Living in Midcoast Maine and competing in the USEF equestrian circuit throughout New England, I am no stranger to travel. I have experienced the beckoning of a rustic, quaint town as well as the calm of a large city where individuality is comfortably tossed aside. This being said, I have never experienced anything like New York City. Sure, in AP U.S. History, I learned all about NYC’s democratic foundation– with numbered streets for immigrant inclusiveness; however, I never could have anticipated the overwhelming sense of home that embraced me amidst the crowded Manhattan streets. College searches. Are they about finding the administrative building or finding yourself? I was initially going to vouch for the latter but the administrative building is actually really important, so I’m going to say both. What do you do in NYC? There are so many ways to spend your time, and I only had two and a half days to really decide whether or not I wanted to live there for the next four years of my life. If you cannot love something at its worst, then you will not love it longterm; thus, the first thing I did was take the subway. Sweat, muffled intercoms, sticky railings, and me, smiling like an idiot. The subway is comparable to myself after a week of AP exams, honestly, but the subway is not what mattered at all. Across from me was a young man listening to music, staring up at the ceiling; to my left was an older woman taking a nap before her stop, slouched over the purse clutched to her chest; and to my right was my mother, probably freaking out as my satisfaction with the city became more and more visible. Shopping in NYC is a must, even if you are like myself and do not buy a single thing, shopping in NYC allows you to become acquainted with the constant life around you, something easily forgotten in a small hometown. To love NYC is to love yourself: walk the streets follow everything that catches your eye, trust in your instincts, remain self-assured, you belong to the city as much as you allow yourself to. I cannot give someone a road map and tell them how to truly experience NYC “properly.” The Bronx offers an overwhelming sense of closeness with every passerby; Manhattan grants you invincibility; Queens feels like a secluded ghost town; and Washington Square emits hope. You may encounter strength, like the Pride parade that crossed through Washington Square Park; you may encounter sorrow, a crumpled elderly woman shaking a cup full of pennies at the subway station; but you may encounter yourself, confidence writhing through your blood as you take on somewhere new without abandon. Go forth, and discover.
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