New York City / Brighton Beach | Day 2 | 18 August 2021

I woke up on Wednesday morning and was happy to see the sun shining into my bedroom. It would be a decent day. I started up my phone, answered a text message from dad and looked at the weather. It would be cloudy later, but no rain until much later in the evening.

I walked to the beach and spent the next 4 hours in the water, feeding the pigeons, and hanging out on the beach.

The water was freezing cold again and with the wind, I felt a bit of a chill. Hey, I love it and it did remind me of the polar plunges I did in the past.

I had a delicious Russian lunch at Volna Cafe. I ordered warm borscht and rice, along with Kompot. Kompot is a Russian fruit juice and it was delicious. It almost reminded me of a cranberry juice because it wasn’t overly sweet. Fruit juice that had the right amount of sweetness. The borscht was delicious too, with an extra hint of dill.

When I was taking photos, I noticed the older women cutting the potatoes and preparing other food, I had to snap some of them.

I signed up for a memoir writing workshop, free through Gotham Writers, that was being held that Wednesday night at Bryant Park at 7:30. I left my Air BNB at 4:30 and caught the 4:50 Q train to Manhattan. While I was on the train, I chatted with because I told her I loved her bag. She let me take a photo of her. I found out she is originally from Bensalem and moved to Coney Island last year. She absolutely loves NYC for the same reasons I do: a lot to do and you don’t need to drive.

When she hopped off at Atlantic Ave./Barclays, she gave me her Instagram username. When I bring back the Happiness Box Project Instagram page, I’ll add her.

I hopped off at 46th Street and walked to The Little Beet. I discovered them two years ago thanks to Gluten-Free Living magazine; they serve only GF foods. The law in New York City is one MUST show proof of vaccination to dine inside. I showed my proof and I was still the only one dining inside The Little Beet. It felt odd to be the only one in a restaurant in Times Square. I ordered a beet falafel and it was delicious.

After dinner, I decided to take photos in front of Radio City Music Hall and the fountain.

On my way to my class at Bryant Park, I passed a peanut vender.

I try not to get political here. When I was walking to my workshop, I passed by a peanut seller and Fox News. I didn’t realize Fox News was headquartered in NYC, but this whole thing was hilarious. Nuts 4 Nuts was selling their goods outside of Fox. Nuts for Nuts, indeed.

I arrived at Bryant Park and it was gorgeous. I’ve never been to Bryant Park before and wow. Just wow. As I wandered, I discovered a yoga class. I asked the coordinator where the reading room was, she pointed to it, and told me about all the free classes that are offered. Thursday night was free salsa dancing and I told her I’d try to attend.

Memoir class through Gotham’s Writers Workshop. Cullen Thomas was the instructor and it was amazing participating in a workshop in person instead of Zoom.

Of course, selfie with the instructor at the end! Such an awesome evening!

I then explored Times Square. What fun!

As I was walking to the subway, a couple approached me and asked me to take their photos since they saw my DSLR camera. I obliged, for free.

Don’t worry, I edited them. They gave me their email addresses and I emailed them the edited photos.

I made my way to the subway and of course, I had to take photos of the subway. Beautiful architecture and I wanted to capture the COVID scenes.

I made it back to Brighton Beach at 10:30 and as I walked back to my Air BNB, this beautiful cat greeted me. I loved running into him.

I headed to my room and began to write my note for Wednesday.

I put the note into my travel Happiness Box, turned out the lights, went to bed and dreamt about Day 3.

Published by


Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

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