I had no idea what to expect on my spring break trip to New York City. Now my body was stiff, frozen in the window seat of row 14 on Southwest flight 1180. I wasn't ready for this, wasn't ready to dress business casual, run down the city streets in my Vince Camuto heels desperately trying to make it to meetings with writers and editors of some of the most notable publications in the nation. Hell, I wasn't even equipped enough to pack my suitcase under the designated 50 lbs. My head reeled with worries and "what if's" as the Boeing 747's wheels left the runway and the plane dipped into its ascent.
Three hours and 15 minutes, two magazines published by Condé Nast and 43 alternative songs later, I landed at LaGuardia and was whisked away by a middle-aged Jamaican car driver to the Hudson Hotel, my home for the next three days. I spent no time at all squeezing my 54.5 lbs of belongings into the closet of the cramped hotel room, eager to explore my surroundings. My travel companion and I grabbed a quick bite at Europan Café, and headed into the city with our cameras and a sense of adventure.
That first day I saw Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, climbed rocks in my faded black converse on the outskirts of Central Park and spent a notable amount of time in Times Square, in awe of the thousands of bright lights surrounding me. I stuffed my face with Italian food from Tony’s Di Napoli, and hurried back to the hotel where I curled up in bed to try and get sleep before the first day of office visits.
Tuesday morning came early, and I struggled to get down to the lobby by 6:15 am as required. I threw on my new Banana Republic fit-and-flare dress, two pairs of black tights and my trusty Nine West black leather flats, rushing out the door to Good Morning America. Between meetings at Bloomberg, Time and NBC Universal my group hurriedly rushed around sightseeing as many locations as possible. Once we pushed through the drunken sea of green-clad Long Islanders on 6th Ave, we were able to see Grand Central, New York Public Library, Bryant Park and Rockefeller center. Larry Wilmore kept us entertained during the taping of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and we practically ran from the Hudson River to our hotel where I took a spontaneous round of long exposure shots in Columbus Circle with my three roommates before collapsing two people to a bed for the night.
I woke up to find my feet swollen and shoulders aching, but was ready to tackle day two. Since I didn’t have to be downstairs by 6:15 am I was able to get ready for office visits with ease, and wandered down the street to grab a chocolate croissant and Irish Spring water bottle (which is basically the only water you can find in New York). We started our day with Sports Illustrated, where we sat comfortably in a conference room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and we listened to Elizabeth McGarr, Associate Editor at Sports Illustrated Kids, talk to us about her experiences of being a journalist in the Big Apple. We went on to see Ground Zero and visit The Street and The Wall Street Journal. Our last stop was Esquire, located in the Hearst building. As I walked through the revolving doors I looked up to see a huge wall with cascading fountains and escalators that ran diagonally from one side of the building to the opposing side in the lobby. The building was just about as beautiful as I expected the company who publishes Seventeen and Cosmopolitan to look. There we talked with an associate editor, senior editor and executive editor of Esquire, each of which offered amazing insight and gripping stories about the experiences they had while working for the magazine.
After a brief networking reception my friends and I caught the subway to Chelsea where we dined at Rana. Considering the fact that I have the diet of a five-year-old, I opted for the fried ravioli pizza and sponged off my friend’s roasted cauliflower. It took us three tries to find the right subway entrance to get a MetroCard for the way home, but we eventually made it back to 58th Street and 8th Avenue. My heart sank a little when I realized it was time to pack up my suitcase.
Because I was catching an evening train out of the city, I had all day to explore the territory by myself. I only took the wrong subway once, ending up on the Upper East Side when my goal was to make it to Soho. Once I figured out how to navigate the puzzle that is the subway, I achieved one of my life goals and shopped at Brandy Melville. Walking into the store was like drowning in piles of Tumblr-worthy clothing, jewelry and super cute laptop stickers. Blinded by fashion and unable to think clearly enough to differentiate between which solid black dress would best complete my spring wardrobe, I grabbed three and made my way to the register. I let myself go and snagged a Soho New York City sweatshirt, grey sleep shorts and ‘WANTED’ beanie as well. When in New York, right?
I ended my Soho adventure with some classic macaroni and cheese from MacBar and a stroll through Washington Square park to see the mini Arc de Triomphe. My Aunt and Uncle met me in the city for lunch and we all headed to the Met, my final destination of the trip. Dazed and confused by the complexity of the museum’s setup, I stumbled through centuries of paintings by some of my favorite artists like Monet, Picasso and Degas. It was almost too cold to enjoy my last stroll through central park, so I warmed up and recharged with a veggie burger and herb fries from Hudson Hotel before my departure from the city.
What started out as an intimidating adventure quickly turned into one of the most positive experiences of my sophomore year. I was given the opportunity to have a firsthand look at what my future would look like working for a publication in New York City, and it looked amazing. I found much needed motivation and confirmation in what I really want to do when I graduate, and I look forward with excitement to the day I can call New York my home.