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New York is Nothing Like I Expected and Here Is Why

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Besides being cooped up at my 9 to 5 job, one thing I did during the summer was take a family trip to New York. I was born in Manhattan, New York and I have always wanted to go back. Granted, I was only in New York for a month until my parents moved to Kansas right after 9/11.

While planning this trip, my little mind couldn’t help but daydream of all the possibilities and doors that would open up in New York. Call me a fool but I was envisioning a gold-tinted skyline, food-carts galore, and a newly adopted rich-person lifestyle. Much to my surprise, New York was definitely NOT that. 

New York turned out to shock me in many ways and here is how:

Times Square is what anyone who isn’t from New York envisions when anyone mentions NYC. I was expecting big buildings, lights, and expensive sights. And although all of that seemed to be there, there was also a whole lot more. The minute we stepped out of the yellow cab outside of our Times Square hotel, I was appalled. I heard people yelling foul things left and right. I saw drug addicts sitting at the intersections and loose condoms in the crevices of the side-walk. Pickpockets roamed on every corner of the block and sewer smells obliterated the city like no joke. Minutes after we started roaming Times Square, there was a lot of stuff I expected but it wasn’t the ideal picture I had envisioned.

Another thing that surprised me is that people are mean but in a weirdly comforting way. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen movies before and I am familiar with the stereotype of New Yorkers being absolutely terrifying and brutal. To an extent, they definitely were. The Madame Tussauds’s Wax Museum staff were shouting at us left and right. At one point I got flashbacks to elementary school where they would make us stand in single file lines in the hallways. Cab drivers were a whole other story. Every cab we tried to call either completely ignored us, made a “shooting” motion with their hands, or limited their seating to only three people even though there were four of us. All of this wasn’t shocking, however. What was surprising was the fact that even though everyone was blunt and scary, everyone was super relatable. My family and I always found a commonality between us and whoever we were talking to. Sometimes people come across as harsh, but they have your best interest in mind and are always willing to help. I thought I would get my feelings hurt by the end of the trip, but I honestly gained a sense of understanding for the New York lifestyle. There are so many people struggling to achieve their dreams or even make a living for themselves, and I realized in the end that people are blunt because people struggle and the last thing on their mind is sugar-coating every little thing they say. It put a lot into perspective for me. Needless to say, Kansas and New York are WAY different. 

The “must-see” sights are COMPLETELY over-hyped. I was expecting to be amazed but frankly everything was just expensive and stressful. One thing that comes to mind is the Empire State Building. To get things started, the line to get to the top stretched down the block and was way longer than I expected. You can imagine how long we waited to finally get to the floor. Security was terrible and made me feel like I was in prison, and then to top it all off, when we finally got to the floor that takes us outside to the view, it was filled with people left and right. Me being the social media influencer (self-made title btw) that I am, I wanted to take pictures, but of course, that was not really an option with this many people. 

On the bright side, my brother and I ended up exploring the city the next day and came across The Edge Observation Deck which was a cheaper, much more pleasurable experience. I had a blast. It was basically the Empire State building but even higher up with a much better view. I’m talking about glass walls instead of bars, and a completely open space compared to a zoo. If you ever find yourself in New York, I highly recommend checking it out.

Being a foodie, I was most excited for the food that I was about to devour. And you want to know something? I devoured it. We ate everything from Indian and Thai food all the way to $1 New York-style pizza from street vendors at 1 a.m. And although some places we ate at were hit or miss, I would say the food selection is absolutely insane in New York. One thing you will definitely be able to find is food for yourself no matter your dietary restrictions and preferences. The world is your oyster…well…besides the terrible prices. (My wallet is empty from the inflation of food prices). 

Overall, New York surprised me but it was well worth the wait to come back to my birth city. I had amazing moments, lots of laughs, great experiences, and delicious food! 

At the end of the day…concrete jungles where dreams are made of <3

I am a college student interested in Human Biology and Creative Writing. In my free time, I love writing poetry and I cover topics such as mental health, racism, global, and social justice issues! Being a writer for her campus inspires me to keep writing!