My flight from the mountains of British Columbia Canada to New York took about about 8 hours all together. I have no idea how to fly so a friend of mine set it all up for me.
She set up my route and how I would get to the hotel, printing out maps and everything I would need to get around. The one thing she didn't tell me is how overwhelming the subway station would be or how it even worked.
I caught my first train from the airport to New York Penn Station which was in the throws of rush hour and all the information booths and ticket booths seemed to be conveniently closed. I couldn't find signage anywhere, or maps to help me get my bearings. I had no idea that the station itself was on different levels. I eventually found someone who could tell me that my stop I wanted was a floor below me. I hauled my heavy bag on wheels around the entire place until I made it downstairs and then upstairs a few times. Fortunately there was always someone helpful, helping haul my bag up the steps because I couldn't actually lift it. There was also someone helpful at the bag carousel that helped me get it off.
When I walked down to where you had to go through the turnstiles at the subway I was caught off guard. I can't explain how alien it was to me. I felt like it was a portal to a different dimension and people were just disappearing into the big metal jaws with the loud shrieking of the snaking cars somewhere behind them.
I then realized the gates didn't take change, the took Metro Cards. When I went to the machine, not having any clue what to do and tried to purchase a fare it wanted a zip code. It wouldn't let me continue without it. I froze with all the chaos of people running by and tried it again. This time I typed in some random numbers and it accepted it, charged my $8 and spat out a card. I was very relieved as I got onto the train although I was only mostly sure of which one I was taking. I was familiar with the codes, like A, C & E. That really didn't tell me much.
So I found the correct gate and hopped on one that seemed right and began the 40 minute trip. I studied my options for stops and thought I had found the right one. Unfortunately as we flew past it, it was under construction and I ended up in Brooklyn. I hopped off and figured the next train going in the opposite direction would get me back somewhere. It did and I was able to immediately grab a taxi. Truthfully, the only way I knew how to flag it down was from the TV shows I had watched.
So I made it to the hotel, went to the cocktail evening with the i2Y crew and met Matthew Zachary on Saturday. It was at a club and my hotel roomy and I met a couple of people there who were local and we went out walking the city looking for a place to eat. I had worn a pair of less sensible but cute shoes because I had no idea I would we walking around anywhere.
The city is so different than where I live. The streets are narrower, there was piles of garbage bags on every corner and people milling around everywhere. The age and the history of where we were walking was very apparent. It felt like an aged wine. Every corner had something new to see and the architecture was brick and stone with carving and detail work everywhere.
I felt part of New York immediately like it was welcoming me there.