I arrived on Monday to NYC with a bus. You can get fairly cheap busses from us.megabus.com in the US (especially compared to Finland). Meeting me at the busstation was a Finnish couchsurfer I had been in contact with before I started my trip. He had been living in NYC for a month and this was his last day here. We talked about his experiences and he hadn’t had too much of luck with finding any good hosts, so he had to live the whole month with this old man who he did not really get along with. Either way, he told me that since he lived in northern Finland in a village with 70 people, it was interesting that there could be more people standing waiting for the traffic lights at one time.
He took me to eat at a Burger place in the city where he had met a Finnish waiter. We sat down and shared experiences. The waiter told us that she had lived in NYC the biggest part of her life. She still spoke very good Finnish though. It was also nice to see that even though she had been living such a long time there, she could still pinpoint that I was from the Swedish speaking minority in Finland.
Meeting Finnish Celebrities
While hanging out with the Finnish guy he told me about an interesting encounter. When he had gone to Staten Island and randomly walked into a diner to eat some. His server sounded very Finnish so he asked her about it and talked with her for a bit. During the conversation he got a feeling that she seemed quite familiar and after she introduced herself as Mariko, he finally realized that she was one of the lead singers in the Finnish band Kwan. He calmly continued the conversation and left with a huge smile on his lips. I was left wondering why a Finnish artist would like to work in a diner on Staten Island, but hey, why not?
MC Mariko is one of the lead singers in Kwan
The Top of the Rock
We continued to hang out and visited the Rockefeller center where we went up to the observation deck. According to many people the Rockefeller center is better than the Empire State Building because of that it 1) has shorter lines, 2) you can actually see the Empire State building from it and 3) you can see the Central Park from there. We also went before sunset, which meant we got to see the city both during day and night. It was definitely worth the time and money.
Going to Queens
After getting a drink with my host I started my trip to get to my hosts for the night that lived in Queens. The two girls and one boy that lived there told me some about Queens and NYC. I knew from before that the rent in NYC is quite high, but I never knew how high. They told me that even they, who lived quite far away from the city, in a 3 room apartment (I guess around 40-50 square meters) paid $1800. It’s even worse in Manhattan, where their friend had to pay the same amount for one terrible room and and a tiny bathroom from where the water leaked out in the rest of the apartment. It really seemed interesting to me that any student would like to have lived there.
Either way, this was a great first day in NYC and I couldn’t wait for what lied ahead of me. More about that in the next days/posts, maybe… haha