Wicked Summer: New York & Boston 2019

The iconic Robin Williams bench, from that Good Will Hunting scene. Yeah I got a thing for swans too.

The iconic Robin Williams bench, from that Good Will Hunting scene. Yeah I got a thing for swans too.

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New York City

In the heat of the summer, my sister and I skipped town for a couple of days in New England. Our first stop was New York, where we visited some friends and stuffed our faces with cheesecake and pizza. We stayed in West Village and embarked on a self-directed walking and eating tour around the entire lower half of Manhattan. Although I’d been to most of the places we visited, I loved seeing new buildings finally open to the public (The Vessel at Hudson Yards!), discovering cute dessert shops with funky decor like Rice to Riches, and stumbling upon quaint spots like Elizabeth Street Garden. Exploring the huge Eataly at World Trade Center, enjoying a pastrami sandwich at an uncrowded Katz’s on a Monday morning, and shopping all them trendy fashion girls stores in Soho was also a delight!

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However, the best part of our weekend was returning to my old stomping grounds in Hoboken with a box of Joe’s Pizza and watching the sunset reflect off the Manhattan skyline. Those post-sunset blue and purple hues still get me every time. There’s nothing like a warm summer evening stroll along the waterfront walkway.

 

Boston

The second leg of our trip was a place we’ve never explored before! We hopped off the Amtrak train in Back Bay and found our way to our cute little Airbnb house on the outskirts of Boston. After buying CharlieCards (how cute is that), we rode the T into one of the most beautiful, historic cities I’ve ever visited.

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The public gardens, the public library, the old government buildings, markets, and universities dating back to the 1600s are so beautiful magnificent in their history and evolution over time. We took a walking tour with an enthusiastic guide who took us on the Freedom Trail and reminded us about Revolutionary War history. (John Hancock! Samuel Adams! The Boston Massacre!) We walked across the harbor and had tea and scones where the Boston Tea Party happened. We rode swan boats through the public gardens, and walked across Harvard Bridge, laughing at the history of “smoots.” I marveled at the glorious interiors of the public library, which Shirley deemed “this looks just like Berkeley’s!”

Despite its long history, the city has evolved into a modern metropolis while maintaining its uniqueness and small town feel. I absolutely loved all the parks where families would hang out while kids ran into the fountains and play. The abundance of public spaces allowed everyone to be out and about enjoying the nice weather on a summer evening instead of cooped up inside their homes watching TV. People were walking their dogs, doing zumba at the park, and picnicking. Like how much cuter can this city get?

Even though I adored the old red brick buildings and charming 19-century brownstones on Newbury, I loved seeing the city come alive with the juxtaposition of old and new. I visited the amazing ICA museum, where the building hangs over the water and definitely outshined the art inside. We shopped at the new Glossier pop-up bungalows, whose signature pink paint which brightened up a gloomy afternoon in Seaport. We strolled through Copley Square, where Trinity Church reflects in the modern glass facade of the Hancock Tower. By the time we got to North End and I bit into the best cannoli ever, I was having serious regrets about not going to school in Boston.

Providence

Wanting to take advantage of our time in the east coast, we took a short day trip to Rhode Island via commuter train. Providence, “the largest city in the smallest state” was cute, but without the WaterFire Festival that night, there wasn’t much to see or do. We visited the RISD Museum, which had a room of vintage Chanel dresses displayed next to Eames chairs, which I loved. The monumental State House building was really magnificent, and Prospect Terrace offered a great view of the city below. After having walked more than ten miles a day on this trip, we were pretty burnt out from being on our feet, and sat on a bench and read about Puritan, founder, and abolitionist Roger Williams while looking at his statue that looks down upon the city he built.

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This trip was a nice getaway from the daily hustle and bustle of West Coast life. Visiting cities that have nice summer evenings was such a delight as I sit here writing this in my Bay Area apartment with my windows shut so cold foggy air won’t creep into my room. I loved walking around public spaces rich with history, and discovering charming shops and clothing stores that only exist in the East Coast. Although we walked the equivalent of two marathons over six days and exhausted our legs, I can’t wait until I explore my next travel destination on foot. Where to next?


TravelSophia LiuComment