New York City is a magical place. It has many names, from the “Big Apple” to the “Melting Pot,” but my favorite one is “The City that Never Sleeps.” NYC is a place where people have worked hard at 3 jobs, while they pursue their dream; where people have tasted new food; where people have grown an appreciation for art; where people have started successful careers; where people have fallen in love. Nothing ever stops moving. It doesn’t matter if someone is there as a visitor or a resident, the city never sleeps.
My sister was offered an internship in New York City for the summer. Her time off from her internship (and the job she also had) was limited, so what better excuse to take a family vacation to NYC? I had been to New York City once before, in 2011, following my senior year of high school. Because our trip also included New Jersey and Canada, our time in “The City that Never Sleeps” was limited to just a few days, but it was still memorable. This trip was more – it was incredible. I’m not sure if that is because I am now old enough to appreciate more of the beauty of NYC, or if it was because I saw more of NYC than I thought was possible in one week.
My family drove in from North Carolina, where they were living at the time, while I flew in from Northwest Arkansas. We settled into our Chelsea hotel pretty late, but were ready to begin our week early the next day.
D A Y • O N E
But first, coffee. To any of my closest friends, they know that I am a dedicated Starbucks drinker. And while there are Starbucks locations at almost every other corner of Manhattan, we settled on a place near our hotel, Luna Coffee Shop, to grab our caffeine fix and breakfast.
My sisters did their research. They planned an efficient way for us to see the most out of New York City and its beauty, all within the week that we had. We started at the Empire State Building. We had been here on our first trip, so we didn’t spend much time there – we had the rest of New York to see. But it was a lot of fun standing where Will Ferrel had stood as his character, Buddy the Elf, once again. Our next stop was the New York Public Library. If I would have been in NYC for college at any point, I would have loved to spend time studying at this library. The detail in the entry, the ceilings, the architecture, and the beauty of the books – it was so peaceful. One of my favorite spots in the library was a little corner that said, “What are you reading now?” Sharing favorite books with each other via a sticky note – how unique and old fashioned. Perfect for New York’s Public Library.
A Midtown Manhattan landmark was the next stop on our itinerary – Grand Central Terminal. In the 1800s, railroads were not only a response to NYC’s growth, but also a catalyst to its growth. Standing in the middle of Grand Central, I couldn’t even imagine how much New York City had grown since that time. There were hundreds of people in that terminal – and a few moments later, there were hundreds more. The constant movement, people passing by other people without a word between strangers, was very unique to watch.
Our next stop was a place very close to our hearts – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Growing up Catholic, there are so many religious traditions that I have carried with me into my adulthood. One of the most memorable Catholic moments that I’ve had goes back several years, when I took some time off school, and was working for a hotel back home. Cardinal Dolan, a St. Louis native, came back to town to celebrate his brother’s birthday with his extended family at the hotel where I worked. By the end of the weekend, I received a thank you letter from Cardinal Dolan, which means a lot to me being in the hospitality field. Fast forward to this trip, and getting to visit his parish – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a cool little “Catholic-nerd” moment.
Oh if only you could have been there…
…to be continued…
XO – MC