I left Manhattan heading to Queens for my appointment with Nat Chua. I arrived at the agreed time but no one responded at the door. So I waited in front of the building for 15 minutes and was not sure wether I was at the correct address or if I was mistaken with the date. Just when I asked the next person who passed if the address was correct, Nat appeared at the door and let me in. He did not hear the doorbell and was not sure if I was coming or not. After showing me his house, Nat and I had breakfast. He said that he is about to go to Upstate New York to plant some corn. After the meal he left me the keys to his entire house. A little overwhelmed, I started to realize that for the next three days, I would have my very own town house with a little terrace and wireless internet.
Nat and I in front of his house
Laundry and more
As it is very hot and humid in New York during Summer I was glad to have the possibility to do my laundry. During the entire day, I did nothing but taking care of my laundry and writing. Both assignments were finished during my stay in Queens, which was a huge relief. There was another thing that needed to be taken care of: As I will have a lot of contact to different people due to couchsurfing, I decided to buy a US cellphone. It has been many years since I used another phone than the iPhone, but it is fun typing a message on a keypad like this. The total cost was USD 150 including unlimited minutes and texts to US phones. If you are in the USA, please give me a call: 347 649 4394!
Photo of my phone
Be a tourist
Caspar, my friend from Switzerland was still in New York, so we decided to do some sightseeing. We visited Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
Being the centre of Broadway's theaters, Times Square is one of the main tourist attractions in New York. With so many billboards and advertisement screens, Time Square is illuminated both by day and by night. Times Square is situated at the intersection of Broadway and 7th avenue.
The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a sign of freedom and was a gift from France to the United States of America. The size of the statue is impressive. Being constructed in France, the 150 feet (46m) statue had to be disassembled in different pieces in order to be transported from France to New York in 1885.
The Statue of Liberty
For immigrants between 1892 and 1954, Ellis island was the first encounter with the land of endless possibilities. Before receiving the final permission to immigrate, people had to pass through a long procedure. Since 1990, Ellis Island has a museum explaining the mandatory procedures immigrants had to pass.
As mentioned, Nat lives in Queens which is to the North East of Manhattan. It is usually quickly reachable by Metro. But at night, the trip from Greenwich Village to Jackson Heights took sometimes over 90 minutes. I read in the Lonely Planet, that Queens is "the most ethnically divers county in the country". It was great! It has been 5 years since I have been to Mexico, and it was only in Queens where I tasted the real Mexican food outside of Mexico. One will not find the real Mexican flavor in fast food chains such as Taco Bell or others. However, you can find the real thing at the street vendors in Queens. They may not always have the highest hygiene-standards but the food is very delicious.
Taco for as little as USD 2.50.
The High Line, a garden on the second floor
At first, the unused railway track was planed to be torn down. Fortunately, the Government changed their mind and designed a place of true beauty. The High Line is now a 1.45 mile (2.33 km) park about 30 feet (10m) over the streets of New York. I spent many hours walking and reading in this quiet place which is not more than 5 minutes away from Bank Street.
The High Line
Staying (or getting?) in shape
The United States of America are known to serve a lot of unhealthy food. And the organic meals one can actually find at various places tend to be more expensive than a slice of pizza or a shish kebab from around the corner. But as I promised my girlfriend that I will not come back chubby and I need to do sports to stay happy, I did two more runs: One was a sightseeing-run over Brooklyn Bridge and through Battery Park, and the other one was through Central Park. I tracked both runs with my iPhone using "Runkeeper". You can find my routes here: http://runkeeper.com/user/Maettu/activity/41705277
I moved back to Zapo's home at Bank Street before getting to my next couch in New Jersey on today. I am looking forward to meet Will DosSantos. If he would have received another car, he would have invited me to spend the weekend in New Hampshire with his friends. Unfortunately, I have not received an answer and the stay at his place is uncertain at the moment.
At this link you'll find selected photos: http://gallery.me.com/maettu712#100085&bgcolor=black&view=grid
At this link are is my complete gallery from the US: http://gallery.me.com/maettu712#100071&bgcolor=black&view=grid