My suitemates were just moving into the dorms and already, I couldn’t wait to get out. I had been here a week already and hadn’t done the one thing that I had come to America to do.
I needed to go and see Manhattan with my own eyes.
Some people told me that I would get bored of the city after a few weeks. Others said they avoided the city at all costs. This didn’t sit right with me.
I think it’s crazy to be in New York and let yourself fall out of love with a city that gives so much.
Despite all the stereotypes I had been told about New Yorkers, I was standing outside the Rockefeller Center, dazed and confused, when a lady kindly approached me, asked if I was lost and gave me directions. Surprisingly, I was told I was heading in the right direction and just needed to turn the corner. When I did, I was hit with my first major New York City landmark; Radio City. It was lit up to the max, casting a light across the whole street. I couldn’t believe that I was standing in front of this amazing building, steeped in New York history. I wanted to look inside, but I had other things to see, so I made my way up to Central Park.
As I stood across from the park, a horse and carriage pulled up in front of me and a young couple got out. I couldn’t help but think about how romantic that must have been, like a scene from a movie. As I walked along the outskirts, I couldn’t believe that such beauty could exist in the middle of such a huge and busy city. I wanted to explore it more, but as I looked forward I was dumbstruck by a street sign that drew meaway from the park.
Broadway! Completely in awe, I strolled down Broadway, not believing I was actually walking on the famed road, renowned as the Mecca of Musicals across the globe. Every couple of yards there was a different show. Mamma Mia, Chicago, Wicked, The Lion King. There were so many of them – I couldn’t count. Theatres were interwoven with coffee shops and little stores. It felt so bohemian. I couldn’t wait to come again and catch a show. As I wandered further and further down Broadway, I could see lights. Lights so big they surpassed the skyline. I kept going and going and I realized where I was.
Arriving in Times Square, I did a 360 on myself to try and take in everything that was going on. It was probably my biggest shock of the day. Times Square is truly one of those places that you have to be there to truly see it, and can’t be described with words alone. All the people, all the lights, all the billboards, it was all so overwhelming, but at the same time, so absolutely captivating. It finally dawned on me that I was actually standing in New York City, and everything was better than anything I could have seen in a book, on TV, in a movie, or, indeed, better than anything my imagination could have created.
After my first day in the city, it made it harder to believe that people don’t love this city with all their might. But what do I know? I’m just a kid from England that doesn’t know the city for what it is (apparently). Over this year I hope to learn more about what it is that drives people crazy about this city. But I also hope to inspire those of you that have fallen out of love, to stumble head-over-heels once more.