Last weekend I took a trip to New York City with some of my close friends. I’ve been there before, but always with my whole family. As you know from my Travel and Photography pages, I love to travel! So this trip through my school was the perfect opportunity to see if I could travel (somewhat) on my own.
So there we were, 4 teenage girls ready to take on the big apple. We had planned our outfits for weeks, planned to video and photograph every second of our adventures, and had our destinations all laid out. As you could guess, our trip didn’t go exactly as planned.
Day One: We almost died.
Like in almost all cities, people do not wait until the little walking sign is showing before crossing the street. You can tell who the true New Yorkers are by who glances up for half a second before jogging across the street, not bothering to look at the blaring red hand telling them to stop. So of course, us girls didn’t think twice before following the people in front of us across the street. A taxi came barreling down the alley out of nowhere, and it didn’t look like it was going to stop. We screamed and turned to run to the safety of the curb. The taxi sped off, either not realizing or not caring it almost cut our trip (and lives) short.
Lesson learned: Just wait until you’re allowed to walk across the street! Those Forever 21 deals will still be there, trust me.
Day Two: I was technology-free for 14 hours.
We were rushing out of the hotel to get a jump on our early morning Central Park walk, and I forgot the thing that is always attached to me no matter what: my phone. On the bus, I had a mini breakdown trying to find it. (It’s a cliche for a reason… teenage girls like their phones). I finally had to accept that it was back at the hotel, and I would not be texting or filming or photographing for the entire day/night until we returned after a dinner cruise at around 11 pm.
With a heavy heart, we explored Central Park and tried to go see the place where Chuck and Blair get married in Gossip Girl (sorry for the spoiler!). It was too far for our time limit, so we walked 5th Ave instead.
That night, we boarded this Yacht for a dinner cruise with other schools… The views from the Hudson at night were so amazing! I was so sad I didn’t have my phone. Honestly though, not having my face in a screen forced me to look around and just… experience. I didn’t have to photograph every second. I just lived. The boat was phenomenal, and my friends sent me their pictures. It was an unforgettable night.
Lesson learned: Put down your phone for a day, especially if you’re in a new place. Take a moment to just live. You’ll remember the experience more than if you’d have taken a million photos.
Day Three: We rose 1,250 feet in the air in 60 seconds.
The One World Trade Center Observation Deck is on the 100th floor of this 1,776 foot building (the tallest in the Western Hemisphere!). We had no idea what to expect going in. We entered the elevator, which had screens on all sides showing New York City throughout the years. Our ears popped as we traveled up to the 102nd floor. More screens covered the windows. With our cameras ready (thank goodness I remembered my phone!), the screens lifted and revealed the city from a bird’s eye view. Our jaws dropped, but that wasn’t even the best part.
We were guided down two floors to the 360 degree observation deck. Let me repeat that: 360 degrees, meaning the entire city and miles beyond could be seen from any point on this one floor. We raced around looking for the best view and best photograph background.
I leaned my forehead against the glass, trusting that I wouldn’t go tumbling down 100 stories to the sidewalk. To make up for the lack of photos the previous day, I took thousands within a half hour time frame. I loved the city from this height, I loved that I could still see the busyness of the streets below. I loved that I had this opportunity, and I realized that these moments are the ones I live for.
Lesson learned: Beauty is everywhere in the world. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to see it.