When you hear someone say New York City, what comes to mind first? Times Square? Insane traffic jams? Broadway musicals? If you asked me about a year ago, I wouldn’t have much to go on. Ask me now and I could go on and on. New York is teeming with originality that one can only see to believe.
When the Dance Boosters at my high school announced a trip set for February to see Times Square, I was overcome by a wave of excitement. Every experience there would be a first for me, and being a musical fanatic, I knew I would be like a kid in a candy store. I imagined many ways in which I would get lost in the big city. With my camera in hand, I tried not to have that awkward tourist look as I absorbed the strange, new sights and sounds.
One thing was obvious; Times Square isn’t fun for those of us who are claustrophobic. From the moment I walked outside in the morning to the moment I stepped back into the lobby of the Sheraton hotel at night, I was lost in a sea of people. Vendors littered the sidewalks with their displays of recently “borrowed” merchandise for sale. Cheese steaks and hotdogs emitted an enticing aroma on the street. Businessmen and women, with coffee in hand, rushed into nearby buildings or hailed taxis. There was a constant stream of tourists, myself among them, who would pause and gawk at signs and stores, snapping an infinite number of pictures. Gucci, Prada, the MTV store, M&M World and Apple were a few to be found among an array of unique shops. A collection of infamous landmarks such as Radio City Music Hall, Central Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral added to the charm of Times Square.
The city was riddled with eye-catching billboards advertising TV shows, celebrities and various Broadway performances. Billy Elliot, Chicago, Mama Mia, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and West Side Story were only a few of many musicals publicized throughout the theatre district. Stepping into one of the shows was an experience unlike any other. As viewers, we were granted a glimpse into this strange, yet mesmerizing world, absorbing the passion and energy that emanated from each performer. We were fortunate enough to see The Lion King and Billy Elliot, both phenomenal and astounding performances. The sights, sounds and stories were awe-inspiring. You can’t help but be captivated. If given the chance, anyone should seize the opportunity to see a Broadway show. It’s not something you’ll soon forget.
As the end of our two day excursion drew near, we had one thing left on our itinerary: to have dinner at John’s Pizzeria. As we were waiting to be seated, I glanced over at a crowd converging in front of the Majestic theatre and gasped. Above the entrance, gazing at all who pass by or enter below was the Phantom’s mask. The envy consumed me as I glared at those fortunate enough to be holding a ticket. Fighting the temptation to dart across the street and blend in with the crowd, I joined my group for a delicious Italian meal before boarding the bus bound for home.
New York: original, incredible, unforgettable. Before visiting the city, I knew very little, basing my knowledge on what I’d perceived on TV or heard from others. You really can’t know until you’ve seen it for yourself. Now that I have, I look forward to returning in the future. It was truly a remarkable experience.
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