New York City is a place to be. Looking at the city of dreams from a distance, I saw a prestigious monument signifying freedom and hope. I heard the man in the subway effortlessly creating music as if he lived in the jazz age and on the stage came an operatic voice triumphing over the modern world. I took a whiff of fresh steaming bread just after it had come out of the oven. I tasted and identified the efficient and different ways and customs of the North like I never had before. Finally, I could feel the pride that oozed through the people that called themselves authentic New Yorkers. But, New York City cannot be truly experienced from a distance which is the lesson I had to learn.
I never understood the North. Having grown up a Texas girl, I naively expected all other parts of the country to be like the South. Even when vacationing to the North, the diversities didn’t strike me until after I had finished a short story by my favorite author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, following my trip to New York. He describes the North crowd as emotionless and cold as the weather, and the South as lazy and colorful. My mind pulls me back to walking on the sidewalks in New York City. The theme was to walk as fast as one could without running and stopping only when a stop sign was visible. No one sped down the sidewalk in a hurry and skid into an inattentive walker. No one yelled. There wasn’t a need for apologies. Everyone minded their own business quietly as if they lived their lives in separate boxes. Being a user of the sidewalk last June, the anxiety stuck to me like the hives. I just wanted to blend in, so I walked seemingly fearlessly down the sidewalk with fair speed. One obstacle remained– my seventy-three year old grandma. As she strolled comfortably down the street pointing out landmarks, I realized a scathing fact: my grandma was the only senior citizen on the sidewalk. New York City was designed for the able bodied even on the steep staircase in the subway. Eventually, I did see a few token elderly– in wheel chairs on the side of the street. They had a gray shade of sadness on their faces and layers of raggedy clothing. Appearing hopeless, they were too worn out to even beg for help. Even worse were the younger ones sleeping on the streets having already given up. My eyes welled up, and I thanked God for the blessed life I have.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
However, some people in New York City were living the dream. I entertained my grandmother’s notion to see her favorite musical “Porgy and Bess” on Broadway. I cannot keep myself out of the theater so being seated in the Richard Rodger’s auditorium that Friday night was a major treat. When I finally sat down, bubbling with anticipation, I opened my Playbill, and three white squares slipped out. My heart sank; the understudies were superseding the three leading ladies. The play had won a Tony Award, and the women that won it wouldn’t even make the show on a night that was supposed to be perfect. I took a few deep breaths and prayed that I hadn’t wasted my grandmother’s money. But, the musical unfolded beautifully reaching towards the sun like my mom’s African violet. When they smiled brightly in the finale, I knew they were having the time of their lives. New York City is a place to be, and I was there.
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