‘Times Square!’ a man cried as he rapidly yanked open the door of a yellow taxi and carelessly tossed our luggage into the trunk. My dad and I hurried into the cave of black leather and we lurched away. A gruff cab driver demanded the name of our hotel as he shrewdly maneuvered through the flood of headlights encompassing us.
My father was unfazed by the pandemonium. ‘Hilton- 42nd Street,’ he called to the man. Floor it.
Slam the breaks. Repeat. Every cab in the city seemed to follow those guidelines religiously.
We dodged pedestrians and circled blocks until we arrived in Times Square. After a brief stop in our room, my dad and I left for the Empire State Building.When you are standing in the sky, the world opens up to divulge all its secrets in one astounding moment. Structures that I had thrown my head back to see only moments ago were now far beneath my feet.
The chaos below now seemed more insignificant than a grain of sand. The roofs of skyscrapers gleamed in the afternoon sunlight, providing a spotlight for the dance of the clouds above. Leaving that building, I knew that I would remember those few minutes in the sky forever.
With the sight of the entire city still embedded in my mind, I knew that there was much more to see. We returned to our hotel just in time to prepare for our evening on Broadway. We made our way to the theatre district to see ‘Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me’, racing in front of taxis and dodging leaflets.
The night felt unbelievably glamorous. After a standing ovation, we left the theater on foot and soon arrived in our room, not sparing a moment before shedding our formal attire for comfortable pajamas. At the end of a long day, I was happy to settle into a luxurious bed and allow myself to fall into a dreamless sleep.
Beep! Beep! Beep! I tried to resist waking as the alarm next to me screeched. It was far too early for me, but not a moment could be wasted- we were in NYC! We laced up our shoes and hit the streets of the Big Apple once more. Our destination was St.
Patrick’s Cathedral. We heaved open the massive carved doors and were awed by the beauty before us. We slipped into a dark pew that had been worn by 150 years of prayer. The priest’s words echoed through the rafters long after they had been spoken. I couldn’t help but admire the extravagant detail surrounding the many shrines. After about thirty minutes, I reluctantly tore myself from the cathedral’s ornate splendor.
In a place as chaotic as New York City, nobody expects anyplace to be quiet or beautiful, but Central Park is one exception. Pathways curve with the land, wrapping around ancient knotted trunks edged with spring green grass and over clear streams trickling over smooth stones.
My dad and I found the subway station and braved the underground, eventually reaching Liberty Island, home of Lady Liberty. She was beautiful from the boat, and even more so up close. The symbolic statue stood majestically, towering high above the tree tops. Her torch was held proudly above her head while she welcomed all to America. After some sight-seeing and typical tourist photography, we headed back to the city.
We caught a cab and went to Little Italy where we found a lovely place for lunch called Da Gennaro. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere one hundred percent Italian. When we could eat no more, my dad and I went for a walk towards adjacent Chinatown. I saw more dead fish and live crabs than I had seen in my entire life. There were fruits with unpronounceable names along the streets, and seafood around every corner, plus many oriental souvenirs. We returned to Little Italy and purchased some gelato for our walk to the Financial District. Ground Zero. This place that had been in the back of everyone’s mind for the past five years was finally before my eyes. It was a heartfelt experience to see where so many lives had been lost in a matter of minutes. A sign said ‘Never Forget’. After reliving September 11, 2001 that day, I know that I won’t.
We hailed a cab to bring us back to the hotel. We collected our bags and I soon saw the last of the city fade away from my backseat window.
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