I’m back safe and sound in my happy little Birmingham now, after my grand adventures in The Big City. Having never been to New York City before, I learned a LOT. Some things that I learned were confirmations of the way I had always “heard” it was.

The stereotypes of taxi drivers – totally true.

The stereotypical accents – completely accurate.

The massive crush of people EVERYWHERE – yup, that too. But there were some other things that I learned about The Big Apple:

Everything is classier in Manhattan. Even the things that usually have no class whatsoever: IMG_3742

IMG_3566 Seriously – inside Victoria’s Secret headquarters: Not a single way-too-larger-than-life-and-nearly-naked picture:


I wish I could shop THERE for my underthings rather than the actual store.

Speaking of Larger-than-Life, New York is making efforts at fighting the stereotypes and cultural expectations created by the overwhelming amount of ten-thousand-foot tall super-skinny-sexy ads all over the city by having this statue in the mall, mere feet from said ads:


And, of course, this statue came with her male counterpart.


I learned a LOT from Bubar, my West African Central Park Bicycle Tour Guide: IMG_3702

His favorite subject was where movies were filmed. He showed me EVERY spot in Central Park that EVER had a movie filmed there…

And even the statutes in tribute to characters in movies, including this statue to Balto, the dog from Alaska.IMG_3672

Bubar: “Isn’t Alaska near Alabama?”

Me: “No, not so much. It’s pretty much the exact opposite direction.”

Bubar: “Are you sure? I always thought they were next to each other.”

Only in the alphabetical listing, Bubar.

Bubar was also very set on showing me where all of the celebrities lived around Central Park, and it did strike me as odd that in our suburbian-sprawl city of Birmingham, the richest of the rich hide away behind gated communities and estates. Whereas in New York, they are in THE most visible parts of the city..


And although some of these buildings that housed celebrities had magnificent architecture,



A lot looked like any old building that could be found in a declining downtown area, totally unsuspect of their multi-million dollar apartment pricetags:

(By the way, if you’re interested, according to Bubar, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have a condo in the Essex House, and Yoko Ono lives in the beautiful building in the picture right above.)

Speaking of rich celebrities, Bubar kept trying to lump me into “rich people” like the people that lived in the buildings. I kept telling him that I was NOT at ALL rich, but he kept saying it.

Then, when the tour was over, I made the mistake of asking him to drop me off on Fifth Avenue.

He nodded his head knowingly. “Mmmm Hm.”

I quickly stammered “Obviously I can’t BUY anything, I just want to see it.”

Oops. Credibility Fail.

Bubar was a great tour guide, and he was quite insistent that he needed to take this picture for me:

Which led to a panic attack that I had right after Bubar dropped me off and I reached into my camera case and my camera was gone. All of a sudden all of my nice thoughts about Bubar vanished and I thought he managed to lift my camera. I took off running down the street in the direction he came, completely panicked and knowing I’d never catch him, when all of a sudden I realized…

It was hanging on my wrist.

Sorry, Bubar. I should have never doubted you.

So, on Fifth Avenue: I didn’t have the guts to enter a single store, except for FAO Schwarz:

IMG_3728 IMG_3730 There were awesome Full-Sized Lego creations of Harry Potter, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid:


This is the angle of me looking UP at Hagrid – he had to have been twelve feet tall:IMG_3732 And a toy soldier made out of gumballs:

I really had no idea what an obsession I had with toy stores until I came to NYC.

I somehow got totally mixed up in FAO and ended up on a different street and went three blocks away before I realized my mistake. After finding my way BACK to Fifth, I continued my quest for NYC Understanding.

For instance, all of the stores had security men with fancy earpieces waiting to attack me for entering the holy of holies without at least $10,000 in cash in my wallet:IMG_3741
IMG_3740 (Hence why I didn’t go in.)

And, among all of the top designer stores that I recognized,




There were some slightly less-than-smart-with-the-whole-uppity-naming-thing designers, also on Fifth Avenue:

Um, yeah. Marketing 101 might be in order.

18 thoughts on “NYC, From A (Blogger’s) Observation Deck

  1. You need to get Ali to teach Bubar his states!

    Sounds like you are having a great time. Thanks for sharing all the pictures and your commentary. I know I would feel overwhelmed by it all!

  2. Let me just say you are one brave girl for taking that bike tour through Central Park. I'm proud of you!

    I've done a similar thing with wondering if someone stole something from me, when all along, it was right where I left it. It happened about a month ago when I left my wallet in the trunk of our van and took only a "fanny" pack, kind of, and only had my debit card and some cash with me. My eyes practically popped out of my head when I was about to purchase something, and reached into a very empty-feeling bag. We started to run back to the most recent place we had been in when I realized what I had done. Argh!

    Anyway, great pictures and I'm happy that you saw so much in about a 24 hour period. How's the new gadget? Knowing you, you've used it at least twice by now. :-)

  3. I felt the same way on 5th Avenue. I would walk in the store, take a VERY quick spin thru and then walk right back out. It's just so exciting to be in the midst of it all!!!

  4. Next time I go to NYC I want you to be my tour guide. There's never a dull moment, huh? :) It looks like you had a great time.

  5. Have you ever seen so many stuffed animals in one store like at FAO Swhartz? I've walked through Central Park during the day by myself and it's really wonderful. I missed the fountain though. Now I have to go back. :)

  6. We also took the bike ride through Central Park. I loved it! My favorite part of the trip. Glad that you had fun. You ARE brave for taking on NYC all by yourself. Next time take Chris. You guys would have soooo much fun!

  7. looks like you had a good time. I have never been to New York either and have often wondered if some of those sterotypes were true.

    I imagine in Bubar's native country you might be as rich as those celebrities.

    I have always wanted to go to the big FAO Schwartz store, I love toy stores and that one always seems like some kind of magical place.

  8. You're very brave, Rachel. I've never been to NYC but I have dreams about being there and being totally lost and miles away from where I'm suppose to be and on foot, of course.

  9. I'm with you on the toy stores in nyc, FAO Schwarz & Toys R Us were my favorite stores there!
    That statue from the mall is crazy, where there people just standing around staring at it or was it just normal to them?

  10. Those store names are the kinds of things I see on TV and think they must have edited it somehow. Nobody would do that. FUNNY!

  11. I love New York City! The next time you go, you must go into Tiffany and Company on 5th Ave! It makes a girl's heart happy just to look around!

  12. Oh, you were so lucky to go sightseeing afterwards. I cannot wait to get back to NYC to do it again and not be so, fly by night about my trip.

    With you. K? K.

  13. Did you do all that by yourself? I am such a big baby…I don't like to go anywhere by myself. :) That toy store was pretty awesome. I bet many a meltdown has taken place there. :)

  14. Thanks for the great tour of NY, I am sure it will be the most up close and personal I get with NY. Looks like a great time.

  15. I think Bubar is hilarious! I have wanted to go to fao schwartz for years. . .Is it weird that that's one of the main stops on my
    "someday trip to NYC"?

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