By the age of 16, I had travelled all over the country: California, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, every state on the east coast, and all of New England, including several self-navigated trips to Boston. But this past summer, I took a trip to New York City that stretched my mind farther than it had ever been stretched before.
My trip started in Old Saybrook where I took the commuter rail to New Haven, then switched to an Amtrak train to take me to Penn station; a maneuver that had my mother worried nervous and sending me more text messages than I could handle. My friend Lindsey, a former resident of Brooklyn who now lives in New Jersey, met me in Penn Station. Since I had only been to the city on one previous terse occasion, she insisted that we did a little sight seeing before we returned to her house for the weekend. So we left the muggy air of the train station behind us as we ascended the stairs of Penn Station and emerged into the whirlwinds of city life.
The things I saw blew me away and I instantly became infatuated with New York City. You can see sky-scrappers in magazines and on television all you want but to come to grips with how big the actually are, you have to stand under one. These towering steel giants looked as if the would rise forever and trying to find the tops either made me dizzy or made me walk into another person. The sea of people was like the ocean, the sounds of the taxis and conversation overwhelming, and the smells, well, it was a city. To some it’s everyday life: to me it was incredible. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. We walked around until my mind was full and my companion had had enough of my endless waterfall of questions. We took the commuter rail back to her quiet suburb and I went to sleep that night dreaming of this newly acquainted wonder. And this was just the beginning.
Two days later we returned with plans to have dinner with a mutual friend. Since we arrived several hours early, we decided to walk around a bit. We strolled down Canal Street and saw all the little shops selling knock off purses, watches, and jewelry, got ice cream, and people watched in a park. Wanting to see as much of the city as I could, I insisted on walking the 10 or so blocks to our friends apartment to pick her up for dinner. Dinner at Aquamarine was an adventure in itself as I could hardly pronounce most of the items on the menu. Afterwards, the never sleeping Times Square served our palate of entertainment. While walking down a side street, I was approached and eventually scammed by a ‘new and upcoming rapper’ who ‘gave’ me his new album, a blank cd, in return for a ‘donation’, but it was well worth $6 to learn that lesson. We then decided to take a ride to the empire state building in a bike pulled cart. A hard working Hungarian immigrant trying to make a living in the land of opportunity gave us an experience well worth $20. Zigzagging in and out of taxis and 18 wheelers, we waved to the thousands of people in Times Square like we were movie stars.
My first real experience in ‘America’s doorstep’ was one I’ll certainly remember. The diverse population, the unimaginable sights, and the way the city life works; you truly have to see it to believe it.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.