As summer fades away and fall closes in, students reluctantly settle back into their school routines, don the appropriate dress codes, and count down the days until the next break. Luckily, MEA is fast approaching and a quick getaway to New York City is all it takes to feel the freedom of summer once more.
New York truly lives up to its name as ‘The City That Never Sleeps’. Being in Times Square at midnight is essentially the same as being in Times Square at noon. The lights are bright, the crowd is crushing, and the never-ending anthem of taxi cabs and bustle of 8 million people rings in your ears long after you’ve crashed half-dead from exhaustion in your hotel room. It’s a city full of excitement and life, and there are definitely sights and experiences that are not to be missed.
Madame Tussauds: Despite the long wait, posing with wax celebrities while people awkwardly watch on is one of the most simultaneously creepy and entertaining things to do to kick off your trip. If you’re not taking at least a few ridiculous pictures, you’re in the minority.
Times Square: There’s a general craze and thrill of being part of so many people; in spite of the fact that your eyes will get mobbed with hundreds of Elmos, Superheroes, and half-naked people on every street corner, going there just for the experience of being one in a million (literally) is worth it.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum: Every great trip has a few solemn moments, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum is a serious reminder of the influence tragedy can have on a country. The powerful pictures and voiceovers echo through the rooms. The crumbling staircases, crushed fire trucks, and victims’ trinkets will undoubtedly touch your hearts and unleash the waterworks.
Broadway: New York is known for many things, but one of their biggest boasts is their vast variety of theater. Broadway, which is centered around Times Square, is famous for housing celebrated plays, like Les Misérables. Best of all, venturing into the theatrical world at half cost is no fantasy; tickets purchased in Time’s Square can come at half-price.
Bryant Park: To unwind and relax after a long day, a bite to eat in Bryant Park can be a calming and beautiful break after the blinding lights of the city. The trees, which tower above you, offer a screen from the skyscrapers that surround you. It’s a hotspot for couples late at night (moonlight and all that), but even for singles it’s a small, noise-muffling haven in the middle of New York City.
Empire State Building: The building itself was made to impress, and it most definitely does. The lobby’s gorgeous stone interior is impeccably paired with the famed silver mural on the far wall. Informational signs about the building are placed everywhere to keep your interest. The elevator rides are cramped but quick and there. The obvious highlight, however, is getting to the top, where the view will yield a incredible 360-degree perspective of the island of Manhattan.
Radio City Music Hall: It may not be for everyone, but learning the history of the famous music hall and seeing the posters of legendary stars who have taken the storied stage is both an interesting and fantastic step out of reality. It will make you wish you could dance, sing, or perform in any capacity. Your tour ends with meeting a Rockette, which is an intriguing insight into New York’s world of “showbiz.”
5th Avenue: It’s incredibly hard to dislike shopping on Fifth Avenue. It’s probably the cleanest part of New York, and acts as a Zen from the rest of the madness. Window shopping alone is entertaining, and trying on wildly overpriced clothes that you’ll never be able to afford is curiously liberating. Just make sure you dress like you have the money to be shopping amongst such high-society and act like you know what you’re doing; the sales people will treat you with respect and make you feel like a royal.
Central Park: When tackling Central Park, a map and a sense of direction is key. It’s gorgeous to walk through, of course, and petting the horses that wait with their carriages on the edges is lovely. But, if you get lost, it could take a while to get out. So, when browsing casually through the trees, lakes, and huge rocks that you cannot resist climbing, just make sure you aren’t on any sort of time crunch. Take your time to breathe in the clean air and simply live.