Before visiting New York City for the first time ever (yes, at 32 I’d never been to the Big Apple) I heard so many things – “you never forget your first visit to New York City” or “there is no place in the world like New York City” or ‘insert cliché heartwarming quote’. I was skeptical. I thought – I’m more of a small-town guy. I prefer wide open spaces and the fresh morning air of the North Cascades. It will be fun to see NYC, but it won’t have the prolific impact on me that it seems to have on every person around me who has been.
Well, I can say with complete certainty that every sentiment, every sparkle of excitement expressed by friends and family and every corny little tidbit I endured, is absolutely true!! New York City is awesome!!! It sounds ridiculous, but New York City reminded me of how extraordinary life is – who would’ve guessed? I reacquainted myself with the parts of humanity that I value so much – spending a morning (well, my mornings began at noon) at the Museum of Modern Art. Slowly making my way through the multiple floors of 20,000 pieces of contemporary photographs and abstract paintings.
Gazing out over some of the tallest buildings in the world, beautiful parks and impressive infrastructure in Manhattan from the 102th floor of the Empire State Building. The habitat we’ve created for ourselves is undeniably remarkable. Amazing feets of engineering, urban development and human ingenuity are on display from this astounding view.
Sitting in the heart of the concrete jungle is Central Park. Beautiful, lively and 834 acres of admired urban park. Where else in the world does this exist in the middle of a concrete jungle? I was fortunate enough to stay 2 blocks from Central Park south where I could easily make my way in for a 5-mile run, which could have easily been extended another 10 had I felt the determination. The scenery certainly presents a case for continuation.
Beyond the sites, my travel companion and I embraced the authentic vibe of the city. New York is a place you can truly let loose. I’ll spare you the juicy details, but we went out in Hell’s Kitchen every night. Not returning home until after 2am. The energy of New York City’s night life is a captivating one. Real people, inviting bars, and street food that’ll have you emptying your wallet for more.
I planned this trip with the preconceived notion that being a tourist in the city is not my jam. That it will be interesting, but ultimately something I can check off the bucket list and move on. It was not the case. I came away knowing that New York City is no ordinary city. It’s thriving with entertainment, art, culture and ingenuity. New York City left me feeling like I was experiencing life, in a way life is meant to be experienced – with complete appreciation for the creative, fun and beautiful things human being are able to create. I love New York City.