Hello New York

Hello New York

Right now I am fulfilling one of my dreams. I know this may sound silly, but as I sit uncomfortably on the packed megabus to New York, I can't help but feel overwhelming excitement. New York is the city that I have idolized since I was a young girl. The fashion, the glamour and nonstop pace of the city life is where I always thought I belonged. My three hour bus ride seems like an eternity as I shuffle around in my stiff seat. My body is tired but my mind is unwelcoming to the sleep that creeps up when my mind settles down enough to let it. My excitement can't be contained by my body, my legs begin to tap and my eyes widen as we approach the New York skyline. Photos don't do this city justice, failing to capture its essence. Our bus dropped us off in the middle of Times Square and for a moment I thought I was standing alone and the city was all mine.

 

Times Square in New York

 

I was in full tourist mode, pointing out notable locations that I've seen on TV. "Oh, that's where the Macy's Day Parade happens... and, oh my gosh, that's where the ball drops for New Year's Eve." It is as if I've been to New York before, just based on my experiences watching on television. I stood in the middle of Times Square for a moment taking it all in. Between the lights, large crowds and lavish stores -- the experience is overwhelming. There is so much history and culture in New York that even if I lived here for a lifetime it wouldn't be long enough to soak it all in.

 

Standing in the middle of Times Square.

 

It's so interesting when you create an image or an idea of how something should be and when you get there it's not quite like you imagined. I knew New York's reputation. It's known for being the fast paced, always-on-the-move type of city. But I was not prepared for the robust crowds on every street. It was as if every person felt like they owned the sidewalk, dipping and weaving past you, shoving and jay-walking. It's one thing to hear about something and another to live it. But by the end of the weekend the New York sidewalk culture rubbed off on me. I learned to move with the current and not against it. Oh, but it gets even better. My adventure on the New York subway system was quite different than anything I've ever experienced. In no way do I want to come off as pampered or privileged but going into their subway system definitely made me appreciate our public transportation system at home and in D.C. much more.

 

New York Subway System.

 

Traveling in New York.

 

New York has a very grungy, lived-in appeal to it. But somehow it is appealing -- you find its beauty even through the dirt, grime and grit. You begin to appreciate the city because it is all these things. But it's also so much more. I developed a sort of unconditional love for New York this weekend; it was not what I expected, it was so much more. This city reminds me of the kid that grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, but built herself up. This type of person has two sides. One that goes to fancy parties and speaks properly and elegantly because that's who she's learned she has to be, and another that is more of a street side, flush with character and tough attitude. New York has given me a lot of firsts - my first time ever seeing a rat, leaving the United States in the middle of Manhattan (and journeying into 193 different countries via the United Nations), and most of all, my first time being in a city that truly has a personality of its own. It's true -- this city will eat you alive, if you let it.

 

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