Today was such a full, crazy, busy day I don’t know if I can fit it all into one blog. But I’ll try:
First of all we’re kinda morning people, New York is not a morning city. Beth & I were out by 8am this morning but most places don’t open until 10 or 11. So we did a lot of walking and window shopping but not much else. Also there is a serious lack of coffee shops in the city. I have seen maybe 4 Starbucks this whole trip and there are not that many in dependent coffee shops, weird. However, there are an abundance of Dunkin Doughnuts, we see them all over the place. Thus that is where Beth wanted to stop this morning so I tried to get an iced latte from there but ultimately had to return it because a Big Gulp size cup of milk with flavoring does not an iced latte make! Then we off to SoHo to do some window shopping (because none of the stores opened until 11.) We did see what I thought was a coffee shop but turned out to be an Asian grocery/ sushi/ breakfast bar where we got a tray of veggie sushi to split for breakfast.
While were walking around SoHo we were approached by an Asian man that very quietly asked if we wanted to buy a purse. Yes! finally the mysterious back alley purse sale that I’ve been hearing so much about. So of course, we followed. But then I started getting a little nervous where were we following this strange, speedy little man to? He said is car was parked by parking lot. Hmm, OK I knew I would NOT follow him into a parking garage but we were still on a pretty busy street with lots of pedestrians so I thought it was probably OK. I did take a peek over my shoulder to see if we were being followed. I have to admit this was not one of my better moments. It was one of those times when it starts out OK but then quickly turns into something a little scary. His van was parked on the street so it seemed safe enough to look inside but no we couldn’t just look inside we had to actually get in the van. He was acting very nervous like there could be a police bust at any moment. Honestly, I knew these purses were all knockoffs I had no delusion that they were real but I was in it for the experience at this point. So I grabbed a purse as quick as possible handed over $40 and we got out of Dodge. Beth was very upset with me through this whole process. She obviously has much more sense than I do. We walked away quickly then made a quick turn into the NY Art Institute to make sure we weren’t being followed and to set up an appointment to do a college tour.
We made it out alive and I think we learned a valuable lesson. Just go to Chinatown and you can buy the exact same purse for $25, plus they’ll put on whatever type of label that you want. J And you don’t have to worry about a police bust. Which I think was all for show anyway.
At 10:40ish we went to the agency a bit early but we were tired of people watching and on edge from our brush with the seedy purse business. Unfortunately they weren’t able to make a decision about her hair so they set up a photo shoot instead. They handed us printed instructions with step by step walking and subway directions to Brooklyn. The direction said it would take 27 min so we had some time to kill. While we’re surrounded by all kinds of great little restaurants we ended up at Subway splitting a 12inc sub. After lunch we decided to head over to Brooklyn to do some exploring before the photo shoot. Well I got confused by the very clearly explained directions and instead of just getting on the A train that goes in the direction of Queens/ Far Rockaway (the very last stop on the A train) I thought I had to actually go to Far Rockaway. Well about an hour later we were at the last stop and realized that something just didn’t seem right. It kinda looked like an inner city neighborhood in Detroit. I was really hoping this was not where the photographer was located. After talking to a very helpful police officer we realized that we should have got off 19 stops before. So back on the train and another hour of heading back into the city. We got to our stop with minutes to spare but we still had to hike about a half mile to the studio. We got there only 6 minutes late, Yes!
The photo shoot was great. Beth got dressed up in 4 different outfits and one of the shots was done outside. She looked much more grown up in this photo shoot than she did in St. Louis a long 3 months ago. After the shoot we tried to go to a great smelling café for dinner but they had stopped serving food so we went to a market and settled for drinks and a small bag of chips.
On the walk back to the dreaded subway I saw a sign for the waterfront so we followed that and found a beautiful deck that over looked the bay and had an awesome view of the city from under the Brooklyn Bridge. We got some homemade ice cream and sat there enjoying the view while we had what turned out to be dinner, 1 scoop of very yummy ice cream. We finally spotted the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Then we learned that you can actually walk back into the city over the Brooklyn Bridge.
After we got back into the city we decided to visit China Town. That is an insane experience, talk about a hard sell. There are people coming at you constantly. But Beth and I have mastered the art of bartering. We simply stuck with a budget and if they wouldn’t sell for our price we walked away. Eventually Beth got a purse she wanted for $25 and a hat for $5. Much better than the van transaction!
12 hours after we left our apartment we finally returned. I can’t believe we’ve only been here 2 days. We have seen so much, it feels like a week has gone by. But we’ll be back on the streets tomorrow with a trip to the agency at 10, hopefully a haircut, maybe the college tour that we missed today and a tour of the garment district.
Our money breakdown for the day:
Dunkin Doughnuts 11.53
Returned coffee (3.80)
Cranberry pills to fight of a UTI 10.49
Market for drinks & chips 6.05
Ice Cream 7.00
Market for drinks 3.50
We walked about 18000 steps which is about 9 miles.