It took me less than an hour to fall in love. From the moment the airplane’s wheels graced the tarmac until the minute we set off from our hotel toward Times Square. That was all I needed. I was hooked. I wasn’t the only one, though. If I’m correct in my assumption, every member of my group completely shared my sentiments. From the moment we were standing on Broadway, with our chaperone saying, “Go ahead and do your own thing, just be back by three o’clock,” each one of us realized what we had been missing our entire lives.
Sure, we felt out of place in the hustle and bustle of the big city: a bunch of small town Nebraskans who’d seen far more cows than taxi cabs, more barns than billboard signs, and more corn fields than skyscrapers. Still, as we walked around Times Square, all of us felt something magical, and each one of our faces carried a universal excitement. It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced, walking down Broadway, in the heart of Manhattan, at Times Square, the most famous intersection in the world, with my brain going into sensory overload.
There was so much to see that we didn’t know which way to look. There were so many flashy signs, digital billboards, strange people pushing brochures toward us, and world famous stores. People talked noisily, taxi drivers angrily honked their horns at careless tourists, and music escaped open doors of the stores lining the street. Even our noses were kept occupied, discovering the blend of hotdogs sold from street side vendors, chocolate scent wafting from the Hershey’s and M&M’s stores, and exhaust fumes from the constant traffic. It was so much shoved at us at one time that we instantly knew we were in for the trip of a lifetime. By the time the next four days had passed, we considered ourselves honorary New Yorkers, and the question wasn’t if we would come back, but when.
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