Just over three years ago in a P.F. Changs in Delaware with my frousin Christie and her frousin Elizabeth, an idea was hatched. I had just turned 24 and was reaching a turning point in my life. I was getting over my first breakup, attempting to find a job in New York City, and trying to figure out how I would move up to the area. Because I'm never one to do just one thing at once, I decided I would also start a project where I would come up with a list of "25 Things To Do Before I Turn 25," which I've alluded to a few times on this blog.
The first thing I put on the list was "Learn how to use chopsticks" because of where I was, restaurantwise. The second thing was "Get a job in NYC and MOVE" because of where I was, statewise. (No offense, it just wasn't where *I* dreamed of being!)
I can't tell you that I accomplished every single thing on my initial list and I can't tell you that I didn't edit it along the way, but I CAN tell you that this list helped define the new Erin, the New York City Erin who you all know (and hopefully love) today. There have been attempts at a 26 and 27 list and I *have* done a lot of stuff on each, but they somehow dissolved more along the way.
Just to jog your memory, here are a few things that I put on my lists that I have written about here:
- Be part of a flashmob
- Learn to play the guitar
- Have a successful ice skating experience
- Visit Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty with family
As you know from my last post, I turned 27 last week. I've once again found myself at a crossroads in many areas of my life. I'm going to be moving to a new place in August, I'm working on a book, I'm helping organize a huge charity event, and in general trying to figure out a lot about my life right now. So I decided it was a good time to start the list again and be super-serious about completing it. I also wanted to do it with a twist.
I'm asking some awesome people in my life to contribute 3-5 ideas each of things I can do in NYC before I turn 28. I wanted them to be in NYC so that I could write about here and so that I can continue on my journey of being the ultimate tourist. I asked for a few ideas from each person because I was sure there would be some duplicates and some things that I have already done. I have been so excited to read everyone's suggestions! Some of these things I've wanted to do myself, some are incredibly creative, some are things I'm nervous about.
#1 Ride a Rickshaw
So this Saturday, after our delicious brunch at Norma's with Aubrey, my friend Allie Bear (only I can call her that) and I decided to knock something off my list to kick off the project. My frousin Mike had some good suggestions, including me trying to pull off a Barney Stinson moment from How I Met Your Mother and to run the perimeter of Central Park, but the one I picked was to ride in a rickshaw, the carriage-y things in the park that you can ride in behind a person on a bicycle.
Allie and I started off around 72nd and Fifth Avenue. We only had about $8 between us and we knew it would be a lot more so we went and talked to one of the rickshaw operators. His name was Sam and he was wearing an "Irish" t-shirt so I figured we would bond instantly. He showed me the list prices and then said he would give us the 45-minute ride for only $35 a person, a $5 discount. So we made a deal that Allie and I would run to the ATM and come back and if he was still here then he was our guy, but of course, if someone else came along before us, he could take them instead.
It took us about a thousand years to find an ATM even though there is probably one per person in this city, so when we returned, Sam was just loading a mother + child in his rickshaw and pretended he didn't even see us. So we had to barter with the next guy, whose name I never caught, so let's call him Larry. Larry wanted us to pay about $50 each and we got him down to $40 to just take us across the park and go back to Columbus Circle so we could be near my apartment. He ended up liking us so much (his words, not mine) that once we got to Columbus Circle, he rode around the whole loop again just so we could talk more.
The rickshaw was a pretty cool experience. I go to Central Park all the time but it was nice to do it while sitting down and Larry pointed out a few touristy things along the way, like the Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Field, where certain movies were filmed, and we also got to know him a little better. I tried to ask him questions about his favorite things about New York, but he sadly didn't seem as passionate about this city as I am. Even when we pried more and said, "Well, what would do you do when you aren't working if you could do anything??" his answer was "Watch tv on my couch!" That will not be on my official list.
And here is an awkward video of us in the rickshaw, if things like that interest you: