My first trip to New York was for my 26th birthday. I was so excited to finally see the city I’d seen on TV and be like the sophisticated city dwellers I read about in books – like Stacey from “The Baby-Sitters Club.”
I was in awe when I got to New York. I loved the busyness of it all. But I was also surprised. This is the dreamy place I read about? I thought. It’s filthy and crowded and well, not that pretty. But I saw the appeal as I walked the short distance from our Penn Station-area hotel to Rockerfeller Center. Ooh, the shopping! The culture! The people with important jobs to hurry to!
But I left thinking, “well, that was a fun place to visit, but I’d never want to live there.” The sight of people eating street food on the icky sidewalks stuck with me. Disgusting! I’d never do that.
Funny how things change, huh? I’ve been known to buy a slice of pizza at the place across the street and eat it while I walk back to my building. I often grab flaffel or a hot dog from a sidewalk vendor when I’m running late for class and haven’t eaten. I nearly jumped up and down one day when I spotted a vendor selling empanadas on the sidewalk for $1 a piece. And bagels? Fuggedaboutit! You already know how much I love the bagels.
And despite the streets being dirty and crowded, there’s no place I’d rather be.