The Wonderstruck Floridian Goes To New York | My Family Travels

My parents gave me the best birthday present I have ever received, for my 16th birthday: a trip to New York. My mom and I went for five days, and it was a life-changing experience. Once there, I finally understood why everyone calls New York a completely different world from the rest of the United States. The energy and excitement coursing through the inhabitants, buildings, art, architecture, and everything else soon found its way into my veins.

Everyone is accepted in New York; the diversity, weirdness, uniquness, and oddities never end. No one ever looks out of place. Also, I love riding in taxis, on subways and buses, and walking; the transportation is no personal. I've never been a huge fan of museums, but the MET and the American Museum of Natural History captivated me. The myriad of exhibits ranging in size, subject matter, medium, color, and more promised me that I could spend weeks inside these museums and still not have experienced everything. We also went to a modern art museum, which I find very interesting and inspiring. Visiting the Statue of Liberty, despite the rainy weather, and the museum on Staten Island gave me a new appreciation for our country's history and the message the State of Liberty sends to all who see her. I have always been deeply touched by and interested in the Holocaust, and I loved visiting the museum because of all the old records and information that was there to be perused. Times Square left a continuous grin on my face; the lights, the shops, the plays, the advertisements, the action, everything together beat to an energetic pulse full of rhythm and enthusiasm.

There was so much to look at, I thought as I tried to take it all in at once. I thought the same as I stood on Top of the Rock, gazing out at the city that seemed to know me inside and out already. Although the sky had darkened, multicolored lights winked everywhere and cars sped through alleys; the city truly never sleeps. The energy and movement of New York never stop, no matter what time of the day it is. We passed by Carnegie Hall and spent some time with my cousin at delicious cupcake shops and atop the building she lives in, relaxing in her building's roof garden. For those who say that peace and quiet cannot be found, spend a little time reading in a roof garden and your opinion might change. My mother and I watched a play in which three actors played over ten different characters. The play was hilarious and very skillfully performed. We visited Tiffany's and Saks 5th Avenue, mesmerized by the crystal chandeliers and $500-dollar shirts.

Everyone was willing to direct and help you in any way they could. I saw Hello Kitty on a street corner one day and Spider Man in Central Park the next! New York is a place of expression and creativity. While watching mass, I walked through St. Patrick's Cathedral, examining the ancient, ornate doors and the candles lining the walls. We visited several other historical landmarks as well. Overall, my trip to New York was magnificent; it left me breathless and inspired.

My dream is to go to Columbia University in New York after I graduate from high school to pursue journalism because it is the best school for journalism in ths U.S.; I'm also considering other schools in New York because of the marvelous opportunities and atmosphere it has to offer – my home away from home.

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