By Stephanie Ford
New York City streets feel alive under your feet with a series of starts and stops and the hustle and bustle of life in fast forward. This is the every day normal for one of the largest cities on the planet. I love the fast pace feel of the big city and being thrown into the epicenter of the world. It’s my third trip here and I’m sure it will not be my last.
Arriving in mid-December, New York City is a magical Christmas Winter wonderland. Strolling down 5th Avenue to Rockefeller center on our first night, I had to see the famous Christmas tree at the ice skating rink. Later, we headed across the street to Saks Fifth Avenue to see the window displays of Disney’s animatronic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It conjured up my childish butterflies of sheer joy and excitement. It could turn the biggest Scrooge into a rosy-cheeked, perma-grinned, Christmas-loving freak and all my Bah-Humbugs quickly faded away. It was a mind-blowing experience. This was also my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty up close. She was magnificent. The perfect, patina goddess of Liberty welcoming our ancestors to the land of the free. My great-great Austrian-born grandfather was one of those people who were plunged into the American Revolution upon their arrival which set the course of history for everyone in my family and for many thousands of others. Everyone’s story is different, but many of them started right here. It was surreal and moving. The days were filled with adventures in East Village, the top of the Empire State Building, Dinosaur bones at the American History Museum, the NYU campus, Bowery Street and the old CBGB’s Location now turned high-end men’s retail store, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Washington Square. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys playing on repeat in my head and found a big, red apple sitting on the rail going across. It was a photo opportunity slash postcard moment that had to be taken (see below). So much history, so much culture, so much to soak in, and clearly not enough time. Every day was like taking a breath and going for it. It’s a sink-or-swim kind of town and only the strong survive, but that’s life in the big city. You feel like you’ve cracked the code just by reading the hieroglyphs of a subway map to find your next destination along the city’s grid. Every day was like taking a breath and jumping. As the locals say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That’s New York City. The city of dreams and new beginnings. It’s a thrilling adventure getting deep into the thick of this concrete jungle. You may feel lost in a sea of people only to find yourself again.