#24: Visit New York City

Well folks, I did it.  I went to the Big Apple.  I saw the skyscrapers.  I witnessed china town, ground zero, central park and what authentic Italian food should taste like.  All in one quick weekend! For Mother’s Day (I sadly was across the country from my beloved mother), we took a weekend trip to New York City with Ty’s mother to visit his family.  One huge advantage to living in Hollidaysburg is that we are only a half days drive away from so many metropolis cities.  NYC being one of them.  It was the easiest five hour drive.  I kindly let Tyler drive.

Our very brief weekend in New York was a very tiny taste of the city.  Obviously.  Before you continue reading on about my first impressions, I should make the disclaimer that I am going to return to NYC for another weekend soon in order to experience the city on my own terms.  I want to give it the full chance it deserves before making my final decision on what I think of the The City That Never Sleeps.

We all have some idea of what New York City is in our minds.  Be it the cafe in When Harry Met Sally, or the glamour that surrounds Marilyn Monroe in How to Marry a Millionaire.  For myself, I was prepared to overwhelmed by the loudness and rudeness that is the East Coast.  I was excited for the fashion and eclecticism.  I was dreading the smell and disgusting feeling of smog in the air that seems to form grease and grim on your face within hours.  I eagerly wanted to feel a vibrant city that absorbed me with its livelihood.  I could not wait to be taken aback by the public art and architecture overcoming my senses.  My preconceptions came from reading books such as The Bell Jar, The Great Gatsby, and The Fountainhead.  Like most people, my imagination was off.  And not in all negative ways.

To be completely honest, I enjoyed the city.  I fell in love with the architecture, the food, and the bright neon signs everywhere.  Of course the city is huge, and feels even larger for the fact that I could see for blocks down each street every which way I looked.  That was something new to me.  That is so unlike San Francisco or even Chicago.  I did not have the opportunity to explore any museums, which was a letdown for my art nerd side.  The city was a lot more gray to me than any other city, which made the neon signs seem almost misplaced at times.  All of the buildings were gray cement, gray bricks, or other gray matter.  It felt cold and disconnected.  Maybe that is what some people love about the city.  For me, my favorite place was China Town.  The colors of the fresh produce, the smells of the fresh seafood, the sound of scurrying feet all around.  I was enthralled.

I came across one street of murals.  Murals is what I seek out and hunt down in all cities.  I was thrilled to find some in China Town and hope to spend some time observing them more in future visits.

Overall, I was neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by anything.  Maybe that is what left me feeling like my first impression was a bit incomplete.  I’d like to keep the idea of what New York City was in the 40’s and 50’s in my mind, because to me that was when I would have fallen in love with it.  But for now I can cross off yet another thing on my list of 27 Things To Do Before I’m 28.  I finally have visited New York City.  And I plan to return soon.

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