Empire State of Mind

I’ve been MIA for a few days, but for a good reason I swear! I flew out to Washington D.C. last Thursday night to go visit my cousin Sal before I go off to Rome. When I landed on Friday morning I had the afternoon to myself in D.C. I was there a few years ago and had gotten the full dose of memorials and history then, so I hit some spots I didn’t get a chance to see in 2013. I walked from my cousin’s office to the Library of Congress, which was stunning. It is so breathtaking and it was great to explore it on my own. Then I walked by the Smithsonian to the United States Botanic Gardens, then by the Washington Monument to the Newseum, my favorite spot in D.C. The Newseum is a museum dedicated to, you guessed it, the news. As a journalism student, it is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing places on Earth. It includes thousands of famous front page articles, a truly touching 9/11 exhibit, a piece of the Berlin Wall, a dedication to journalists who have been killed while reporting at war or have been killed for things they wrote or said, and an FBI exhibit. It’s really cool even if you don’t like the news- I promise. My cousin took me out for an amazing Lebanese dinner that night, and then we went out to Georgetown and took a stroll. Seriously one of the cutest neighborhoods ever! D.C. is a beautiful city. We tried to get to bed as soon as we got home in order to wake up early for Saturday’s adventure…

I have always dreamed of going to New York. More so than any other city in the world (yes, I realize I am saying this as I’m about to move to Rome for 4 and a half months..). My cousin brought me to New York City, and it was an amazing experience. We only had 24 hours but we managed to somehow pack in a LOT. We went up to the Top of the Rock, saw Grand Central Station, lunch on the Upper West Side, went to Strawberry Fields in Central Park and walked through to the Upper East Side, rode the Subway (eeeep!) to the Brooklyn Bridge, walked to the Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial, made our way over to Battery Park where we grabbed the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, grabbed dinner in Midtown at Blue Ribbon Sushi (holy shit!), went to Times Square, and ended the day with some gelato in Little Italy. What did I miss? Okay, a lot but it was still fucking awesome.

The Top of the Rock was spectacular. It’s a 360 degree view of New York City. Central Park, the Empire State, the Freedom Tower- it’s all there.

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The most touching event of the day was by far seeing the One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) and the 9/11 Memorial. The feeling I had standing there was indescribable. I was emotional and heartbroken, realizing that the spot I was standing in was the exact spot so many people lost their lives. But I was also inspired and hopeful, looking up at the Freedom Tower (standing at 1,776 ft.- notice the coincidence) and seeing the rays beat off of it’s shining surface. It’s kinda like NYC is saying, “well take THAT. We’re better and stronger than ever.” It was a beautiful moment. #NeverForget

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New York City has an indescribable vibe. It was everything I had ever imagined it to be.IMG_2488 The buildings, the houses, the brick everywhere, the food, the lights. I’ve always had a dream of just standing in the middle of Times Square at night and taking it all in- and I did just that. It didn’t disappoint. There were thousands of people around me and each one had a look on their face like they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. And it makes sense, because Times Square is just unreal. I wouldn’t want to see that electricity bill. I also saw the New York Times building. Um, can you say journalist goals or what?

The Upper West Side stole my heart. I can definitely see myself here someday. It made my soul happy.

The Upper West Side stole my heart. I can definitely see myself here someday. It made my soul happy.

What I enjoyed most about NYC were the little things. Seeing the actual Sak’s 5th Ave. Seeing the Tiffany’s & Co. building. My first NYC cab ride. My first Subway ride. Walking by Trump Tower and letting out a little giggle. Crossing the street with the red light and the cops not caring (okay, that was just cool). The brick homes. Those were the things I’ll never forget. I will continue to post pictures and memories from this amazing trip!

Now it’s time to get ready for my next adventure- Rome in ONE week! Gah! xoxo

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