Travel: New York, New York

Back in 2010 I traveled to New York. I never shared the pictures or the journey until now.
Anytime you travel somewhere new, you have this idea painted out in your head of what it will be like. You gather all the stereotypes you’ve heard and develop an opinion about a place you’ve never stepping foot in.
The moment comes when you are finally there. Suddenly, the city becomes more than fancy buildings and entertainment venues. It becomes a place where real people call home. That is when travel starts to change you. Each day your opinion changes.

New York. What I didn’t expect was to enter in to a city that was very much a community. When I was on the subway, I was looking around at all the different cultures that were there. I then felt a woman looking at me, she was looking at what I was wearing, my hair, my eyes. I was the odd one! She was looking at how different I was. I suddenly became a part of the culture. I was a person in New York traveling on the subway awaiting my destination.

What I began to discover was a place where everyone seemed to be taking care of each other. It might sound strange, but New York was nice to me. When on lookers saw that my friend and I were lost they wouldn’t hesitate to help us. One girl even said, “This is my stop, I’ll take you to the place you are looking for.” We walked and talked with her and suddenly she felt like an old friend. She told us what brought her to New York and the dreams she holds.

The first place we went to was a record store. I am thankful for technology, but I still enjoy walking through a real music store. By the time I grew up and had money of my own, record stores no longer exists in my area. Buying old vinyls makes me feel like I have the only copy in the world!

Anabel and I arrived at Time Square. It was nearly 9pm and the night was just starting. There seemed to be a million things to do. Since I had my big camera with me, people smiled when I took pictures of them, which made me smile. Usually I get mean looks when I take pictures of people. I guess here in Time Square, it was okay to be a tourist.

When I got my portrait taken by a street artist, I asked if I could take a photo of him too. It was like exchanging  images. I showed him his photo, he smiled and said, “very nice.” When I received his drawing of me, the girl had long lashes and a different chin. I said, “This girl doesn’t look like me.” He answered like a man would, “I made you pretty.” I laughed and said, “Thank you for making me pretty.”

The next morning we went to see the Statue of Liberty. I began to place myself back in the late 1800’s when immigrants from all over the world came to America. The joy they must have felt when they saw Miss. Liberty for the first time. Freedom was awaiting them, a new life, hope, dreams and the possibilities of living a great life. It was surreal to see it myself.

When I looked at the sky line I figured out why New York was different than I thought. There were two towers that changed it. Changed everything. No one would have ever thought buildings would go away. This is why the city was taking care of each other, even ten years later.

I couldn’t help but imagine the streets covered in ashes, people running. What I saw on TV back in 2001 became real to me.

Construction of the One World Trade Center was still taking place. I could see the ground where the buildings once stood. I took a moment to believe what I was seeing.

I could feel the sorrow in the air but most of all hope. Things would never be the same but what was being built would bring some peace to some. The memorial center was more than just remembering 9/11, it was a place where we  could remember all the families that were directly effected by the tragedy.

That evening Anabel arranged for us to go see the Lion King on Broadway. I was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

The next day we slept in. One thing about New York is that it will take all your energy away if you let it. We decided to take it easy and walk around Central Park.

It was so relaxing to hang out with the butterflies and birds. We spent hours walking around the garden.

What makes Anabel great to travel with is that she is as spontaneous as me. We ran in to the zoo and decided to go see some New York animals.

I remember it being so hot that day. Everyone seemed to be looking for a way to cool off.

We walked around the city to grab lunch. There was still so much to see! Lucky we had a ticket for one of those tour buses who took us all over town.

We arrived at Soho. The place looked strangely familiar. I couldn’t help but think of Felicity, one of my favorite TV shows when I was in high school. There on the corner was Dean & Deluca, where Felicity worked while she was going to NYU. I loved watching her adventure in NY. Even though it was a fictional show, being here in her neighborhood made it feel real.

The last thing to do on our tourist list was visit the top of the Empire State building. I remember going through all the lines, elevators, stairs and said, “This isn’t very romantic.” haha.

Finally, our last day in New York came. We spent it once again in Central Park. After we had a nice picnic we ended up taking a long four hour nap. I guess this made us official New Yorkers or just homeless.

As we walked to a music venue I tried to take in the city and notice all its details. My world back home is so different from here.

We found Pianos, a cool music venue and enjoyed one of the local bands. There is so much to see in New York but I think the best part of traveling, are the discoveries.

16 Comments

      1. Hi Monica, can kindly let us know what camera you are using. Its so sharp and colors seems amazing.

  1. My oldest son went to New York when he was working in Iowa. He got a cheap airfare and went some of his buddies. My friend goes every five years with her best girlfriends. And a couple I know went there on their honeymoon. I have to go there some day. I just have to!

  2. What a fun read. You are not only an artist, but a photojournalist as well. Although I grew up there, I haven’t been back for years, but your pics made NYC live again. Your shots in the subway reminded me of one of my favorite stories to foreigners, who wanted to know why I felt so at ease elsewhere. I’d tell them (like you did) while growing up, I would sit in the subway and people watch, listen to them speaking different languages, observe the strange clothes, smell roasted chestnuts and other unknown new cuisine. It prepares you for a life abroad. You caught the very essence of New York in just a few days, Monica; it took me years.

    And as an echo to craveadventures’ response above, how did you possibly accomplish the interesting layout, the photo-montage. It looks great like that, and carries the reader forward. Congrats on a complicated subject presented in such a refreshing way.

    1. Wow, thank you! I try to become apart of the culture instead of being a “tourtist.” I find it more enjoyable when I pretend to know what I am doing. haha.
      As far as the layout, I adjusted the size of each photo so they would fit perfectly with each other. I like to tell stories visually.

  3. New York is such a tremendous place to visit… You will find everything over there… nature, facilities, sculpture, system, efficiency, luxury…. everything. Long live NY…

  4. by the way- I m just curious about the cow (or bull) sculpture… that is something different… something UnAmerican… anyone know the history behind this?

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