A month or two in New York City (some day)

A decade or so ago I spent five days in New York City.

Five days was absolutely nowhere near long enough! It was all the time I had, being about to move from Germany to Australia, but from the minute I arrived – and checked into a YMCA hostel near Central Park – I knew that some day I would have to return, and it would need to be for at least a month.

What does New York City mean to a girl from Australia?

When I was really young, most of the shows we’d see on TV were British (and occasionally Australian). But by the time I was bordering on my teens, the tide had turned significantly and the United States had become a huge influence on pop culture in Australia, and so many of them were set in New York. My family would sit together and laugh at The Cosby Show (back when we innocently didn’t know what we know now …). I got a bit older and was obsessed with Seinfeld (which still makes me laugh every single episode) and watched a long list of other set-in-New-York shows like Friends, Mad About You, How I Met Your Mother and Gossip Girl.

A month in New York City

Seeing New York City on the screen so often makes it both familiar and foreign: when I finally got there, aged thirty, it was such a weird experience to be in surroundings that I felt like I really knew, but that at the same time were completely new to me. The buildings all seemed recognisable to me, the skyline incredible and yet not surprising. And beyond that, the whole vibe of New York seemed so – well – New York! I sat in a cafe and heard screenwriters discussing a storyline at the next table. (Truly! I could barely believe it myself.) I heard every language and accent I could imagine in the streets, because it seems to me to be such a worldly city. In fact it’s kind of like having the whole world in one city, at least that’s how it appears to a girl who grew up in small-city Perth, Australia.

What will I do in a month-long stay in New York City?

So somehow, sometime, I have pledged to myself to spend at least a month in NYC. The idea really started properly in the reception floor of that YMCA hostel, because I picked up a brochure about all the community classes they held there – every imaginable hobby plus all the ones that hadn’t been heard about in the rest of the world yet – and thought, if only I was staying longer, I could do some of these.

But there are more reasons than that for me to have a longer stay in New York. It’s the ultimate slow travel destination for me, where you want to really blend into your neighbourhood and get some routines like locals have – your favourite coffee shop or donut place or hot dog stand or bar or Japanese-Thai-Italian fusion restaurant.

And there are countless things to do in New York that might seem touristy but are still high on my list. Like visiting the hundred-plus museums and galleries: I want to re-visit MoMa and the Guggenheim, and get to places like The Met and the Museum of Natural History which I missed on my first short stay. I had the chance to stroll through some of Central Park on my first trip, but how cool would it be to try a Central Park Pedicab Tour (or given my keen interest in New York City television, perhaps even the Gossip Girl Tour!).

A month in New York City including shopping at Macy's

A month in New York City must include shopping at Macy’s and more

I need to do some proper shopping: I walked past Macy’s, so famous to me from TV and books, but didn’t go in, and that’s just the start of where I’d like to do some browsing. The September 11 Memorial and Museum hadn’t been built when I was there last, and as sombre as the thought is, I still think it’s an important place to visit, given I remember the events so vividly.

One day I’ll get back there, I know, and there’ll probably be an uncountable number of things I’ll do in New York City that I haven’t even thought of yet. And I can’t wait!



  1. I love this post, Amanda!! I can’t believe you really overheard screenwriters, how cool is that?!

    Last time I stayed in New York (2013), I had two nights at the YMCA at Central Park (mind you, not in a dorm room but a single room)! Such a fabulous location and at $100 a night, almost affordable! 😉

    I would loooooove to spend a month in New York, such an incredible city.

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