Moving & Shaking: A Wisconsinite Visits the Big Apple
I stepped into the middle of Times Square. My yoga pants flowed against the aged concrete beneath my feet as my rolling luggage trailed behind me. I walked at a snail’s pace as I stretched my neck up to see the huge buildings around me. In that moment I realized I had never seen buildings of such astronomical structure. There was something gritty and graceful about being in New York City for the first time.
I couldn’t get over the city chatter. The convergence of human voices and car engines and construction and music all meshed together into one harmonious tune. It was a tune that let you know you were in New York City; a tune that people crave from all over the world. The New York noise upon my ears was magic and I felt cooler than that time in the third grade I got my first pair of Converse sneakers.
Shortly after arriving I was reunited with my best friend. She was another Wisconsinite who hadn’t ever been to the Big Apple. Upon seeing each other we jumped up and down like teeny boppers at a pop concert. In a sea of strangers with shifty eyes, it was refreshing to see a familiar face. We were enthusiastic to get settled into our apartment for the week and blend into that sea of people.
Our rolling luggage was not only a dead give away to our non-local status, but also a point of frustration for the busy 9-5ers rushing through the square on foot. When we finally reached our apartment, we were thrilled. The place was awesome and stocked with snacks and an espresso machine. The simple things.
We hailed our first cab and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in an episode of, “Sex in the City”. Alas, I was Carrie.
People were shamelessly quick to step on you or push if you weren’t moving at their speed. This behavior was startling to us as we found it to be quite barbaric. Wisconsin wasn’t a place where people traveled by foot, or moved quickly at all for that matter. We hailed our first cab and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in an episode of, “Sex in the City”. Alas, I was Carrie.
While crossing over street after street I took an honest stock of my surroundings. I was slightly overwhelmed but undoubtedly excited. Faces blurred as our cab drove past them. There were so many different faces. I came to the conclusion that people in New York were not lazy. Sure, they might shove you a little to the left with their shoulder in a haste… but its because they’re moving and shaking. They’re working. They’re heading to auditions, interviews, dates. They’re chasing their dreams. They’re making things happen for themselves.
“Perhaps I would rush and push as well if it that’s what it took to make my mark in a big city.” I declared to my best friend. We both pondered how one might feel living in such a large city, and a newfound respect for the, “New York way” was upon us.
We began discussing exactly why we were traveling. It was a much anticipated Friday afternoon with my birthday right around the corner. In a way, this New York City trip was to celebrate another calendar year of me being me, but in more ways than one, this trip was about friendship and learning. My friend and I had never taken a trip like this and we were ready to explore.
We spent the rest of the day on foot. We embraced all of the city’s vibrant energy, especially while on the subway. An eclectic mix of New Yorkers and tourists alike were squashed together like sardines in a can. Daydreaming of the history of trains and the people who take them on a daily basis, we failed to realize we had gone seven stops in the wrong direction. She and I laughed hysterically about this and exited the train. We re-entered going the other way and 15 minutes later, we discovered we’d been on the wrong line all together. We got lost and lost again, mostly on purpose. We mutually agreed after several hours of roaming that we needed to connect with an old, dear friend: Coffee. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves enjoying a cup of joe.
My best friend and I proceeded to eat and drink our way through the city for the remainder of the week. This was the highlight of my New York City visit. I enjoyed all of the quintessential New York delicacies like pizza and hot dogs. Street meat was my favorite and if you’ve ever had a late night bacon wrapped hot dog, you most certainly feel the same. There was a certain appreciation for food of all types. From ethnic to fine dining, I took my taste buds on a wild, exhilarating adventure that changed the way I eat to this day.
New York was coffee and black cigarettes. Screenplays and blues music. New York City was seasoned and edgy. Hot and cold, the perfect storm of good and bad and right and wrong and everything else that lies in between.
As time passed, so had my predisposed ideas of what New York City would be like. I let myself create my own ideas. New York was coffee and black cigarettes. Screenplays and blues music. New York City was seasoned and edgy. Hot and cold, the perfect storm of good and bad and right and wrong and everything else that lies in between. New York City was the setting of some of my favorite literature and before I knew it, I was Tiffany at breakfast. I was Gatsby. The Winter’s Tale was mine, and I was a Catcher in the Rye.
New York City was beautiful, and for that week, New York City was mine.