“I’m in a New York state of mind” – Billy Joel
After a tearful goodbye to friends at the airport and tears as I took off from Ohio I approached New York City. 8000 feet high in the sky and there it lay below. The view of Manhattan was impressive to say the least. No matter how many photographs or videos you see, nothing prepares you for it. It looks strangely beautiful. Solid concrete coming out of the ground across huge chunks of land, surrounded by water, bridges connected each piece together. Like a Lego city that has been perfectly built. It’s hard to imagine the millions of people living and walking down there. How have humans created this? What must this have looked like hundreds and thousands of years ago. So much history, art, music and life had been created here. So many iconic buildings and places that I hoped to see one day. Today was that day.
After worrying about what the weather would be like so late in December, I finally made it. Yellow cabs lined the streets, all languages could be heard as I dragged my suitcase up 8th Avenue to my hotel. A quick change and time to freshen up and I was out that door. Walking around New York City at my own leisure to me was perfect. I felt so free. I was like an excited child running around soaking up the atmosphere, spotting things from movies, taking a million pictures, absolutely loving it. Off I went with my ticket it hand to watch The Lion King on Broadway. I’ve never been to the cinema or theatre on my own before. I did feel a little awkward being sandwiched between two families. But loved it all the same. I tried not to cry when the songs started! It was such a clever production. An unforgettable show.
After a deep sleep I was up and out by 9am ready to get my tourist hat on. After breakfast I wandered down to Bryant Park, dipping in and out of the stalls and over to Grand Central Station.
Just call me Serena van der Woodsen…
My friend Helen knew her friend that she met in Tennessee was also going to be in New York alone. It made perfect sense to explore together. I was in Gossip Girl heaven as we got to meet on the Met steps. How perfect?! We spent hours exploring the city from the public library to Wall Street. We walked along the Hudson, looking over at New Jersey and that little green statue otherwise known as the Statue of Liberty.
After some much-needed pizza I fought my way through crowds of people at West 49th and Park Avenue, who were all catching a glimpse of the Christmas tree and ice rink at the Rockefeller Center. That really was something. The tree and lights are beautiful and everything but the crowds were a complete nightmare.
All that aside, I finally made it through the maze that is the plaza and up to the Top of The Rock.
I couldn’t help it, it was just so beautiful. All of the lights, knowing it was almost Christmas, knowing I would be leaving the US the following day and would soon be seeing my family, it was just too much. I’m only human!
Seriously though, I didn’t want to leave that roof. It’s just one of the feelings you have to experience for yourself.
My final day in the US was spent strolling through Central Park and journaling. I just felt so comfortable writing whilst wrapped up warm, my cheeks probably rosy from the crisp weather. I can truly see why people find New York City so inspiring. It just has that special something that I can’t quite put my finger on.
Shortly after, I bundled up my belongings headed for one last coffee and set off for the airport. Destination; home.