A Travellerspoint blog

DIY Skillz - Resoling Your Own Shoes

sunny 14 °C

One of the things I really love about couch surfing is the amazing things you can learn from the people you stay with. I am cheap and this causes me to do several things: buy cheap and poorly made products, and walk rather than take public transportation if at all possible. These things combine to cause me to destroy shoes in a matter of months. And I mean really destroy! So imagine my delight when I learned that my first CS host in NYC, Ashanti, could fix shoes.

He not only very graciously donated his time to teach me how to stitch my new soles on, he also donated some of his materials to me, and on top of that took me to the hole in wall shop where I could buy my own supplies to take with me. No more super glueing my fingers together in an attempt to stick the soles back on my boots! Together, we restitched the soles on the black shoes, as well as put on a completely new sole on my brown boots. There is no longer a large gaping hole on the bottom of each of my brown boots now. And of course, no more taking my shoulder bags to the cobbler when I overpack them and break off the straps!

Restitching my black shoes.... good bye to super glue

Restitching my black shoes.... good bye to super glue

It's amazing how easy it is to fix or resole shoes! Its a really simple skill to learn, and although its a little bit time consuming, its definitely worth it. If it wasn't for Ashanti, I would have probably had to re glue my cheapo shoes back together after all the walking I have done here.

Posted by Jadabond 17:23 Archived in USA Tagged diy Comments (0)

Walking the soles right off my shoes...

We don't need no public transportation.

sunny 18 °C

I'm a walker. I can walk very long distances in what would seem to be the most unreasonable footwear choices without getting tired. My shoes have an average life span of three to six months. New York is one of the world's largest cities. But who says I can't walk the length of it?

We left the hostel in Canarsie very early in the morning in able to get to our first Couch Surfing host's house in Washington Heights, which is located at the northern tip of Manhattan. It took about two hours on the metro. We definitely did not walk that. After settling in and meeting Ashanti who is our first host, we decided that the weather was perfect to visit central park.

The three of us hopped on the metro and rode to the south west corner of the park. From here we began our walk. We meandered through the park, with Ashanti taking us to all the most beautiful spots - from manicured English gardens, to areas almost entirely left to the natural growth. One of the things that surprised me the most about the park were the massive rocks and stone coming out from the ground. Apparently New York is built upon volcanic rock, which is why they can build such high skyscrapers here.

Giant rocks in Central Park

Giant rocks in Central Park


Hidden waterfalls and other treasures in Central Park

Hidden waterfalls and other treasures in Central Park

After walking the entire length of Central park, which is about fifty city blocks. After that we walked through Harlem and stopped at an amazing vegetarian restaurant, Uptown Juice Bar at 54 W 125th street, and continued walking to the base of the Triborough bridge. At this point, some members of our walking troupe were getting tired, but we all decided to press onwards. The Triborough bridge is more like two bridges that cross over Randalls island. At this point in the day, the sun was beginning to set over Manhattan producing the most astounding views. The bridge is a very busy car bridge, and the whole thing was shaking constantly as we crossed.

Manhattan from the Triborough bridge

Manhattan from the Triborough bridge


At one point I decided to stand up on the concrete divided to avoid getting cars in my pictures. After climbing up I realized that I was right next to a Jade sized hole leading all the way down to the ground....and my death. I quickly got down.

At one point I decided to stand up on the concrete divided to avoid getting cars in my pictures. After climbing up I realized that I was right next to a Jade sized hole leading all the way down to the ground....and my death. I quickly got down.

Between the two bridges we were able to get back on solid ground, where we found a great place underneath another bridge to take photos for the album art of our future band. Now we all just need to learn how to play instruments and be talented. But at least the album art is ready!

Matt is being the brooding lead singer in the background

Matt is being the brooding lead singer in the background

Now he is doing something rather backstreet boy-esque

Now he is doing something rather backstreet boy-esque

Eventually, we made it to Astoria in Queens..... about eight miles or thirteen kilometres. Where we were expected to help build the set for an off broadway play. Needless to say after about thirty minutes of helping out, I promptly fell asleep on an old church pew in the basement.

Posted by Jadabond 16:28 Archived in USA Tagged central_park triborough_bridge Comments (0)

Breaking in NYC's Newest Hostel

sunny 12 °C

As a seasoned traveller, I know the importance of planning ahead, packing only the necessities while being sure to not overpack, and of course, to be well rested before starting out on any journey. Of course, I never take my own advice. My flight leaving from Winnipeg was departing at 7:15, and since this is an international flight I needed to be there by 5:15. Usually in cases like this I would sleep in the airport the night previous, and I would have done that... if I had been better organized.

1:30 am, the day I am supposed to be flying, and I am still packing. The reason I found myself in this state of sitting on my backpack in an effort to compress its contents enough with the weight of my own body in order to be able to close the buckles..... blatantly ignoring rule #2. Don't overpack. I managed to pack my bulging packs in a sufficiently reasonable manner and went to bed to try to get at least two good hours of sleep. I was probably not the most pleasant person to be around when the alarm went off two and a half hours later, but a white chocolate mocha fixed that quickly enough.

The backpack. It has seen the world with me. And weighs about half as much as I do.

The backpack. It has seen the world with me. And weighs about half as much as I do.

Two flights and some much appreciated naps later, we arrived in NYC. Although I did my best to be prepared (I did remember to write down the address of the hostel!), I failed to remember that it is sometimes a good idea to figure out directions in advance. I'm used to backpacking in Europe, where the tourist infrastructure is immaculately well laid out. This ended up with us taking a very round about route to the hostel, but at least we were not planning a big night out after our minimal sleep anyhow. We arrived at Adventure Hostels at around 20:00. I was surprised at how much the place looked like a small flat. Well it turns out that it is a flat that was recently turned into a hostel, so recently in fact, that Matt and I were it's first guests.

Normally I am a major advocate of couch surfing, but staying in this hostel was an amazing experience. It is located near the last stop (Canarsie) on the L train. If you plan to spend most of your time in Manhattan, then this hostel might be a little far away for you, but the price is certainly right! However, it is really close to JFK airport, so would make a great resting point for people flying into that specific airport. The staff were extraordinarily friendly. They were all super eager to meet us, and even shared their Mexican food and beer with us. Any questions we had were promptly answered. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

They even insisted that we take photos with them, as we were their first guests, and if you go visit this hostel, you will probably get to see a similar picture to this one in their information cabinet!

The friendliest hostel in NYC

The friendliest hostel in NYC

Posted by Jadabond 15:49 Archived in USA Tagged new_york hostel Comments (0)

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