Solo travel in New York City
There’s substance behind the cliché. New York city is the city that never sleeps. Day one is overwhelming, day two is a blur, but by your third day you feel embedded into the New Yorker way of life.
It’s like the home you’ve never visited after seeing it so many times through everyone else’s feeds and photos. You’re going through Avenues and streets like you’ve been doing it for months (with a little help from Citymapper) and you’re already finding your favourites spots and the way you prefer walking to them from your hotel.
As a first timer in the city and a first timer in America, I’ve never felt so far out of my comfort zone. I’m from a small town in Leicester and to go from that to New York was incredible. The ‘buzz’ is constant and everyone is always on the move. I felt as if people are in New York to hustle, to better themselves, to be at the top of their game, because if you’re not the city will drown you out.
I based myself in SoHo for the first three days of my trip – which you can read about here – before moving a few blocks uptown to PUBLIC on Chrystie Street. My day to day involved a leisurely wake up, then having two things I wanted to do that day in the back of my mind. I wanted to take things easy. As I was travelling on my own I wanted somewhere like New York that would keep me occupied, but I also wanted to take things slow and have that break I was craving.
I’d mostly choose an area to tackle for the day and just walk around as much as possible. I actually tried to avoid going into stores and coffee shops. As much as I enjoy seeing shops and a well-balanced flat white, hiding in cafes wouldn’t of allowed me to get a feel of an area. Take Greenwich Village for example. I’m able to think back to tall red townhouses, trees and almost an air of calm.
On the other side of the water, Williamsburg and Brooklyn felt more in tune with what I enjoy and where something interesting might be happening just around the corner. Places like Midtown and surrounding areas were just too busy. Walking down 5th was too much. I think that’s why I liked Williamsburg so much. It felt manageable.
Something that’s become a big thing for me, is photography. I’ve definitely become more attached to taking photos and having my own style of doing it, however this trip was a chance to detach from that pressure almost. Of course I took photos, but I thought differently about them. I wanted to take photos freely and not think ‘right, now I have a photo of X I need a photo of Y to go alongside it’. When you think like this, you can be blinkered and null to everything around you except what you’re trying to find. I took photos, not looking for a linear and hoped there would be one after. The photos that come before this are the result of seven days without pressure. While I was away I found myself shooting the little details like the way a shadow casts itself on a wall or a cross-section of a building. Compositions and angles I probably would’ve overlooked if I was in ‘blog mode’.
By going on a solo trip I took away the primary part of the blog, which is me. I usually document my style on here, or at least when I’m on a trip with others I can integrate a few shots of my outfit here and there dotted between travel photos. But this time it was literally just me. No blogger poses or portraits to be seen, just a guy with a camera in New York.jbicon