A Look Back at My First Trip to NYC

March 29, 2021

Hi. My name is Yifan. I would like to think I am a New Yorker at heart. Though I have only spent five days in this great city, it forever changed me. And this is how it started.

May 2013 
My sister, our mom, and I decided we would go on a short vacation. The destination was Toronto, but it quickly changed to New York City. I was so excited because I had never been outside of Canada, and had always dreamed of seeing the city. I wanted to see celebrities. I wanted to see Central Park. I wanted to see The Empire State Building. And I wanted to see a Broadway show. But mainly, I wanted to see celebrities. 

When we arrived at La Guardia Airport and eventually found our driver, we headed to our first stop: the Hotel Edison. It was beautiful. Then we went to explore. 

We walked to Times Square, which was only a few minutes away. I was completely overwhelmed. It is hard for me to explain what I felt, but I knew I wasn’t going to be homesick. 

We picked up our “hop on hop off” bus tickets, and we used those to get around the city for the next few days. I want to tell you a few highlights ––there were so many. 

We saw our Broadway show. It was Motown The Musical. It took me back to when Michael Jackson was little and sang ” Who’s Loving You.” I love Michael Jackson. I have loved him since 1983 when Thriller was released. 

Central Park was an amazing experience for me, and I think it is my favorite place in the whole city. When I realized this, I surprised myself because I said, “Why do I love it here so much ?” I live in a very small town and I can see trees and walk trails. My town has many beautiful spots, but Central Park is different. It is a magical place. And when I walked through Strawberry Fields, it was so peaceful. And I could sense others around me feeling the same. There was a guy sitting on a bench strumming an old guitar. He was in ragged clothing. I was in heaven. And I could have stayed there all day, but remember we only had a few days, and had so much more to do.  

While in Columbus Circle we walked by The Trump World Tower. Mom said, “We should see if they will let us in to look around. ” I said, “Are you crazy mom? They will never let us in there.” Well, my mother is very persistent, and yes, we walked through those gold doors like we lived there. The bellmen were so nice. They let us take pictures in the lobby, and chatted with us for a while. Jesus, who was one of the bellmen, even gave us Trump pens and Trump water. What an experience that was. And I still have my pen and my water. 

Another favorite memory I have of New York is just walking along the streets and feeling like I was a part of it all. I mean, there are so many different types of people. I would see a businessman walk by in a 3-piece suit and a briefcase talking on his iPhone. Then I would see an Amish man walking by us. I loved this.

So, my idea of what was the greatest about New York City changed in the five days I was there. I realized why I loved it so much. It was just being there and being a part of it all, and the feeling that I belonged there. Because I think everyone fits in, in NYC. And the people I met were so kind and helpful, and so interesting. 

I am so excited to go back. And while seeing a celebrity would be awesome, that is not my priority anymore. I just want to be a New Yorker again. And that will happen in 30 more days. The countdown is on.