15 November 2017

The Big Apple On A Not So Big Budget - SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown

For the days ahead, since we will be using the subway a lot, we purchased an MTA MetroCard with unlimited rides for 7 days. Metrocard machines are available in all stations where you just pick the card type, pay, and you'll have a Metrocard in an instant. The 7-day unlimited MetroCard costs $33 or Php1,750 (as reflected in my credit card bill).

NYC subway
While touring New York City on your own is good, it is definitely better with some information on what you're looking at. For this reason, plus the great tripadvisor reviews, we decided to join a FREE walking tour of NYC. This service is a great choice as you only pay what you want or what you can. If you're not happy with the guide or don't have plans of paying at all, it's ok! One guy left the group midway and did not pay for his tour! We booked the 9:45AM walking tour of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown.

Along W 37th St.
The nearest subway station from our AirBnB was 34 St. - Penn Station, around 5 blocks away. The bright sunny day was not enough to wake us up early. Tyler-Marie, our guide for the day, emailed the day before that she will meet us at the meeting point at 9:35AM and will start the tour promptly at 9:45AM. The email was a complete guide on where to meet, including maps, instructions on what trains to ride, and even a picture of the guide. But this wasn't enough for our world infamous filipino time to rear its head. Sorry!

Greene St.

We arrived at our Spring street around 10AM and luckily for us, Tyler-Marie was kind enough to communicate with us on where they are at that time. They were already a few blocks away and we finally caught up with the group at the corner of Spring and Greene St. Whew!

It was great to hear the history of SoHo (South of Houston Street for those asking) giving substance to what you're seeing.

Onitsuka Tiger
SoHo is where you can find the Haughwout Building, a simple building with a clock. But this is not just your ordinary building, this was the location of the world's first successful passenger elevator.

E. V. Haughwout Building (Building with the clock)
Walking some more we reached Little Italy and a grand building which is actually the former headquarters of the New York City Police. Converted to apartments in the 1980s, it is now called The Police Building Apartments.

The Police Building

Little Italy
The group stopped by Ferrara for a bathroom break. We took it as an opportunity to grab some coffee and some pastries. We didn't have breakfast yet! We tried the cannoli and it was awesome!

While waiting for the others, someone asked which is the best pizza in town and the obvious answer for the guide was Grimaldi's. But she shared with us quite a story where Grimaldi's is no longer the original and that the real Grimaldi's is actually Juliana's located below the Brooklyn Bridge. More on when we visit the Brooklyn Bridge!

It was like there was an imaginary gate in between Little Italy and Chinatown. While the buildings look the same, they now have chinese characters. Look behind you there's Italy, and in front, there's China!


Fresh Fish

Dried Fish

Just a guy delivering pigs!

Doyers St. also known as "The Bloody Angle"
The tour ended at Canal Street with our guide sharing some last minute tips on where and how to buy (haggle) souvenirs. Now while we initially thought of giving $20 for the two of us, we decided to give our guide $30 for accommodating us despite tardiness!

On our way to Union Square
Time for lunch and luckily for us my uncle invited us for lunch near Union Square. Free lunch!

No comments: