20 Hours in New York City | The Washington Center

20 Hours in New York City

We crossed the Lincoln Tunnel, and I could see skyscrapers and yellow taxi cabs. I heard Frank Sinatra playing on Spotify, and I knew I was going “right through the very heart of it… New York, New York ♫."


Last Wednesday proved to be a very different kind of workday. I woke up as usual, had a cup of coffee, put on my suit and tie, and left for work. This time, I wasn’t going to my internship at the Embassy of Mexico; instead, I had to catch a bus for a 4-hour commute. But how did I end up all the way in New York City (NYC) on a normal weekday? Well, we have to go back a week.


At my internship, we (the interns) are often sent to events in different parts of D.C. and asked to write a brief summary of what happened. About a week ago, I found an upcoming lecture about Mexico’s political and economic outlook for 2017 and thought it would be a great event to attend. When I asked my supervisor if I could cover the lecture, she said "Of course.”


That prompted my second question: "Can I attend the lecture in NYC?" She said I could attend the lecture if I really wanted to; that was enough for me, and that same day I booked some very cheap bus tickets and was one step closer to my trip!

The iconic Empire State Building in the heart of New York City.


Flash forward a week, and I found myself in the Big Apple. The bus left us at Madison Square Garden, and the first thing that grabbed my attention was the towering buildings. In D.C., the tallest structure is the Washington Monument, which you can see a few blocks down the street. By contrast, any normal apartment building in NYC is taller than the Washington Monument, ha!


Without any money and with limited time, I decided to use those few hours to go sightseeing and picture-taking. After studying the NYC subway map on the bus (and having a few weeks of practice on the metro in D.C.), I felt like a public transportation pro. I took the subway downtown to see the World Trade Center (WTC) Memorial.

The last time I went to Ground Zero in 2006, I was a little kid and all I can remember is a large construction site. Now it’s a beautiful memorial that stands as a symbol of American resolve. I could only stand there as the water flowed through each memorial pool and remember the images of the 9/11 attacks, so fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday.

Later, I walked to see the Charging Bull and the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. After taking a few pictures, I hopped on the subway again and went uptown to see the United Nations Headquarters. As a student of TWC's International Affairs professional track, it was amazing to see the epicenter of world diplomacy.


Not wasting any time, I walked to the NYC Public Library, the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts and made a quick stroll through Central Park. When it was almost time to go to the lecture, I went to a local deli and had a salami sandwich before arriving at the Council of the Americas.

A contrast of Central Park and the city urbanscape.

At the lecture, I heard from three professionals on Mexican policy and economy. They engaged in thoughtful discussion about how Mexico would need to address its domestic policy issues before dealing with the Trump administration. They responded to all of our questions, and I felt that the content of the event was worth the long trip it took.


When the lecture ended, I walked to Times Square to meet with Marla, a really great friend I get to see a few times a year. We met and exchanged a few impressions on D.C. and NYC over some coffee. Even though we forgot to take a picture of our brief encounter, it was nice to see people you care about, even for a few minutes.

A city that never sleeps. Times Square, NYC.

The only stressful moment about the trip was getting back to D.C. My bus was scheduled to depart at 10:00 p.m. I arrived 15 seconds after 10 p.m., so guess what? It left me. As I saw the bus go around the corner, I started to feel a bit stranded. I knew there was another bus scheduled for 11:30 p.m., but how could I know if there was room on that trip?


The guy from the bus line said that I had to stand in line and hope it wasn’t a full trip. There I was, in the cold, for an hour and a half, with only a phone line to Puerto Rico and a guy I met in the line also waiting to see if there was room on that trip. When the last bus of the day arrived and the passengers with tickets boarded, I was relieved to know that there was plenty of room for me on the bus. We left New York by 11:45 p.m., made a few stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore, and finally got to Union Station in D.C. at 5:00 a.m.

Finally, I walked to the apartment building to conclude my 20-hour New York adventure. I slept two hours and got ready for another day of work. Next time I go to NYC, I’ll be sure to be at the bus stop ON TIME. I really felt like I was “king of the hill, and top of the heap.”♫

I know this is my lengthiest post yet, but thank you for reading to the end. Looking for more? Read my last posts about a few “firsts” in DC and my experience in Congress.

Until next week,


Read Daniel's previous blog posts

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