New York City is a palatial place of dreams, filled with sidewalks and building after building that are much more than what they seem at first. The modern age of cunning and sharpness meet the glamorous and rich feeling of old, in a city that pulls this off so well with millions of people to add in their own bit of personality. This isn't a unique, off the chart vacation spot, but a basic staple that everyone needs to experience.
You're landing at LaGuardia Airport in Queens for the first time, and as you catch a cab (or Uber!) you feel anticipation pile up and start to drive your pounding heart mad. After passing neighborhood after neighborhood of brown brick buildings, you can start to see skyscrapers in the distance. You enter the heart of New York City, the most congested of the five burrows: Manhattan. Regardless of where you're from and what you're used to, the amount to take in is both overwhelming and intoxicating. People of all different shapes and sizes, races and cultures, and all sorts of activities take up the cracked city sidewalks that border buildings containing just about any idea about anything you can imagine.
You make it to your chosen place of stay for the duration of your trip, perhaps an efficient hotel with a concierge to direct your needs, or a cozy hostel where you could bunk with literally anyone (I chose a hostel for my first experience!). After that, now what? The possibilities are endless. After just walking out the door, you already know that no matter what the day or night ends up being, things can and will happen. Its the city that never stops, never sleeps, and never even slows down. Breathing in the city air makes you light on your feet, and you embark to be a master of your own adventures.
You take in all the bustling crowds and lights fighting for your attention as you crane your neck to look up at the sky. A trip to New York City is full of choices and chances to see the spectacular. Everything is within walking distance (if you've brought the right shoes) and you're prepared to finish the list of sights and experiences you've prepared. Perhaps you spend time just walking, taking time to stop in Times Square to appreciate how important everything seems. You might stop to get food, and your options are endless; all cultures have clustered on this island, prepared to serve you whatever authentic food choice you desire. You could decide to check out an art gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood, or catch amateur night held every Wednesday at the famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. After getting a fill of inspiration you might sit on the MET steps in the Upper East Side and people watch. After that you could take a stroll through Central Park, or check out one of the many piers that offers stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Staten Island. There's shopping all along 5th Ave, or maybe you fancy scoring some discounted tickets to a show on Broadway that they sell last minute. Maybe you stop to talk to that street performer with a back story that enthralls you, or offer to take a passing couple's picture because they look so happy. You could walk on over to Little Italy and Chinatown, and simply watch elderly men playing chess in the main park of Chinatown as you contemplate everything you've witnessed so far. The choices go on and on and on!
Some people prefer the city life, and some people prefer the quaint life of a small town. Regardless of personal preference, New York City is a place where you are never alone and yet independent; comfortable but never sitting still. This a place where all people and experiences come together into one giant melting pot that really, truly, shows all how much beauty and depth humankind is capable of.