I'm back, back in the New York Groove. The travel bug has bitten me hard today. I'm dreaming of escaping the grey West Coast, and I can't help but want to wander around the most exciting city ever - New York City.
After only two visits to The City - one right before college and one to visit my girlfriend for our 20th birthdays - I pulled a total Felicity; I got a drastically shorter haircut (a la Cameron Diaz in "The Holiday."), I applied and was accepted into New York Univeristy as part of their Spring in New York program.
As a 21 year old girl walking through JFK to find my towncar, I was ready to dive into an experience that would eventually teach me more than I never knew about myself. I could board a plane, navigate through subway stations and push my way through the shutting doors of the subway car. I could hail a cab in the middle of a busy intersection. I could challenge myself at a nearly Ivy league school and hold my own. I could go grocery shopping nearly 30 blocks away and lug all the bags home. I could survive a Midtown Manhattan nightclub where some strange guys in front of me whipped out cocaine at the table (I ran away - duh).
Besides meeting some fabulous and interesting people, I spent most of my New York days studying harder than I ever should have to receive some of the best grades I've ever gotten - which I probably wouldn't do if I had to do it over again. Each of my media and social life classes were taught by working professionals - executives from NBC, HBO and some lady that would always have her TA teach the class so she could be at home with her newborn baby and watch MTV shows. Seriously.
Besides toting around books on the history of television and reading, er, skimming some classic stories set in New York - I loved wandering around Greenwich Village and the East Village after class. Popping in to Magnolia Bakery to grab a vanilla buttercream cupcake, a slice at Ray's Pizza or a coffee from the cart near the Stern Business School building.
NYU's program allowed me to meet 80 other students from all over the country (although, I'm pretty sure I was one of two from the West Coast). Our organizer planned events and gave us access into events and experiences that money just couldn't buy. Besides ice skating in Central Park in the freezing weather and an outing to Yankee Stadium, I also got to be a taste tester for Chef Emeril Lagasse's on Good Morning America, was handed tickets to a Broadway show, was invited to board a sunset cruise around Manhattan, and front row seats to The Martha Stewart Show (my favorite) fell into my lap.
That's the crazy thing with having a ticking clock as to when you're adventure is going to end...in the famous words of Jessie Spanno on SBTB - there's never enough time. I was only in New York for 5 months, from January to May. While I tried to squeeze in as many "New York experiences" as I could, it's just not possible to take it all in. I returned home feeling like I had both conquered the world and had barely taken advantage of all that the city provided - the museums, the restaurants, the cafes, the parks, the subway stops, the shops.
So...as I sit here at my desk in the basement of the radio station with awful fluorescent lighting - I'm dreaming of jetsetting off to New York to embrace my inner Gossip Girl. How about you?