Today I had a much better time in Manhattan than the last time I visited, putting into practice all the things I learned from my past experience. Here’s what I learned:
1. Wear the right shoes
I was in tennis shoes during my last visit and it tore my feet ragged. True, no one told me to walk from LaGuardia airport to Columbus Circle, but the shoes make the difference. Today, I laced up my Vasque hiking boots to prepare for lengthy ambulations, and it was a very comfortable walkabout.
2. Bring the right bag
Everybody in New York has a bag, because you need one. It holds your things. My bag requirements are very minimal: I need a place for my iPad, a place for my chargers, room for my laptop if need be, and a couple other pockets for pens, keys and my wallet. [This] (http://store.apple.com/us/product/H6308ZM/A?fnode=50&fs=m.manufacturer%3Dhex) bag by Hex did the trick, with the added bonus of letting me use my iPad without having to actually remove it from the bag. It’s small-profile, rugged and very solid, with no openings to lose things or flaps to get snagged.
3. Be comfortable with getting close
The subway at 4:00 is a very crowded place, and I was pushed up against from all sides. There was no elegant way to excuse myself from the car when I reached my stop, so I had to politely push myself through several other bodies. The good news is that we’re all in it together, and everybody understands that we’re sharing space.
4. Take advantage of scene changes
It’s exhausting to travel through the city, so having little changes of scenery can be very refreshing when used appropriately. Take the opportunity when getting off the subway to embrace the street life and relax a little bit since you’re out in the open air. Plan little stops here and there to go inside and reset yourself before reentering the hubbub. Don’t over-exert yourself by staying too long in one place, or hurrying too much on the way there.
5. Be open and flexible
This is probably the most important thing that set this trip apart from the last one. In New York, nearly every resource is limitless except time, and time has to be treated with respect. That being said, trying to stick to too rigid a schedule or itinerary will only end in frustration because there are just too many variables to manage. It is better to keep an open mind and react quickly to new opportunities than to get upset when things don’t go exactly as planned.
I’m sure I would have a very different set of rules if I actually lived and worked in Manhattan, because then everything would have more rigidity to it, but I had a great time romping around the city today. Tonight I will sleep with the fatigue and satisfaction of time well spent, and tomorrow the soreness I feel will be both earned and warranted. I can’t wait to go back.