New York has been on my list of things to do since long before I ever had a list. I keep my eye on prices of flights, accommodation, etc. and always give a slow shake of my head thinking 'no way'. The cost of flights during school holidays can be astronomical and I really wouldn't want to pay that much for a week somewhere. I could go for longer, even the whole six weeks of the summer holidays, and that would make the cost seem a little more bearable if I divide the price by the number of weeks holiday I'd be getting (anything to make it seem more like a bargain), but then the cost of actually being in New York is so high I don't see how I could afford to stay more than a week. So my New York wish has remained firmly on the wishlist.
Recently I saw someone mention on their blog that they'd booked really cheap flights to New York with United. Interested, I looked at United's website and searched for flights outside of school holidays and way in the future. They weren't anything like so cheap as the other blogger had mentioned, but they were cheaper than flights I'd looked at previously. And that was only one airline.
For some reason all the cheap flights went via Washington DC. Hm, seems a shame not to jump off and have a look round there too. And I hear all the museums are free. So I changed my search to see if I could maybe have a week in Washington DC and then a week in New York. Now I wanted to go to Washington and actually get off the plane, all the cheap flights went via New York. Huh? (That's an American term - I'm practising).
Ok, so it was looking like if I do this I have to change at Washington in both directions but won't actually get to see it. But if I'm thinking of 2 weeks maybe I could do 2 weeks in New York and have time to see more than just the main touristy stuff. Hell, (another American term) maybe I could spend a whole month there and have the time to get myself a regular coffee shop where I can sit, read, write, watch the world go by. And possibly drink some coffee. Though Amercian style buckets of watered down, lets add a whole cow's worth of milk, coffee really annoy me. Maybe they'll taste better when they're in the right setting.
I was already liking this plan, but wasn't sure if I'd be able to spend a month camping in Central Park unnoticed, so thought I should look for some paid accommodation. First stop, the YHA website. How much??? Jeez (yet, another Americanism - I'm starting to feel fluent), is this the Youth HOSTEL Association or the Youth HILTON Association? Next, I looked at private hostels. They were cheaper, but still way too expensive for a month.
Ok, so how do I really wanna (there I go again) do this? If I want to spend a month and try to get under the skin (I know, I know, it's only a month, but it's four times better than a week), then I should really get an apartment and pretend to be a real New Yorker.
So next up, was the AirBnB website. I'd heard of this, but never had reason to use it before. It seems to be people basically renting out rooms in their homes (or sometimes their whole homes) on a short-term basis. There are some luxurious places on there, but they didn't grab me. And although they are probably a great price in the big scheme of things, they are way out of my price range. Then I found a wonderful apartment with three bedrooms that are rented out separately. The apartment is in Brooklyn which I like the sound of ('I live in Brooklyn' sounds so much more me than 'I live in Manhattan'). The apartment is small but quirky and rather than the stylish designer pads I'd been looking at, this one reminded of Monica's apartment in Friends. I know I could be at home there, I know I could. The price was ok and even a bit cheaper if staying for a month.
So I've found a flight (November seems to be cheapest) and I've found an apartment. Now I just need to find the money to pay for it. If prices have gone up by the time I get the money together, I won't be going in November. But now I know I can do it, I will be going sometime. I'm already working on my itinerary.