“But you wouldn’t change anything….”

“Like any great love, it keeps you guessing; like any real love, it’s ever-changing; like any true love, it drives you crazy, but you wouldn’t change anything, anything, anything…. Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you, welcome to New York, welcome to New York….” –Welcome to New York, Taylor Swift

I’ll be the first to admit that Taylor Swift’s music has gone downhill as of late.  I wouldn’t call myself a fan of this particular number, but I understand the concept behind it, because I completely agree when it comes to NYC.

Luckily for me, I’ve been there quite a few times on various endeavors.  Last year, I returned with a friend from the NY area, toured some hot spots, and began anxiously awaiting December 2015, when I could return again on the annual college-run trip.

Fast-forward to late September, and I’m quite literally a wreck— leaving one job after a terrifying police-involving situation, getting used to piles of new pills, barely eating or sleeping, and just generally in a state of malaise, not to mention the constant buildup of schoolwork.

One of my best friends, who’d worked side-by-side with me at the Bookstore all summer, took me aside at the peak of it all and asked “Are you sure you don’t want to go on this New York City trip this weekend?”

In addition to “my” trip in December, the school has an autumn trip to see a Broadway show.  Though the bus-only tickets were significantly cheaper than the bus + theatre ones, I hadn’t had the additional funds at the time of their sale to go— in my current state, I was hardly in a state to be reminded of that.

Sam, my friend, wasn’t trying to break my heart after all.  Instead, he’d acquired an extra ticket, and, knowing my fascination and familiarity with the city, claimed it on the off chance I’d be up for it, as a way to cheer me up.

Believe it or not, his Best Friend of the Year award points get even more impressive as the story goes on....

Believe it or not, his Best Friend of the Year award points get even more impressive as the story goes on….

After I anal retentively planned our jam-packed trip by the minute, we headed off on a long, long bus ride, fueled with coffee, almond granola, and each other’s company.

Despite my usual Lincoln Tunnel panic attack and Sam’s newbie fascination with quite literally every building we passed from Jersey on, we made it to Penn Station.

From there, we stopped by Carlo’s Bakery, of the TV show Cake Boss.  Though I couldn’t eat anything (not a single dairy-less option, unfortunately!), I was able to warm up with some more coffee and enjoy the atmosphere.

Though it's flagship shop is in Hoboken, the 8th Avenue bakery is all the cakes with half the crowd!

Though it’s flagship shop is in Hoboken, the 8th Avenue bakery is all the cakes with half the crowd!

From there, it was toy store heaven— Disney, Toys R Us, and Nintendo World, where Sam nearly bought out their entire stock of Pokemon plush.  I came home with a Sleepy Eevee, one of my childhood favourites, and, of course, a new Perry for the collection (this one talks!!!).

We cut through toys to Rockefeller Centre— saddening without it’s usual tree and festivities.  My elation quickly returned, though, when we hit my absolute favourite spot in the city.

Fifth Avenue... Businesspeople, the wealthy, and Jules, obsessing over sparkly things.

Fifth Avenue… Businesspeople, the wealthy, and Jules, obsessing over sparkly things.

When we’d been planning, Sam asked me “What’s the cheapest thing at Tiffany’s?”  Far too acquainted with their catalogue, I quickly rattled off some highlights— a $125 pendant, a $75 pen…. Of course, I quoted Breakfast at Tiffany’s:  “A sterling silver telephone dialer…. at 6.75, including federal tax.”

“I could buy something for you and something for my mom,” he said thoughtfully as we drove from shop to shop, planning the perfect city-worthy outfits.  I shushed him, considering his contemplation to be absolute nonsense.

I’d found him the perfect necklace for his Mom, and as we strolled the third floor (after undoubtedly convincing the second floor lovelies that we were in fact a couple, as I showed him the exact rings I plan to have come my engagement [to Prince Harry], I couldn’t help but look around myself.

I have to admit— I looked pretty amazing on this trip;  at least good enough for the employees to bother greeting me and whatnot.  It’s a truly amazing feeling, to be greeted by a Tiffany’s employee— “nothing very bad could happen to you there….

In the process, I came across a gorgeous ring I’d been admiring on the site.  Sam’s prompting earlier to try on the $14,000 engagement ring came to mind.  Surely, even my extreme klutziness couldn’t deter me from trying on the significantly cheaper engraved sterling silver band?

Sam joined me at the counter after making his purchase and agreed.  I gave the clerk my ring size— a six, if my future husband happens to be reading this— and he handed me the display, conveniently the same size (if that isn’t a sign from the Gods, I’m not sure what is).

“I could get it for you,” Sam insisted.  We bickered like the old married couple we essentially are, but I gave in eventually.  It was practically blackmail, with the sparkling silver circlet on my hand and the employee watching it shine with adoration.  I was soon handed a bag housing a blue box in which my brand-new ring shined.  If I hadn’t already had their address engrained in my mind, I’d know it now, as it sparkles on my hand almost always.

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From there, we went to Central Park, Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and an amazing vegan cafe called VLife.

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I navigated the city quite successfully, introduced one of my favourite people to one of my favourite places, and received a piece of jewelry from the place where I’m happiest in the world.  Overall, a successful trip!

Best friends forever, obviously!

Best friends forever, obviously!

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