I never would’ve thought, I could be a New Yorker. I am a very sweet, patient, and conserved 14 year-old. While New York has the most snobby, impatient, and daring people there is. Little did I know the effect this trip would have on me at the end.
It was Christmas Day. I hopped off of the plane in Newark, New Jersey to get a ride with the most pleasing taxi driver there is: “Hurry up! Get in it’s freezing out here! Come on, pull down your suitcase handles”. We had no idea what we were in for. I couldn't believe I was going to New York. A rush of adrenaline shot through my body as soon as I emerged from under the Lincoln tunnel. I thought what I saw couldn’t be true. It was as if there were a million light bulbs shining all over these humongous buildings. I heard the constant honking of selfish taxi drivers “trying” to speed up traffic. Every sidewalk imaginable filled with 50 people. We’re in New York alright.
Our friend’s apartment, where my family and I were staying, was spectacular. I walked through revolving doors into an modern, polished building filled with the scent of fresh linen. Looking out of the apartment, which had floor-to-ceiling length windows, made me feel as if one centimeter of pressure put on that glass would cause me to fall out and hit the grounds of the ragged sidewalks. After hurling our luggage into the apartment, we went out to explore the city.
It was nearly 15 degrees outside, and walking around with mesh leggings on wasn’t the smartest idea. But the excitement of the city brought me warmth. Approaching Times Square I didn’t know what to expect. I had always seen pictures but I never thought those could be real. I was wrong. A thousand bright flashing screens surrounded me. I was jabbed left and right trying to get through the people. I really got to let out my aggressive self, which doesn’t happen often. Everyone was trying to take pictures, get to their favorite shop, or figure out where they needed to go. After visiting Times Square, we had walked all the way down to Rockefeller Center. My whole life I’ve wanted to see this “world wide symbol of Christmas” tree. One glance and I felt as if my whole body was filled with pure magic. The bright colors of red, green, blue, yellow, and white lights gleamed in my eyes. The Christmas music from the ice rink below rang in my ears. The fresh scent of Norway spruce was in the air, and made its way to my nose. Christmas night was magical, but it was only the beginning.
The blinding sun gave me a rude awakening the next day. But it was another day for adventure in New York. Tuesday was the day we visited the lady herself, the Statue of Liberty. My family and I had over 3 hours of waiting just to get on the ferry. We were huddled next to complete strangers because the lines were so packed. Let alone the frigid temperatures New York had that day. My whole body was numb to the bone by the time we got on the base of the “torch girl”. But seeing this 305-foot lady, looking out at the most beautiful view of New York, made it worth it. After taking many photos and trying to stay warm, we had got on the ferry to go back to the city. It was about 4:30 p.m. and we had only shared two hotdogs to try and hold us over for four more hours. We were about to visit one of the most tragic events that had happened in the United States history. 9/11. The museum was filled with the most tragic yet fascinating facts about 9/11. They had even built this museum off of the foundation of one of the twin towers. The museum had interactive technology, narratives, and many artifacts. The whole three hours I was glued to all the information the museum had to offer. It was around 8 o’clock when we were forced to leave the museum. It had been a very long, exhausting day and I couldn’t wait to crash into bed.
The next morning I crammed a stale banana muffin in my mouth as I rushed out the door to get to the Empire State Building. We wanted to get there as early as possible, because having experience with the previous day’s lines, we were done with waiting. Going through security was a breeze and before we knew it we were on the 86th floor stepping through the double doors to get outside and take a look. I could see miles and miles out, as if the Earth never had an end. I saw all the slim, polished, and monstrous buildings New York City had to offer. The view just took my breath away. Eventually we had to look away and go back down 86 floors. It was a beautiful day, perfect to go to Central Park. After 52 hours, I had finally seen trees again. They had historic bridges, frozen lakes, and wooden benches. A nice stroll in the park was just what I needed after being surrounded by humongous crowds. It was bitterly cold walking around so we decided to get a carriage ride to show us around. We had these soft-cushioned seats and a huge fuzzy blanket thrown over us to keep us warm. I just got sit back and relax. After visiting Central Park we had to get ready for the broadway show we were seeing, Jersey Boys. The singing and choreography was amazing. I was on the edge of my seat the whole show. That was a late night, but one of the most memorable ones. New York was really starting to grow on me.
Thursday was an exhilarating day. I got up, put on at least three pairs of pants and three shirts, gathered up my things, and set out to enjoy one of our last days in New York. We went to use the subway for the first time. Whenever I was little, I would always see shows with people riding on the subway, and I thought “I want to do that!” There I was. As we were going down the steps, right away we could smell the mixture of sewer and garbage in the air. The staircase handles, filthy and old, hadn’t been cleaned in years. The walls had faded white tiles with a slim line of green tiles near the top. Signs were hanging up by rusted chains, and empty tracks were filled with three or more rats searching for food. As we had gathered on the train, we heard the engines roar and then we sped off. The time the subway saved us instead of a cab was incredible. We then went to Bryant Park, which is sort of like “Green Tree” at Kirkwood Park, but in New York. There were many festive little shops and even a huge ice rink in the center of the park. We did some strolling and then set off to Times Square to do a little shopping. Our day was pretty relaxed, after what we have done the past three days, we needed it. I set off to bed early to get a good night's rest before my last day exploring the city.
There was a distant sound ringing in my head that just kept getting louder and louder, until I realized, it was my alarm. I got up and got ready, at a snail's pace. My legs felt so sore from the constant walking I had done. We went back to Bryant Park early in the morning to beat the crowd for ice skating. We had originally planned to go skating at Rockefeller Center, but the wait would have been at least two hours and this was a better deal. I had a great time ice skating and didn’t even fall once. After hitting the ice, we decided to go to Central Park again for one last look. This park brought me joy and I was glad we went back. We took a cab and then went to Macy's, which always decks out for the holidays. Their window decorations were over the top. The day flew past us and before we knew it, it was already 8:30 pm. We then packed up our things and made sure everything was good to go for the next day.
My last morning in New York had arrived. I looked out my apartment window to see one last view of New York. Our Uber driver was waiting down by our building and we had to leave for the airport. I grabbed my suitcase and walked out of the building into the car. I glanced out the window, realizing that each minute I was getting further and further from New York. Oh, will I miss the Big Apple.