During the last leg of the trip to NJ, we decided to make a quick dinner stop in downtown Philadelphia. We aimlessly walked around looking for authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, but were unsuccessful. But we did manage to find this classic Philly skate spot:
We ended up eating at Shake Shack (which I highly recommend and is a food joint I’ve wanted to try ever since SNL’s “Boy Dance Party” skit)
We arrived to NJ around 10 pm with one full day left to spend together before we had to say our final goodbyes. So of course we decided to go check out NYC. But first we had to deal with one of the worst hotel experiences ever.
Online the hotel was priced at $65 a night but when we arrived we were told the internet was wrong and that it would actually cost $180. To make matters worse this was a hotel rated 1.8 stars out of 5. Future advice, trust the star rating system. The only possible way this place even received a 1.8 has to be because the hotel hired an employee to make fake Google accounts to rate the place with 5 stars to combat the consistent 1 stars. It was bad. Motel 6’s are the Ritz-Carlton compared to this Days Inn. Here’s a real quote online from a previous guest:
“Stay away, unless you are accustomed to living in squalor, in which case this should feel like home.” –
Customer who later died from Hepatitis
After surviving the night without catching any new forms of bacteria the hotel inadvertently bred, we made our way to the bus stop to catch the Transit to NYC. Next to our hotel was a Hispanic night club with one of the funniest man-made skatespots ever.
*Sidenote: While this road trip out east was the first time for all three of us to see the eastern part of the country, my brother pointed out that it was my mother’s first time to see America. My mother immigrated from South Korea in her mid-20’s. The only area of the U.S. she is truly familiar with is Oklahoma. When I first told her I was moving to NJ she thought it was nice because it would “be close to Arizona.” One of the funniest things about the drive was when we drove through St. Louis and saw the Rams Football Stadium., my mom kept saying things like “Oh, I better call up Sam Bradford and let him know I’m here.” (She’s a huge Sooner fan). Ending our U.S. exploration in somewhere as culturally rich as NYC made the whole trip that much more special.
We entered NYC right at The New York Times Headquarters.
Walking around the city was surreal. It felt like I was in a movie. Complete opposite from Oklahoma. During our first 5 minutes, we saw an old man wearing a “I Fuck like a Rock Star” T-shirt accompanied by a mid-40’s punk rocker chick being walked around with a leash around her neck. Bizarre. And amazing.
We stayed in the typical tourist section of NYC, places like Central Park and Times Square. One highlight was taking a walking break in Bryant Park to enjoy the beautiful weather. We drank a couple of (pricey) organic beers and took in the scenery.
Possibly because of the liquid encouragement, my brother and I decided to stop inside Louis Vuitton. We walked in, checked the prices, and immediately walked out.
My favorite place was Koreatown. It’s always a treat to see my Mother speak Korean and to learn more about Korean culture from her.
As you might of guessed Koreatown also had delicious Korean food. For lunch we ate at Turntable Mad for Chicken (turntablenyc.com). My friend Saleah recommended the restaurant and it did not disappoint. Mad for Chicken has a Jazz decor and serves a variety of Korean food, including my new favorite Bulgogi burgers. They also have different Korean beers, which when served in pitchers contain dry ice, making the beer “smoke.”
After lunch we spent the rest of our time checking out the other Manhattan tourist spots. We saw a talented dance crew and my brother and I witnessed my mother get scared by a robot street performer. I even got to see the Guy Fieri restaurant that spawned this hilarious SNL bit.