A First Timer's Take on The Big Apple


Photo by Adham Elsharkawi The closest I had been to New York City a week ago was theJFK airport. And since JFK is an abysmal shithole, I figured a few episodes of Friends and Gossip Girl would be enough to fill the New York sized hole in my heart. But when I heard about a trip to New York that tossed JFK out of the equation altogether, I was setting alarms and reminders to fill out the sign-up form the day it came out, getting my outfit together, sprinting to the bank, and memorizing what the Upper East Side and Brooklyn look like. (At this point, I’d like to offer my grateful thanks to “xoxo, Gossip Girl”).

To my advantage, I didn't need to spend a generous amount of time putting an outfit together for the one-day trip, since I only had enough time to brush my teeth and relieve my bladder before our 6.30 a.m. departure. The truth is, you can look basic and get away with a lot when you're traveling to New York City, because no one gives a shit what you're wearing when you're stuck on a five-hour bus ride listening to your neighbor cough every five seconds. And since it was my very first time to New York, I spent way more time subtly eavesdropping on all the conversations about meeting family and getting non-dining-hall pizza than I should have.

Once we neared the tunnel entering the city, all eyes on board opened so wide they were borderline perturbing from everyones eye sockets. All the cliché skyline photos with inspirational words scrawled across them proved to be incredibly accurate… or maybe I was just losing my chill like a hardcore nerd. What can I say? The little girl inside of the little Indian girl was living her dream in reality.

Here are a few bite-sized pieces of the Big Apple… when I first took a bite of it.

  • You can’t use the Metrocard right on the first try… or the tenth.
  • You're bound to see at least one almost fully naked bearded man doing his routine with a bottle shaker in Washington Square Park.
  • The Manhattan Skyline is more in shape than I have ever been in life (so is half the architecture in uptown Manhattan).
  • Greenwich has an insane burger joint. Umami Burgers makes McDonald’s taste like McDormTrash. If you don’t believe me, use the Metrocard wrong four times and find out.
  • The bathrooms at Rockefeller Center are just as good as the communal bathrooms in freshman dorms.
  • The Subway signs have some of the best burns ever recorded: “Poles are for your safety, not your latest routine – Hold the pole, not our attention. A subway car is no place for showtime.” They are serious.
  • ‘Cuse is everywhere. Holla at that old man in his Orange sweatshirt who pumped his fist in the air when we yelled at him while crossing the road.
  • Times Square's flashing lights can actually blur the sky and darkness when evening strikes. Take that, daylight savings.
  • ‘Cuse is… everywhere part 2. Throwback to spying on a pub with the game on and an official “Orange Territory” cubicle. We lost 17-41 though, so the Orange Pride faded to a bit of a strong peach shade.
  • Bryant Park, Midtown is code for public weddings and public displays of love. I mean, it's New York… obviously. In other news, all the little holiday shops completely wiped out my wallet. I can now spy on people in the bathrooms wearing bumblebee bedroom slippers.

It was over all too soon. Days later, I’m back to 8 a.m.s and struggling to get on the campus Snapchat. At least I now have memorabilia on my iPhone (which is now out of storage space due to the million and a half photos I took). And I can watch Gossip Girl knowing she was wrong about Brooklyn.

Real TalkDivya MurthyComment