Week 7 Blog Post

Last weekend started off with a BANG! Well, it technically started with a nice evening in with friends playing cards. Playing cards has become a staple of my free time during this internship and I quite like it.

But Saturday morning, Erika, Paola, Miranda, and I woke up before the crack of dawn to get on a bus to New York. We were planning to a take a day trip to Manhattan, get there early morning, then leave the next morning. Boy did we overestimate our endurance, but I’ll get to that.

We arrived in New York City around 9am and promptly walked to Time Square with the intent to buy discounted tickets to a Broadway show. Much to our dismay and our wallets’ relief, the tickets were too expensive even when discounted, so we decided to spend our time walking around the immediate area.

Before walking to any attractions, we stopped by an authentic New York City hot dog stand and partook in a very underwhelming, cheap hotdog that in all honesty could be purchased anywhere. But it was all about the authenticity, so we didn’t mind. I didn’t find the hot dog worthy of a picture, so I’ve spared you the mediocrity.

But immediately following our let down of a quick breakfast, we visited Hershey’s Chocolate World and M&M’s World. They had much more merchandise than chocolate, which I hadn’t expected. They had chocolate-branded underwear, if that gives you any idea of how far they go.

Afterwards we proceeded to the Nintendo Store in Rockefeller Center and I was blown away. The place was overcrowded as there was a tournament for a video game called Arms there, but I still enjoyed the place. It was a wonderland for a Nintendo fan like me.

Immediately after that we visited the LEGO store in Rockefeller Center. They had outrageous and elaborate LEGO sculptures that probably took days to construct. It was significantly better than the LEGO store back in San Antonio.

After our shopping spree, we took a long walk to Central Park and immediately decided that we needed to go somewhere to eat. All the walking we had done that morning had made us ravenous, so we sought out a place called America’s Burgers and Wraps. I got what was called the America Burger, and it did not disappoint. They topped the burger with a thick onion ring, some French fries, and two thick slices of bacon. It would have only been made more American if it was colored red white and blue.

Once fed and somewhat rested, we ventured back to Central Park. While visiting the Bethesda Terrace, three street con artists put snakes on Erika’s, Paola’s, and Miranda’s shoulders. Erika and Miranda freaked out but maintained composure for one picture. But the snake owners demanded payment after we took pictures of the whole experience, which was sleezy.  We also visited the Alice in Wonderland statue. There was never a moment when no one was climbing the statue, so the picture included was the best that I could do.

One of the few places on my must-see list was Ground Zero and the World Trade Center. Sadly, we didn’t have the time to go to the observatory in the tower, but we were able to capture an amazing view of the atrium in the Westfield World Trade Center. The memorial is the greatest one I’ve ever seen and it was truly beautiful.

We had only a brief stop there because we were on our way to a boat tour that would take us close to the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island. Sadly, the boat was at capacity when we arrived, but we were able to catch a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, which would give us a great view of the statue as well as the Brooklyn Bridge. I was focused on resting during the ferry ride, so I only managed to capture one image of the Brooklyn skyline.

Once we got back to Manhattan, we took the subway to China Town, which neighbored Little Italy. Also, compared to the DC metro, the New York subway system is antiquated and complicated. It also reeks and is very muggy. 1/10, would not try again.

Back to our adventure, once in China Town, we visited many little souvenir shops. I bought a new bag for a great price in order to carry comfortably the many things I bought throughout the trip.

The short walk to Little Italy was pleasant as the sun was setting. While there we got gelato, which was overpriced but delicious. There were many instances of enormous art on the sides of buildings in Little Italy. It was unusual, but impressive.

By the time the sun had completely set, we had walked through Little Italy and made our way to a place Paola really wanted to visit, the Museum of Sex. It was interesting. The gift shop was a sex shop, and the museum itself was one third historical, one third artistic, and one third scientific and biological. Suffice it to say, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to post any images from the museum.

Afterwards, we took a pitstop at a McDonalds to refuel our phones. We headed to Time Square after that in search of a place to eat authentic New York style pizza. It turned out that the reasonably-priced Patzeria Perfect Pizza was just a block away. It was glorious pizza – as most pizza is – and gorgeous too! Don’t let my poor image quality fool you, the pizza was one of the most beautiful things I saw that day.

Even though it was around midnight by the time we finished the pizzas, we still had a few hours until our bus was scheduled to head back to DC. So we killed some time just sitting around Time Square. We were exhausted and didn’t understand why our past selves thought that taking an 18-hour trip to New York was a good idea.

On our way to the bus stop, the New York subway system failed us. The train we were patiently waiting for did not show up as scheduled, so we ended up having to speed walk to the bus stop on tired legs and sore, blistered feet. Also, I couldn’t for the life of me find a place on the way that had a public restroom. Though there were many places open at 3am, none of them had bathrooms available to the public. It should be renamed “the city that never sleeps and never lets you pee”.

We ended up making it to our bus with only moments to spare. I don’t think I had slept more heavily in years. One moment the bus had just taken off and we entered a tunnel, and the next, we were stopping in DC.

All in all, the trip was a success, albeit an exhausting, long, walking-filled success.

The rest of my Sunday was spent sleeping and resting and sleeping some more. I stayed off of my feet the best that I could.

The work week was a typical work week. Monday was not significantly different from any other work day. But Tuesday was July 11th, which made it 7/11, so the 7-11 down the street from work was giving out free slurpees, and It was great.

That same day, a few of us interns decided to go see a movie. To my recommendation, we saw Baby Driver. Everyone but Miranda thoroughly enjoyed it. Frankly, I don’t know how someone could not be entertained by such a good film, but some people are just dead inside. I jest.

But after the movie we visited Burger Tap & Shake for some shake and fries. It was delicious as always with that establishment. They never disappoint.

The remainder of the week was typical. I apologize for usually explaining my work weeks as typical or normal, but they are. I sit at my desk and run analysis on the data I get. Sometimes I cluster data, sometimes I run statistics on data. I find it enjoyable and rewarding, but it’s not the most exciting thing to reiterate.

Anyways, I think this past trip that I took to New York might be my last for the summer. My feet definitely need time to recover.  So does my wallet.

Signing off.

Sergio A. Melendez