Now, it’s been a good three years since I visited New York. But I can remember it as though it was yesterday. The freshness that seemed to flatter the air as I walked out of the airport. A city unlike any other. A city like a dream, wonder and anticipation.
I don’t even know where to begin with this city. Or how to begin. New York has always been a city I’ve dreamt about, a city I never expected to visit in my lifetime. But when the opportunity arose, I grabbed it as quick as I could. How could I let such an exciting opportunity go? Who could? As a child, New York was everywhere from my favourite TV shows to novels and even across my small town in the North of England. It was everywhere and I had to see it.
It’s a city like you would never expect. It’s so much more. It has everything you could ever dream off, from the people to the buildings to the adventures. I remember the feeling as we drove towards the big city, I could see it in the distance and even from afar you could see how substantial the city truly was. It was mesmerising. The buildings higher and taller than I ever believed, you could sense how truly hectic the city was.
Now, I went with my College so I was aged around seventeen – eighteen and to a young adult adventuring into an immense city, a trip without parents for the first time was a big deal and completely nerve-wracking. But I wouldn’t change my experience for the world. The city was looming over us as we drove towards the big apple and as we entered. My god, I couldn’t even explain the feelings that ran throughout my body. I expected to see businessmen and women clattering about, rushing with cups of coffee in their hands as they raced to their jobs. But no, to my surprise we entered the city during Gay Pride. Therefore, the city was packed with such a diverse culture. Men and women danced around the streets drinking beers and wine in celebration of such a positive stance against discrimination. Bright colours illuminated from building and floating parades that made their way down the streets.
However, due to the pride, it made it extremely difficult for our coach to make its way through the NYC streets. Ultimately, we had to grab our luggage and attempt to find our hotel by ourselves. And there we were. Twenty-something students stranded in the middle of New York without any clue on where to go. Luckily, our teachers had visited the same hotel on a previous trip and had a slight idea where to go. Nevertheless, that did not help. The group ending up splitting with some students rushing as they followed the teachers with some including me who stopped, sat on their suitcase and watched the parade float by. I had just got into New York. There was no way I was missing such an experience. Unfortunately, at this point, I had my camera packed away and wasn’t able to capture any decent images. But I did get a few videos on my phone.
I went with my English Literature class during my A-Levels so the trip consisted of seeing landmarks that related to the novels that we had read. Such as The Great Gatsby. Therefore, we saw the Plaza hotel an iconic and truly historic building built in 1907. I and a few friends walked to Queensboro bridge to view how monumental it truly was, and I don’t exaggerate when I say it was colossal and honestly so magnificent. We took a bike ride around central park, viewing sites such as The Ramble and Lake, Strawberry Field’s Imagine Mosaic, which honoured The Beatles John Lennon who lived and was killed at the Dakota Apartments just across the road from the sight and the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. All, which was such a sight to see and definitely worth adding it to your to-do list. Also, I would advise catching one of the bike rides around the park. Depending on the person you get and how you deal with it, it’s very cheap.
Of course, NYC is such a big city and it’s just impossible that you are able to see all the sights within three days. But you can see an awful lot if you plan it carefully and stick to it. Other sights that I saw that I think any first time tourist has to see would by Times Square. The square has a vibe to it, a vibe that I can’t quite pinpoint – it’s almost surreal, as though you are not actually there. The large buildings tower over you almost making you feel light headed when you glance upwards. The lights – especially at night are so bright I honestly believe you would still need to wear sunglasses. Next is the Empire State Building, which is probably the scariest experience yet. You don’t actually realise how high up you are until you look over the edge and see the city. It is breathtaking and definitely hair-raising. But 100% worth it.
Another sight I would make the time to see is the world trade centre memorial. The memorial is in the former location at the World Centre sight, the former location of the twin towers, where on September 11th, 2001 suicide bombers crashed two planes into both buildings killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000. The sight itself was eery almost – extremely quiet and peaceful. Yet, beautiful all at the same time. It’s the perfect way to pay your respect to those who lost their lives whilst learning as you go.