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From Midtown Detroit to Midtown Manhattan- My Christmas in New York

Over my winter break I got the opportunity to visit New York City for the first time. I stayed in Midtown Manhattan on 31st street. My hotel room was modest, but I couldn’t have been happier with my incredible view of the Empire State Building. Most of the time I could hardly even believe I was there.

The view from my hotel room

The view from my hotel room

Manhattan was less intimidating than I had expected it to be. Leading up to my visit, a number of people commented on the congestion and cramped buildings as claustrophobia inducing; that they could see visiting but could never live there. Nothing about Manhattan struck me as compact or uncomfortable- just FULL of adventure and opportunities. It likely had something to do with the cold temperatures that week, but the hotel room on 31st street was quieter than my apartment in New Center, Detroit. Even with people rushing about to their respective activities, the parts of Midtown Manhattan that I witnessed had a calm and easy vibe.  The streets were also broader and cleaner than I had anticipated and I adored the charming, tiered, early skyscrapers built that way to allow sunlight into the city.

A view from the hotel roof I climbed the fire escape of to sneak onto


I caught on to the subway system quickly and reveled in popping on to get anywhere I wanted to go.

I did an incredible number things in just a few days in Manhattan. Being a total sentimentalist- I even stopped by Tiffany to read the letter Audrey Hepburn wrote to the staff after her film Breakfast At Tiffany’s wrapped filming in 1961. 


I spent my Christmas Eve in Greenwich Village.

I spent Christmas day eating the best hot and sour soup ever at Big Wong in Chinatown.


I stopped by the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

I meandered through Central Park.

It was really really cold

I visited the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Visiting art museums is a pastime of mine. I frequently visit the DIA here in Detroit, visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston a few times when I lived on the east coast, and grew up going to the Art Institute of Chicago.

I’m always looking for the classic paintings by impressionists like Picasso, Monet, and Gauguin, that I grew up admiring in art books I would pick up in the library. In New York, I gasped when I recognized certain artists in the permanent collection as if I were recognizing an old friend- perhaps in contrast to the unfamiliar modern art that filled the main gallery of the Guggenheim.

Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World – Guggenheim

I even entered the lottery to see my favorite Broadway show Wicked, but didn’t win. Just wandering around the theater district held ridiculous thrills for me, like seeing Bette Midler’s name in lights at Hello, Dolly!, right next to the Music Box theater where I got to attend my first show on Broadway- Dear Evan Hansen. I’ll review the show in an upcoming blog post, but just like the rest of my trip- I enjoyed it immensely. 

I felt like I barely even got a taste of this colossal city, and after such a wonderful rendezvous I’m dying to go back and have another go at Manhattan. I never realized before this year how much of a city-girl I am. Maybe the city of all cities will be the place for me someday. But until then, my comforting, little, (but growing!) Detroit skyline will be more than satisfactory to call home.

 – SJ

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23 Jan 2018