I’m sitting at Terminal 7 of JFK airport in New York City. It’s 4.55 in the morning, an hour until we can check in, and I’m bored and unable to sleep on the impossibly uncomfortable chairs that seem to be manufactured for the sole purpose of sleep-deprivation. But more importantly, it’s January 5th, and I’ve been here since December 29th. I’ve just spent a week in New York over New Year.
Here at Impact Travel we try to steer clear from purely personal anecdotes and subjective stories, and so I set about writing this from the political, then the economic, then a ‘climate change’ perspective. I failed at my attempts – because the truth is that this was an unavoidably subjective trip. I’m in my final year, the flight had been my 21st birthday present, I was with three amazing friends and I’d left behind epic boy troubles – it couldn’t help but be an emotional trip.
Despite any disadvantages in the happiness department, though, New York City triumphed. I’d been to New York before, in the summer, and I loved it then – but I have to say that for me, Manhattan truly shone in the freezing, snowy, crisp depths of December. I could list you a hundred must-see, must-do opportunities, but they’d be nothing you couldn’t find in a guidebook. For me, the city came alive when you stopped being a visitor and observer and started participating in the craziness.
Walking the length of Broadway at night and watching the hot steam rise up from the grates into the minus-degree air was like strolling through a Scorsese movie. Having snow fights in Central Park and general childish frolicking; spending hours trawling through my favourite poster shop in Greenwich Village; the four of us having epic Sex and the City lunches – the list goes on.
During your first week of uni, there’s little doubt that you didn’t happen upon at least one enlightened male or female who took a gap year and ‘really found themselves’. I avoid that phrase at all costs – and yes, I will judge anyone who uses it. But the truth is there is something about some places that add to you in some way. So the fact that I spent my New Years Eve freezing my ass off for 8 hours in Times Square way after that warm fuzzy feeling from two bottles of port had disappeared? Well, I may not ever be able to forgive Grace for that – but it was my New Year, and as is the case of New York during the New Year – it was just a little bit magic.