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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Traveling has looked very different the past year, even for day trips, and especially for city trips. I took a trip into New York to visit my friend who goes to school there and here’s how our day was. 

I always take the train into Penn Station from central Jersey when going to the city, it’s about an hour ride, and I can safely say it was less crowded than usual. I went on a Saturday which resembled a normal weekday pre-pandemic and my friend said that as vaccinations increase more people have slowly been going out in NYC. 

skyline of New York at night
Photo by Luca Bravo from Unsplash
If you haven’t been to the Macy’s near Penn Station (Herald Square), it’s a must—with ten floors you’re bound to find something good and there’s plenty of discount racks. After exploring Macy’s for a while, we met up with a friend from high school who started a photography page and wanted to take pictures around Soho. We headed to Soho, which took some time as subways and trains are running less during the pandemic, and stopped at Soho Thai for lunch. Seriously good Thai food and maybe I’m used to small town prices, but 14 dollars for a lunch special that included a meal, appetizer, and drink was really good (highly recommend Thai iced tea— I get it all the time, it’s the bomb). 

While the crowds are thinner, traffic hasn’t slowed that much in the city that never sleeps. We took our time exploring Soho and I was so surprised now seeing New York since the last city I went to was London when I was abroad a year ago; it was like I saw the city completely differently especially since New York was the only city I ever spent a lot of time in before. Also, we only stayed in Manhattan and the Bronx (where my friend’s apartment is), so I didn’t get to see if Queens or Brooklyn look much different Covid wise. 

We did have to stop at my friend’s favorite taco place ever, Los Tacos, which is the best because they use the freshest ingredients and you can even see them shaving the meat. We made our way back to the Bronx for a night in, and I was pleasantly surprised that almost everyone wore masks because I see a good amount of people in NJ that aren’t this strict when a store isn’t there to regulate them, but everyone on the subway and trains were good. 

new york
Original photo by Megan Hollasch
All in all, the city wasn’t too different pandemic wise and even the small restaurants have spaced out tables and plastic shields in between them; there’s so many places to eat in the city that neither place we went to was crowded. Transportation was probably the biggest difference with less times for trains and subways, but there’s also the night life that has taken a big hit. While some clubs are starting to open up, many people have opted to go to rooftop restaurants on the weekend rather than parties. While I really enjoyed the less crowded New York, I’ll be so excited the next time I can see a broadway show or a concert at Madison Square Garden. 

Megan Hollasch

U Mass Amherst '22

Megan is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Communication and English. When she's not writing, you can find Megan waitressing, golfing, and hanging out with her dog, Felix. Feel free to follow her Instagram @meganholl57!
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