“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years” – Thomas Wolfe (American short story writer and novelist, 1900-1938)
For years I had admired New York on TV shows and films, wishing to be part of the Manhattan rush. I longed to be Carrie Bradshaw, walking down Fifth Avenue in Manolo Blahniks with arms full of shopping bags. After years of longing, I took the plunge and made it my mission to visit New York, dragging my mum with me. Flights booked and hotel paid, my adventure was ready to begin.
In a yellow cab on a June evening, I passed over the Brooklyn Bridge into night time Manhattan. The lit up skyscrapers came into view, from the Chrysler building to the Empire State.
As we cruised down Fifth Avenue to reach our hotel near Times Square, I stared in awe of the designer shops I had seen in so many ‘Sex and the City’ episodes. I knew I couldn’t afford anything in these shops, but the window displays made my heart flutter.
Then it came into the view, the bright lights of the big city, Times Square. I couldn’t believe my hotel was so close to the street synonymous with New York. It was late, but the hustle and bustle had not ceased. It instantly felt like home.
To make sure I got the best out of my five night trip, I planned each day to a tee, with my trusty notebook and fold out map. I was determined to see as much of the city as physically possible. With my encyclopaedic knowledge of New York from books and TV, I knew every place I wanted to tick off.
The first issue was finding my bearings, as I stepped out into Times Square, I had two questions. Which way were the shops and where could I get breakfast?
Excited to embrace the American culture, I opted for pancakes as my first New York meal. I recoiled at the sweetness; heavy, doughy and sickly sweet. My British constitution couldn’t handle it.
After asking a handful of Americans, we finally made it to 34th Street, where we found the first landmarks aside from Times Square; Macys and The Empire State Building.
With my head right back, I looked up to the top of the Empire State Building, it was the tallest thing I had ever seen.
We waited for a clear day to go to the top of the Empire State Building, and when I finally made it to the top, after queuing and six flights of stairs, as well as an asthma attack, I saw the view that made it all worth it. New York City.
I could see for miles, looking over the compact sky scraper filled city. So much crammed into such a small space, yet it didn’t feel claustrophobic, it felt exciting. I wanted to explore it all.