My perspective on New York today is a busy, urban setting that’s full of activity from daybreak to past midnight. Before my summer experience, however, I viewed New York as an awe-inspiring, tourists’ sensation. The summer tour of New York with my family exposed a side of the state I had been blind to till then.
We traveled throughout New York, thoroughly visiting every renowned location. At the Empire State Building, we intentionally stayed on the top balcony until sunset. Watching the sun set over the city was an unbelievable sight. The skies’ tints of fuchsia and gold were not unfamiliar, but the novel idea of standing enclosed somewhere in these clouds is what struck me.
The skyscrapers ahead darkened with only their profiles now visible. Every stride the sun stepped closer to the horizon, the city would steadily light up. This steady process awed me in a way that kept my eyes from blinking. But before I could realize when it had occurred, the pigments of the skies flowed into the city while the dimness of the edifices overlapped the sky. The city had transformed into what seemed like an illusion of lights. From one side of the building, I could view the scintillating ocean and recognized a small figure as the Statue of Liberty. The rippling shadows of bright glows reflecting across the iridescent water maintained its peace, despite the boisterous sounds breathed by city. As nighttime embraced New York, the city became a world of silhouettes emitting lustrous beams of colors.
As I gawked at the beauty encompassing me, I held an immediate penchant for New York. I reminisced the trip’s activities on the way down the elevator. The harmonious songs of the Broadway musical permeated my ears and my mind illustrated miss liberty, which I had watched from the ferry until she had dissolved away. Thinking this must be my most memorable trip, I tried to grasp the final glimpses of New York before retiring for the day.
Waiting at the crosswalk, I caught myself watching an unfortunate panhandler. The woman, with a broken leg wrapped in grubby cloth, clutched a paper cup with weak hands. Passers-by seemed too preoccupied to even notice her. Pedestrians were busily chatting on their cell phones, summoning taxis, and crossing the streets before the countdown ended, as if there was no woman before them. By the desperate gaze in her eyes, I could discern that this was not an act. She barely seemed to have the energy to keep the cup raised. Sympathy overwhelmed me, and I wanted to donate a generous quantity, but I knew my offer was limited. The skies darkened but I could still make out her grateful face as her hands weighed down with the load I had added. She bowed her head low toward me, signaling her gratitude.
I mused over the scene with the panhandler. Till then, I had admired the state of New York, but now I felt utter disappointment. I mainly felt disappointment towards the people for being so self-absorbed in their lives to stop and notice their surroundings. Everyone in New York seemed under pressure, as if nothing else in the world mattered, but the destination to where they were headed. Where I lived, the streets were quiet with much spaciousness and therefore had few traffic issues. There were no taxis or subways to complicate the cities. New York’s maelstrom of the streets would be an exotic spectacle to any San Jose tenant. The neighborhoods of San Jose rested in tranquility with rare signs of haste. I had never before imagined people to be so distracted as to completely disregard the sight of an unfortunate panhandler. My disappointment brought me back to San Jose unsatisfied with the time spent in New York.
However, days after our return, I longed to see the breath-taking night landscapes and the shining neon lights of the place I had once esteemed. The repetitions of similar-looking houses in the neighborhood with pedestrian buildings along the streets looked humdrum. Only after my nostalgia, did I gradually put aside my disappointment. Time mitigated my dissatisfaction with that summer’s experiences. Although thoughts of the panhandler could not be erased from my memory, I regarded them with resignation. I realized that all places have pros and cons and before this trip, I had been ignorant of this truth. Through the incident with the panhandler, I had learned a significant factor that I might have otherwise not known for a while.
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