Instagram

Instagram

Find yourself in New York: Kelowna wanderer takes on the Big Apple

Gina Petrovich is Kelowna Capital News’ newest travel columnist

Raise your hand if you categorize yourself as a traveller type. It’s OK, my hand would not have been up not long ago too. It’s good to know what you enjoy and what makes your wandering soul sing, but it’s important to sometimes expand beyond the safe comforts of your travel style and experience something different.

While I would choose mountains over the ocean, sunrise over sunset and ancient over modern, I don’t categorise myself into the solo female, sunrise, mountain lover, vegetarian, refuse to stay in a hostel, I’ll sleep when I’m dead, ancient ruins only group because then I may turn down some amazing experiences in the name of my brand.

I’ve always wanted to visit NYC, but for some reason just never did. After exhausting all my travel buddy options for the Big Apple, I decided I was going to go alone, or I may never end up going. Strangely, I found myself not in the moment of booking my first solo trip and not erupting with excitement that I was going to Manhattan right in the midst of the Christmas season, but rather I was mulling over my so-called brand.

READ MORE: Beat the Mondays: Use your travel time wisely

I’m a nature lover, I hike all the time and living in the Okanagan really lends itself to a spectacular love affair with nature. What was I doing to support this persona by going to New York? This thought pattern would take a few years to change, luckily, I never let it take over completely.

This first solo trip would mark the beginning of my love-hate relationship with Toronto Pearson International Airport. I loved that being in Pearson meant I was heading somewhere far, but hated that I was always frantically running trying to make my connecting flight. Let’s say from here forward if I make mention of Pearson it’s safe to assume I was running like a mad woman and don’t want to talk about it.

I booked my hotel near Times Square hoping to be in the heart of the action not knowing that pretty much anywhere in Manhattan is the heart of the action. Let’s put Manhattan into perspective for a second here. Kelowna is roughly four times the land size of Manhattan but would lay in the shadows of the endless high-rises that outline the skies of New York.

Just like in the movies, the streets are lined with vendors selling hotdogs and newspapers, and if you find yourself crossing any street corner alone, the apocalypse has likely happened and you’re the lone survivor.

I ate pizza at Lombardi’s which was the first pizza place in North America, located in Little Italy. Having visited Italy in the past, I got the feeling that I was back roaming Italian streets with endless cafes and the smell of fresh dough in the air.

I involuntarily shared a falafel with a pigeon outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I spent three hours wandering in awe. Admission is by donation, so carry some cash.

Central Park. Wow. Choirs singing, bells ringing, and horse drawn carriages populated the roads. I walked aimlessly around ponds and on bridges, half expecting to see Macaulay Culkin wandering around like he did in my favourite Christmas movie, Home Alone, Lost in New York.

Broadway to New York is like casinos to Las Vegas. Getting Broadway tickets right before most shows is very doable at the ticket kiosk in Times Square. Of course, I had to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, a definite must in New York at Christmas. I felt the scrooge getting sucked right out of me much like the Pinot Gris getting sipped out of my glass. I left the music hall feeling like a million bucks even though when I got back to my room I had a $9.99 H&M sale tag hanging off my back.

I couldn’t visit New York without paying my homage to the 9/11 memorial. The feeling of being in that exact spot and seeing all the names of those who lost their lives can’t properly be described in writing or words, but best in my silence. The price to ride the elevator up the new One World Trade tower is possibly the best money I spent during my visit. You’ll have to try it to understand what I mean.

Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge if you ever end up in New York. It was while doing this that the feeling of freedom, liberation and complete fulfilment hit me in full force. I did this on my own, I remember smiling ear to ear knowing that my life had changed. I gained a sense of independence and knew that this was the start of something so big in my life that I couldn’t yet comprehend. No, I didn’t hike or get lost in nature, but I put a big fat checkmark beside NYC and knew this was only the beginning of #ginassolotraveladventures.

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure. She’s now sharing her adventures with the Capital News in a bi-monthly column.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 5 pictured at Zopkios Southbound, Feb. 25 morning. (DriveBC)
Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla, Highway 3

Up to 30 cm of snow expected by Friday (Feb. 26) morning

Every new portable added to a Central Okanagan school adds a $250,000 cost to the school district budget. (File photo)
Central Okanagan School District to seek greater public advocacy support

Trustees want ministry of education to address ‘dire straits’ regarding school space crunch

This historic photo is of Queensway Street in 1958, which used to be the off-ramp for the ferry to West Kelowna. To the right is the historic Willow Inn, which served as the Greyhound Bus terminal for years, in addition to being a popular restaurant and working man’s pub. It was also a strip bar and not exactly the tamest place in town. It once stood at 235 Queensway Ave. in Kelowna before being demolished in 2009. (Steven James photo)
A look back at Kelowna’s past

Queensway off-ramp circa 1958

Paul Lenz.
Top 40 over 40: Paul Lenz

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosts Top 40 Over 40 program

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Pivot Rx is a new downtown Vernon pharmacy that aims to combine face-to-face care with the latest technological offerings in pharmaceutical care. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
New Vernon pharmacy takes ‘old-school’ approach to cutting-edge care

Pivot Rx has set up shop downtown in a building formerly home to MacKay’s Prescriptions for 40 years

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been deposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Most Read