to other public transportation, another cheaper but more time-consuming option. The taxi fare came out to $60 + $2 for my two bags + $20 for the toll fee from New Jersey into NYC, so a grand total of $82. I added an $18 tip, making my total cost $100. At the Sheraton I made the decision to upgrade my room for $150 for the two nights, this got me a room with a view of Times Square and the ball drop from my room, a slightly larger bed, $60 to spend on food at the hotels restaurants or bar, and access to the Club Lounge where they serve breakfast and hors d’oevres and where I am currently typing this. Cue: me taking a photo sitting in the window with said killer view.

After checking in, I walked to the ?Colombia Circle? To grab food from Halal Guys, a hugely popular and uniquely New York City food cart, for lunch. After having craved this for more than three years it turned out to be even better than I remembered and I ate way more than I should have. One plate costs $9 but is more than enough for two people, so clearly an immense amount of food for me and my miniature appetite. I ate my food from the edge of a fountain and people-watched, a great pass time for New York City because there are lots of very interesting people.

After lunch I proceeded a few yards up the block to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to do something else I had been dreaming about for years: sit and stare at Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night.’ Tip #2: if you go to a museum, or almost any attraction in New York, check ahead or ask about student discounts. I got in for $14 as opposed to the regular $25 and some New York students get in completely free. I spent about three hours wandering around and while I didn’t have quite the experience I had imagined in my head of taking some cool photos with the painting as part of the background and then sitting on a nearby bench and staring for a while, I did get to stand and look at it until I felt socially judged for taking too much time at the front of the crowd that all wanted the chance to see the painting. Oh well, I came on a crazy holiday and it’s the most famous painting in the world, of course people are going to make a crowd trying to see it. There was also a Klimt and some truly extraordinary paintings from smaller artists that I took the time to sit and look at. It certainly wasn’t time wasted by any means.

By this point exhaustion had caught up with me and I walked the short distance back to my hotel to relax and take a nap because I knew I would never make it to midnight if I didn’t. (Nap was 10/10, black out eye mask and super comfy bed made it way too easy to stay in the hotel room.)

When early evening hit I was hungry again and this time I set my sights on a local eatery called Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen, a few blocks from my hotel. By this point the NYPD had begun closing the streets to keep people from entering Times Square for the ball drop early. This meant that my half mile walk involved stopping at every street corner to let police officers know where I was going so that I could cross the barricade. Without people and cars crowding the street you could see how filthy the roads in Manhattan truly are. I also passed one of the lines looping around the block to enter Times Square and some of the people smelled truly awful. I came to learn that that’s due to some of them wearing diapers because there were no bathrooms open during the ball drop. I would just like to ask when diapers became a socially acceptable thing to accessorize your party attire because it’s truly disturbing and disgusting to imagine being in that close quarters with an adult who has shit their pants.

Once I got to my dinner spot I was seated immediately and made quick wor of ordering their Michelin-recommended peking-duck pancakes and pork xiao long bao, all of which was so incredibly fantastic that I forgot to take a picture. The service was spread thin and the hole-in-the-wall was packed with people, many of whom were locals. The food was fresh and had that melt-in-your-mouth moan-worthy savory flavor of truly fantastic dim sum.

Walking back to my hotel was even more of a hassle than exiting because now I was trying to reenter the forbidden gates to the Times Square area. The police made me walk three blocks towards Central Park on 8th Avenue before I could cross to go to 6th Avenue and come back down towards the Sheraton and I had to flash my room key for every police officer to prove that I had a reservation at the Sheraton and gain access to the awning of the Sheraton, which was blocked off so that you couldn’t go any further towards Times Square. I decided that I didn’t want to stress myself out trying to find someplace nice to see the ball drop and went to my room to watch TV. At 11:55 my alarm went off, I rolled over, saw the fireworks from my window, said “woo 2020,” and then rolled over and went back to bed.

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