New York, United States

New York City Day 1

Sunday, November 10 – Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Shortly after arriving back from my trip to Philadelphia, I headed back to New York City for a mini trip with my mom.

Our day started bright and early, as our flight boarded around 6 AM. Thankfully, our flight was out of Portland, which is the city in Southern Maine near where we live. I rarely fly out of Portland because it’s usually significantly cheaper to fly out of Boston, a city in Massachusetts about two hours south. Portland (PWM) is a small airport so navigation and security tends to go much faster, so it’s always nice when I can fly out of there.

The adventure began around 3 AM when I locked myself out of my house. My mom came to pick me up, and I stepped outside, accidentally locking the door, and didn’t have my bags. And, this was the one time my mom didn’t have a spare key. So, we problem-solved the best we could:

After that was all set, we took an Uber to the airport because that was more cost-effective than paying for parking at PWM. My mom had a terrible moment of realization in the Uber that because we were only bringing carryons/personal items, she would not be able to bring her beloved protein drinks.

We left them as a gift of thanks to our Uber driver and were on our way. We both chugged a coffee from Cumberland Farms on our way, and then arrived at the airport ready to go with plenty of time.

We got checked in, went through security, and we were on the plane by 6:30 AM. It was fairly smooth flight with no delays.

Once we landed at JFK, I saw an outlet… that you had to pay for. What in tarnation?

After we took necessary bathroom and snack breaks, we headed to ground transportation to take the Metro to our first stop. One of the main benefits of only bringing carryons/personal items is that you don’t have to stop at your hotel/accommodation first if you don’t want to. We were able to just head to the first destination with our small bags in tow and start the adventure.

Empire State Building

Our first stop was the Empire State Building, an iconic building in New York that stands 102 stories and 1,454 feet tall. It was the tallest building in the world for 40 years after its creation.

Photo courtesy of

There are multiple ticket options. The primary difference is that they all include the museum and the 86th floor observatory, but you can upgrade to go to the 102nd floor Top Deck 360° observation. Neither of us had ever been to the Empire State Building, so we decided to go for the 86th/102nd floor ticket.

The first few floors include a museum where you can learn all about the history, architecture, and construction of the ESB, as well as see famous movies and events that have taken place there. For example, the King Kong famous movie scene and the annual ESB run-up race where people climb 1,872 steps to the Top Deck. 4 million visitors come to the ESB every year and based on a 2011 study, it is actually the most photographed building in the world. It is home to many businesses (including LinkedIn, Shutterstock, Citizen, Global Brands Group, and more) with over 2.8 million rentable square feet. It even has its own zip code (10118)!

Here are some photos from the museum portion:

Our next stop was the 86th floor observation deck. There was a bit of a line, and they only took in a small amount of people at a time. Once we were up there, it was worth the wait and had beautiful views.

Our next stop was continuing up to the 102nd Top Deck. This was entirely in glass, unlike the 86th floor which had an outdoor deck.

Oh, side note. My mom was in a sling because she had just said surgery on her hand. This made for quite the interesting experience going through TSA and security to enter the ESB. There was a super cool guide up top on the Top Deck who explained history and the different views we were seeing. They even sold bears in the gift shop dressed in the staff uniform. My mom is notorious for wanting to take photos with friendly staff, so here it is:

Our next stop was Chipotle for lunch, and then we passed an Amazon store on the way. There are none of these close to where I live, so we stopped in just to see what it was like.

Ground Zero Memorial

The Ground Zero Memorial is at the site of 9/11 and is two reflecting pools containing the nation’s largest man-made waterfalls. It is in the exact site of One World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center.

Aerial view photo courtesy of Viator.

The names of all the victims are inscribe along the perimeter. The names of individuals killed at each 9/11 attack location are included, as well as those from the 1993 WTC bombing. To find a name on the edge, there is a guide on the website that helps you find the location.

Each pool takes up one acre and the site is bordered by Greenwich Street, Fulton Street, Liberty Street, and West Street. The entire Memorial site is approximately 16 acres and has other points of interest, such as the Survivor Tree. In between the two building sites, there is the 9/11 Museum, which is the gray triangular building seen in the aerial photo. Because it was close to closing time, we chose to visit this Museum the next day. There are entrance fees to the Museum, but walking around the Memorial and visiting the pools is free. There are guided tours available of the Memorial site for those who wish for a more in-depth exploration of the outside area:

After this, we went to check-in to our hotel, which was just over the river and into Brooklyn: the Pointe Plaza Hotel. From here, my mom got ready to rest and stay in for the night, while I went out for my next adventure: the ABC Champs.

10th American Beatbox Championships

Beatbox has been something I’ve become interested in over the past few years. I went to the ABC Champs back in 2017 but had not been since. With it being the 10th anniversary, I was interested in going. This is originally how this trip to New York was planned and how the dates were selected. So what exactly is beatboxing and more importantly, the culture around it?

Beatboxing is an art form, primarily using vocal percussion to mimic drum machines through the use of the mouth, lips, tongue and voice. It also includes mimicking turntablism and other musical instruments. 

Birthed in 1980s New York, and known as the “fifth element” of hip hop (alongside turntablism, breakdance, graffiti and rapping), legends like Doug E Fresh, Biz Markie, Rahzel and others paved the way for beatboxers and their art form to become respected.

Today there are millions of beatboxers worldwide, and even more fans. As music has evolved, so have the sounds and rhythms, and with new recording, vocal, and loop technologies emerging the possibilities for beatboxers have been redefined in terms of creating music. The spirit of competition is strong, and the art form is constantly being pushed toward new growth.


The ABC Championships are held annually, as well as regional ones. Many other countries have an annual event as well, and every three years, there is the World Beatbox Championship held in Germany. The ABCs are typically a 2-3 event with the early days being open elimination where many people are narrowed down to 32 who then compete in a rap battle style in a bracket system (similar to sports finals).

Photo courtesy of American Beatbox

The events each day are super long and entirely standing, so reminiscent of music festivals, especially when you take into consideration the energy in the room. The final day (Sunday) which was the day I went, lasted 6+ hours. In addition to one-on-one battles, there are also 2v2 and loop station battles.

Photo courtesy of American Beatbox

One of the most unique experience of this championship was that Doug E Fresh, one of the founders of beatbox, performed and was given the Lifetime Achievement award.

Photo courtesy of Eddie Flanigan

I don’t have many good photos or videos, so be sure to check out the ABC YouTube channel and Facebook page.

The winner of this battle was Audical, and the final battle video footage compiled by ABC is below:

Minutes after finding out the winner, I took an Uber back to the hotel to finally be off my feet and get some rest. That concluded the American Beatbox Championships and our first day in New York City!

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