How I Fell in Love With NYC Unexpectedly & Learned How to Give New Places a Chance
It started last fall. My husband and I are both planners and like to figure things out waaayy in advance. If we are planning a trip, we like to watch the plane ticket price weeks ahead of time to save money and have everything nailed down. We had this big camp conference near Philadelphia that we were planning to attend in February. As we looked at tickets, all the ones to fly into Philly were very expensive. I checked almost daily, but they weren't going down in price. I decided to try a different airport as there are quite a few big ones over in that part of the country. LaGuardia was one of the airports I decided to check and was surprised to find out it was just a couple hours away. Hmmm, I thought. That would be fun to fly into New York City. I had never been there before, so I thought it might be fun to drive through the city a little. I mentioned it to my husband, and he said we should save up and STAY in NYC for a day or two. He had been there before, and he loved it. I was excited, but mostly just to have a weekend away! I mean, with two babies we don't really get away much like we used to. NYC had never appealed to me too much. I like cities, but we are talking way smaller cities than that (Kansas City and NYC don't really have much in common). I pictured in my mind that everything was so crowded you couldn't even move on the streets. And that everything was super dirty and sketchy. But, I was looking forward to getting away with my husband and exploring a new place. That's always been our favorite thing to do.
Fast forward to February. The week of our trip arrived. I almost backed out- like for real. I suddenly was really scared to leave the kids for five whole days and be completely across the country. It's a hard thing for a momma of toddlers to do!! I kept picturing the plane going down and our kids being orphans. Plus, it couldn't be THAT exciting. But, off we went. We had decided to use a little of our vacation money to get a shuttle to pick us up at the airport, which was the best decision we made!! They picked us up right at the airport and dropped us off in front of our hotel in Upper East Side. NO crazy traffic. No subway. It was awesome. So if you ever go there...check out Super Shuttle. You won't regret it!
Right when we got to our hotel, it started snowing. It was like a fairy tale! It was pretty exciting to see snow since we lived in the desert where it never snows. All of a sudden, I was super excited. I mean, this picture to the left was our view from our hotel window. Not only did I get to be on a trip with my husband, I got to be in a beautiful city with SNOW. I'm a huge fan of snow:P. We set out that night to explore the city, in the snow. That night became one of the most fun times we have ever had as a couple- running through the very wet snow falling from the sky, holding hands, getting confused on the subway lines and getting off way too soon, walking for miles, shopping, laughing, just making memories. And you know what, there weren't that many people around. The streets were surprisingly quiet. That night was one of my favorites. On the way back, right outside our hotel was this beautiful site>>>
The next morning, we got up and began looking for a little cafe for coffee and breakfast. We decided to just walk and not use a gps which wasn't our most brilliant idea. We ended up walking for miles, about twenty miles total those two days we were there. But on that morning walk, in the quiet of the city was one of the most peaceful, beautiful times I've ever had. Everything was quiet except for the occasional street noise. Snow was still covering trees and buildings a little, and hardly anyone was around. The snow blanketed the beautiful architecture of the buildings and kept people inside for the day. There is nothing like walking hand in hand around a beautiful snow covered city. It was so much fun for us. I ended up getting blisters from walking so much, but other than that it was an amazing day.
Walking around that city the day we were there, I learned a few things. First, NYC is much more than crowds and busyness. The intricate designs and amazing construction of the buildings just blew me away. So many of the buildings built today are just cookie cutter designs. These were all so unique. I loved taking in the beauty of it all. The second thing I learned is not to judge something before I try it out myself and especially to not tell someone I don't like something unless I actually have tried it. I had heard so many people hating on NYC that I just figured I would hate it too, without even really knowing what it was. Once I experienced it myself, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly myself and still loved it. Yes, Times Square was a bit much. Like a million people everywhere and so much going on that it was slightly overwhelming. But it was still so cool to be standing in the place I've seen on TV probably thousands of times and experience it myself. Yes, the subway was confusing, but it was a fun puzzle for us to try to figure out. The place that took me off guard the most in how it affected me was the 9/11 Memorial.
When I stood there that day, looking down into the dark pits where the World Trade Center used to be, that day came rushing back to me. Tears welled up in my eyes as it fully hit me how real all those images I saw on TV were. It's easy for something not to affect us when it's just a story on TV, but when you see it in person, you realize more acutely the pain that so many experienced on that day and are still experiencing now.
So a trip to NYC not only changed my perspective on the city itself, but on many things in life. It taught me to experience things I might not be sure about and give them a chance. That trip ended up being one of our favorites we have ever taken. In fact, we started figuring out when we can go back as soon as we were leaving. So while I doubt I'll ever live there, I truly can say that NYC captured a special place in my heart.