Bright lights. Crowded Streets. Seas of buildings. Such assets comprise the typical formula of countless cities—and New York City is no exception. Media often glamorizes New York, along with other cities; so as a Californian utterly familiar with urbanization, I naturally had some skepticism about NYC’s allure before embarking on my short trip to the Big Apple.
My redeye flight to La Guardia left me drained and in desperate need of coffee. After retrieving my baggage and joining my father, who had flown in from Chicago, we awaited the shuttle that drives to our hotel.
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Observing the airport’s many pamphlets of NYC’s attractions, I could already feel the city’s vivacity running through my veins, sufficing caffeine’s job. Finally, the shuttle arrived and dropped us off at the chic Flatotel, right in the fast-paced heart of Manhattan.
First stop after checking in: MoMA. Most exhibits were intriguing, outlandish, and unique; however, what fascinated me most were, ironically, the classic displays, such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory.” Overall, MoMA’s striking sights encompassed New York’s fresh ambience, conveying a sample of the city’s eccentricity.
We got another taste of New York at 2 Bros Pizza, because the NYC experience would be incomplete without trying the urban delicacy. Fueled, we were off to the Empire State.
The Empire State Building drew a surprisingly small crowd at night. The quiet elevator-ride up felt like a reenactment of the concluding scene of Sleepless in Seattle, but the chilled winds that instantly consumed me atop brought me back to reality. However, the intense weather seemingly passed once the surrounding view captivated me. The dazzling lights, the moving glow of traffic, the distant city clamor: New York had transformed from its daytime urban jungle image to an evening look dressed to the nines. With the night ending, we headed back to the hotel. I went to bed, officially charmed.
The next day, my dad took me to fulfill my longtime desire of trying Serendipity III’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, admittedly in reference to the rom-com, Serendipity. Popular, the restaurant had a 1½-hour wait, which we decided was apt time to visit Central Park nearby. Still having time, the park’s ice rink tempted me into an impromptu skating session, enhancing my Serendipity-inspired night. My dad and I then made it back moments before the host called for our seating. The restaurant’s interior was adorned with countless quirky novelties and its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate was delightful, yet simple. Although I did not encounter the John Cusack to my Kate Beckinsale that night, the spontaneity and ultimately perfect timing made my final evening in New York feel straight out of a movie.
Alas, my last morning in New York had arrived. I put on the only dress I’d packed, grabbed a pastry and coffee, and confidently strode alone down 5th avenue until I reached the building: Tiffany’s. The calm morning tide allowed me time to bask in my surroundings as I lived my Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment. The streets were tame; the weather, warm. New Yorkers kept to the company of the morning air. Though bidding my farewell was hard, breakfasting at Tiffany’s concluded my trip perfectly.
In retrospect, NYC has indescribable distinctions from Californian megacities I’m familiar with. The city, fruitful in diverse activities and characters, maintains a refined ambience; the juxtaposing lifestyle of independence and socialization is neither overwhelming, nor disengaging. NYC’s intrinsic charm lives up to the glamorization portrayed in movies, and now I finally understand how it feels to know when something is “right” for oneself.
Let’s meet again, New York.
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