Saturday, December 21, 2013

New York City

This past May, my grandparents told me they would take me to NYC as my high school graduation present. I had, embarrassingly enough, never been, despite having wanted to since I was ten years old, so I was ecstatic to visit the famous city. Our schedules never matched until my Christmas break, which ended up being a perfect time to go. I finished my first semester at university and drove up to my grandparents’ house on Saturday before continuing on to New York together.

It was an amazing trip. The temperature never rose above 35 degrees the entire time and it snowed on Tuesday, which I loved but neither of my grandparents seem to share my appreciation for the winter cold. I wasn’t expecting to love the city as much as I did. I know many people have told how amazing it is but I thought they were over-exaggerating it a bit, but I’m completely in love with NYC. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could. There were countless streets that I could stand and be content with just staring at the buildings because I loved even the architecture.

As I’d never been before, I was content with being a tourist for a few days. Although I enjoyed everything we did, a few of my personal highlights were:

  • Empire State Building – We went at sunset so all the city lights were on and a gorgeous orange horizon sunk around the city. It was a cloudless day and the moon was in full view over the Chrysler Building. The view was truly breathtaking. We were especially glad to have gone up on Monday because the next day was foggy, overcast, and snowy, and the view wouldn’t have been nearly as good.
  • NBC Studios – As soon as I heard the studio was open to public touring, I knew I wanted to go. We saw one of the night news studios as well as the set for The Today Show, and heard about the history of NBC and behind-the-scenes secrets for how the show is made. They had a fantastic giftshop on the bottom floor and, although they no longer carried anything from SMASH (my greatest guilty pleasure show), I did buy a massive Central Perk coffee mug.
  • Cinderella – The 1997 movie version of this musical with Brandy and Whitney Houston was one of my favourite movies when I was younger and to this day I still have all the songs and dance sequences memorised, so when my grandparents got tickets to see it on Broadway I was ecstatic. It was very different from the movie version, which I was glad of because then it was still a surprise to me. I loved everything about it, except that it now makes me want to see every other famous musical (my wallet can't handle it). I was especially excited to see it because Ana Harada - Linda from SMASH played Charlotte, one of the stepsisters, and Santino Fontana - Hans from Frozen played the Prince.
  • Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular – I’m not sure what I was expecting from the Rockettes’ show, but it was better than I’d anticipated. I don’t pretend to know anything about dance but I love watching all different genres of it, and this show was a mix of many different types as well as having all the signature Rockettes moves.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art – This quickly became my favourite place in the world. I didn’t have enough time to go walk the entire building, but I went through the Islamic Art, Modern & Contemporary Paintings, and Egyptian Art exhibits and quickly walked through the Greek and Roman exhibits. The Islamic exhibit contained primarily tapestries/rugs and pottery dishes, all of which were beautiful. The colours were surprisingly rich considering the pieces’ ages, especially the blues and reds. I was particularly excited to see the Modern & Contemporary section as I’d never seen a Picasso in person and they have at least 20 of his works. They also have a considerable number of Matisse’s works, who I don’t particularly enjoy but was still happy to see. I was most excited to see van Gogh’s works, as he is one of my favourite painters. I was also pleased to see a number of Monet’s works. I went to see his exhibit a few years ago when it came to my state’s art museum so I had already seen the ones they had, but I was excited to see them all again. My favourite exhibit, however, was the Egyptian one. Ancient Egypt has been one of my favourite time periods ever since the 2nd grade, and the size of the exhibit was a dream come true. The most impressive piece was the reconstruction of the Temple of Dendur with the actual stones from it. The walls were blocked off by glass but visitors are able to walk through it and stand right up next to it. It’s an absolutely incredible, nearly indescribable feeling knowing that you are three inches away from actual hieroglyphics written 3000+ years ago. I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt but if I never get my chance, at least I was able to visit a piece of it.

Visiting a week before Christmas was incredible as all the decorations were up and the fact that there was snow on the ground and even snowed one day made it even better. I immensely enjoyed my trip and I hope to revisit the city sometime soon.

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