As I was growing up in rural and suburban Western New York, New York City seemed to be a symbol of the things that were largely inaccessible to me in the small town where I lived – diversity, culture, and freedom. During the Spring of my junior year, I finally got the chance to see it for myself on a school trip through National Art Honor Society and Drama Club. The trip was originally planned for November, but since too few people signed up at first, it had to be postponed to March. However, the wait only made me more excited! The morning we left, three of my friends and I sat anxiously in a row on the charter bus, waiting for the last few students to board. Our teachers had gone over the schedule and rules over and over again, and at this point we just wanted to get there. It took several long hours of driving to reach the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, but it was worth every minute.
That night our group of about 40 people went to dinner and to the Al Hirschfield Theater to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. This was not my first time seeing a musical live, but it was much better than the experiences I’d had at the Buffalo theaters. I was fascinated by the stage design, the costumes of the characters, and of course the voices of the actors and actresses themselves. The few next days were packed with things to do, including visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MoMA, and the Whitney Museum (I was stunned by the amazing artwork at each gallery), shopping on Canal Street and in SoHo, and going to see Godspell and Priscilla Queen of the Desert at night. In between these excursions, our group walked around Central Park, Times Square, Greenwich Village, and drove through other interesting parts of the city. I had much more fun than I had even expected to, because the whole experience was made more special by being with my friends. I got closer to people I hadn't known well before, especially my three roommates.
This trip had a greater impact on me than vacations I had taken previously because I got to go without my family, and I had much more freedom to do what I wanted. I could explore along the way as much as I pleased (provided that I didn't get lost). Visiting the museums gave me dozens of ideas for what I could do with my own artwork, and really made me think about my future. Most of the artwork I had been exposed to in the past was rather old, and not that older works aren't inspiring, but it is important that I was able to see what current artists were doing, and even what artists from the last several decades had done. Visiting New York City made me realize that I may even want to go to college and live there in the future – it's a place where I could always keep myself busy, and the creative opportunities for budding artists like me are abundant.