We checked out of our hostel at 10am and the only thing we knew we had to do that day was make it to The Edison Hotel in Edison New Jersey. The train seemed like the easiest route so we asked the kind receptionist at the hostel about getting to Penn Station and what to do from there.
It was on this morning that we got our first taste of a hot humid New York summer. The station was about 15 blocks north and 5 blocks west. When looking on the map we thought, oh sweet that’s not too far but let’s just say it wasn’t the most pleasant journey. We only had one suitcase this whole time and we barely survived, I would have hated to have experienced it with two! We took turns lugging the suitcase up these street blocks, stopping to take a rest at Madison Square Park. I took my first “New York Street Photo” which wasn’t really a street photo at all, it was just a photo of Erica, but I thought it looked pretty.
We spent a good ten minutes just sitting in this park and people watching. It was such a cool moment to just sit and think “I’m in New York. I’m here. This is happening”. We soon set off again for Penn Station. We got there eventually and after getting our tickets to Metuchen, New Jersey (the closest train stop to the hotel) we kind of just wandered around the station not really knowing where to catch the train. There were SO many people in the train station and it wasn’t even rush hour. Our first taste of the busyness of New York! We finally found our platform and there were so many people waiting for the lift that we had to walk down a flight of stairs, I might add here that Erica’s suitcase weighted an actual ton. Once on the train we were able to breathe and just relax for about half an hour until the attendant came along and said, you have to walk up 5 carriages to get off at the stop you want. We didn’t really know what this meant but as we started approaching smaller stations we realised that our carriage wasn’t reaching the platforms as the train was so long, meaning we’d have to move up the train 5 carriages to actually get to an opening door. There was a sudden moment of realisation and a holy shit we have to hoof it up this train to get off it moment and we were off. I was walking as fast as I could up this train, through the doors trying to get to the correct carriage whilst poor Erica had to literally drag her suit case along the ground as it was too wide and the aisle was too narrow. It was a solid 5 minutes of sheer panic but we made it off the train JUST in time. The door almost closed on Erica but we made it. PHEW!
It’s experiences like these that I am thankful for when traveling. I’m glad we had 5 minutes of sheer panic because looking back it was actually quite hilarious. These are the experiences that shape your lives and ultimately make you more able to deal with issues in the future.
We found this cute little taxi place just by the train station and decided that this would be the easiest route to the hotel. You had to request a driver and then wait in a (thankfully air conditioned) room until he arrived. We got in a fancy black car and made our way to Edison. The taxi only ended up being $12 but then I remembered that tipping exists in America and I think we gave him $15. We checked in and met our tour guide Pan and he told us what time we had to meet downstairs in the morning (it was something ridiculous like 5:30am and I almost cried).
Dinner that night was at the hotel restaurant as this hotel was literally in the middle of nowhere, like we went for a walk and there was just nothing around. We chose Mac and Cheese and it was BRIGHT yellow. #MURICA. They also had these huge cakes in the display fridges and I actually just couldn’t believe that they were real. I always feel like you never really feel like you’re in America until you sit down to eat for the first time. That’s when it truly hits you.
Bed time! An exciting day awaits in Philadelphia and Washington DC!…