Best croissant and non-fat latte breakfast: The Hot and Crusty Bakery near the hostel I stayed at gave me motivation to get out of bed early.
Favourite museum: The Met, hands down. Room after room of the most amazing artwork. Its collection made me wonder what the exact mandate of the Met is (every museum has a mission statement or a mandate that guides their collections). Most of what I saw there struck me as historical artifacts rather than as pieces of art, leaving me to contemplate the exact divide between history and art as I traipsed through the exhibits on my increasingly sore feet.
Shopping nirvana moment: My Chanel sunglasses! I've been dreaming of sunglasses since I started wearing contacts in December, and I was finally able to indulge. I was so psyched to find a pair that was classic-looking, flattering, and, most importantly, fit my flat Asian nose. I'm so stoked about this purchase, I even kept the Chanel shopping bag, package box, and embossed tissue paper that the sales lady wrapped the sunglasses in.
What I learned right after I bought my sunglasses: The sales clerks in the subsequent Fifth Avenue stores I browsed through were a lot nicer after they noticed the black Chanel bag dangling on my arm.
Best lifesaver: Dr. Scholl's gel inserts for my leather boots! Yup, I was gellin' as I strolled the streets of NYC.
Favourite one-liner uttered by me: "The Museum of Natural History is like a taxidermist's wet dream."
How many times I giggled during the Robert Redford-narrated space show at the Museum of Natural History: Countless, especially when the potato-shaped asteroids whizzed over my head.
What passed through my head as I got sick of Fifth Avenue's overpriced stores right after five hours at the Met: "I'm sick of looking at things in glass cases that I can't touch."
What passed through my head when I hit FAO Schwarz: "SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Most serendipitous New York nighttime adventure ever: Moving my stuff from the Upper West Side to Chelsea and taking my first ride ever in a town car while repeating the destination address to the thickly accented driver umpteen times, then meeting up with coworkers based in NYC for drinks, Asian food, and karaoke.
Most serendipitous New York daytime adventure ever: Waking up hungover and exhausted from the karoake night that ended at 5 in the morning and having a sandwich and huge coffee. Deciding to walk in a random direction and accidentally stumbling upon Times Square 17 blocks later. Exploring Times Square as I'm increasingly overwhelmed by the crowds of tourists and the huge billboards and feeling more and more shellshocked.
Highlights of the Circle Line cruise around the lower edge of Manhattan: Tall buildings, indistinguishable bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, seagulls, and how freaking cold it was sitting on the deck. Brrr...
Best part of being a lone tourist in NYC: Meeting random people (cab drivers, fellow tourists, people based in a distant office), making friends, and having great conversations.