Enthralled in the City - My Family Travels

                                                          Enthralled in the City


    This year has not been easy for me.  My parents got separated, and I fell into a state of depression.  This year, however, also contained the best week of my life.  My mother and I finally saved up enough money to visit the city of my dreams: New York City.  I’ve always felt a little out of place in my hometown of Los Angeles.  I’m not interested in all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.  I prefer the hustle and bustle of a city that engulfs you in the shadows of skyscrapers. I felt like in New York, I truly discovered myself.  I found a new sense of confidence I’d never experienced before. 
    I studied the city meticulously before we went.  My mom put me in charge of practically everything, since I’ve always been great at organizing trips.  I found the Riverside Studios Hotel, which was less than luxurious, but very cost-efficient, and a place to lay our heads after a long day of walking.  I spent hours looking at pictures and practically memorizing the subway map.  When I finally got there, I felt like a native New Yorker.  I can see why the city’s inhabitants rely on the subway system.  We bought the 7-day MetroCard, which I highly recommend.  They were $27 each, but were extremely worthwhile, and saved us from too many pricey taxi rides. 
    As a theatre student, it was very important for me to see some Broadway shows.  My mum and I were on a budget, so we found cheap tickets through different methods.  I ended up seeing Hair on a full-priced ticket, but the three other shows I saw were discounted.  We got tickets for Avenue Q at the TKTS booth in Times Square, cancellation tickets at Wicked, and I got a student discount at Next to Normal.  The trick to a successful trip to New York is choosing what to splurge on and what to do cheaply. 
    The beauty of the city was what truly captured me.  There’s so much to find everywhere.  On one night, I went up to the top of the Empire State Building.  All of the sparkling lights surrounding me were breathtaking.  I didn’t care that I’d never been so cold and windblown in my life.  I was enthralled in the city, as though it were a book I just couldn’t put down.  That feeling came to me many more times throughout the trip.  Spotting the Statue of Liberty on the Staten Island Ferry (an excellent way to see Lady Liberty for free) was breathtaking.  Eating at the Life Cafe (a delicious restaurant immortalized by one of my favorite musicals, Rent) was surreal.  I was stunned by the beauty of Central Park, where I felt truly at one with nature.  I took in the community gardens in East Village, and Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.  My trip to New York taught me to look for beauty everywhere.  New York City obviously isn’t a fairyland, or a place of unconditional happiness.  The citizens suffer, and complain, and go through just as much pain as the residents of any place.  Nonetheless, my trip to New York taught me to look for beauty, and enjoy myself even in times of suffering.



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