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New York New York

Evade's travel writer, Nicole Schembri's New York diary is published for the first time.

When I heard that the Evade team were heading to New York in January this year, it got me thinking of the two times I had travelled to the city that never sleeps. The first time I visited New York it was in 1996, I was only six travelling with my family to the States for a month and being only six there was only a couple of things I remember.

The first thing we did when we arrived as we walked around Times Square with my family and my dad was bargaining with a portrait artist to have two separate portraits of my brother and I. I have to say it’s probably the best souvenir I've ever got. The second thing I remember from that trip was travelling by ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. My mum decided not to go up so she waited for us at the base. It took a couple of hours to get to the top seeing the view of New York from the crown of Statue of Liberty and for some unknown reason I started crying. It may have been from the exhaustion of walking up 354 stairs but they do have a lift to take you down.

My second trip was 16 years later in 2012. I had been travelling around Europe for 3 months after finishing my studies and I decided to go to New York and San Francisco before heading back to Australia. I arrived the evening before the anniversary of 11 years of the September 11 attack. I stayed in a small style hostel near China Town, which I struggled to find a week before arriving in New York. Not too sure if it was due to the anniversary of September 11 but I would recommend to book your accommodation a lot early on. Over the 5 days that I was there I walked all over New York. I remember walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and thought it was amazing seeing it person. I did catch a train one day to the Bronx and being a Caucasian girl walking down the streets I did get a couple of funny looks by the locals so I didn’t stay for too long but I was glad I got to check it out. Maybe if I come back to visit New York I should have gone to the Yankees stadium to watch a baseball match.

A few things I would recommend when you go to New York is go see a play of any sort. I got myself a ticket to see a production called Newsies. It was based on a true story in New York of a young man named Jack Kelly who was a leader of a band of teenaged newsboys and had a dream of a better life. The production ended up being a big hit. I would also recommend checking out as many galleries and museums as you can. I remember that certain museums and galleries are free on certain days during the week. To get a great view of the city you should either go up the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller building.

One thing you must do when in New York is hire a bike and ride around Central Park. It was just crazy riding around a 3 kilometre squared park that is surrounded by building and skyscrapers. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

One thing I had to do before leaving New York was to get my portrait done just as a tradition but I hardly saw any artist around and I almost thought I wasn’t going to happen. On my last day I found a cartoonist who also drew portraits and even though I was slightly ripped off and in my mind the portrait doesn’t exactly look like me I’m glad I still got it done.

Maybe one day I’ll visit New York in the wintertime where it’s covered in snow and around Christmas time just to see what it would be like. It’s a dream of mine as the Big Apple is where dreams are made of.

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