People rushed around me hurriedly in all directions. Everyone seemed to have something vastly important to do. A smartly dressed woman, briefcase in hand and phone pressed to her ear, marched firmly, unbothered by the city’s mayhem. Each person walked with a definite purpose, their gait calculated, controlled, and steadfast in their pursuits. I could not imagine anyone living here to sit idly by, twiddling their thumbs while they wait for inspiration to strike them. Collectively, they seemed to be the type to take initiative and create inspiration themselves, out of spite if nothing else. The thought humored me and filled me with immense hope for my own future endeavors. I was struck by the contrast between people’s blank faces and their passionate strides. They seemed tired and alive all at once.
I felt fully engaged and immersed in the city’s charm as I walked to the side of the street and stood awestruck. Around me, I could see elegantly designed buildings standing proudly. Skyscrapers reached high enough to graze the edge of clouds. In the distance, I could see the towering Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. My ears filled with constant noise ranging from the quiet murmurs in lulled conversations to the piercing shrills of sirens announcing emergencies. A few yards away now, I heard the woman closing a conversation with a colleague on the phone. Personally, I found it to be a little too short, bordering on abrupt, but not impolite. I caught her eye and smiled brightly. She returned the favor before disappearing inside a soaring building, presumably where her work is, her steps remaining even and her destination fixed. That small and seemingly minor interaction caused my heart to swell. I could not stop smiling.
Now, reflecting back on my time in New York, I am sure that I undoubtedly irked many with my slow, leisurely pace. Lost in thought, and blinded by wonder, I gave little to no attention to disgruntled pedestrians, much to their disgruntlement. In the midst of this external chaos, I experienced an internal awakening. I saw every blend of emotion imaginable running wild and free in the hearts of all those living and breathing in New York’s air of energy. The city’s unwavering hustle, I concluded, was intoxicating. It lifted my spirits, so long quenched beneath the limits of the small town I grew up in. The blinding lights that made midnight and midday nearly indistinguishable contribute to the city’s vibrance and rightfully gives it its title as the City That Never Sleeps.
My family and I strolled through the High Line, visited the infamous Metropolitan Museum of Art, navigated the subway system at Grand Central Terminal, and spent a whole day dedicated to Chinatown and Little Italy during our one week stay. It does not matter specifically where you visit, what you do, or where you eat in New York because every sector breathes with life. Traveling to New York opened my eyes to a whole new world beyond what I was accustomed to. The trip fueled me with energy and made my dreams seem entirely possible and almost certainly within reach. In just a few moments, New York City made me feel alive.
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