New York Narrative: A week in the City of Dreams
By Elizabeth Lande, Copy Editor
No matter how many stories you read or movies you watch about New York, nothing can truly prepare you for actually being there. It exceeds expectations, surpassing ones you didn’t know you had. And it does it all in a way that will make you say “only in New York.”
After months of fundraising for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference, our troupe of journalists landed at JFK airport early on Monday, March 18. Through a maze of tunnels, trains, and traffic, we reached our Airbnb in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
After settling into the apartment, we caught the closest subway, bound for Manhattan. The grinding screech of metal, the rush of wind as trains barreled past, the stations’ tiled walls — all so familiar to New Yorkers — were novel to me.
Forty minutes later, we emerged onto a congested street corner. People hurried past us as we walked a short distance to Times Square. Once there, we stood in awe as glitzy, glittering screens flashed across the faces of massive shopping outlets.
Following this overwhelming overload of the 21st century, we journeyed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a step back in time. We stumbled across famous works such as “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and “The Death of Socrates.” Art which had previously existed only in history textbooks stood before me in real life.
The rest of the week passed in much the same fashion as we mastered subway routes from Harlem through Midtown and down to Greenwich Village. We visited Chelsea Market and walked the entire Highline — an above-ground train track redesigned as a garden.
I puzzled my way through the Museum of Modern Art, reflecting upon the bold pieces and searching out my favorite artists.
I acted like a regular tourist along Fifth Avenue, visiting Trump Tower, Rockefeller Center, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Politics aside, the architecture in each location was stunningly different, and yet it all fit the multilayered landscape of New York.
On Wednesday, our group began the morning at Columbia University. For the next three days, we listened to lectures on design, photography, writing, and grammar. Particularly enjoyable were classes on student press law and instructing new writers.
One hour was spent at a critique session in which another adviser reviewed our paper with us, throwing out ideas and suggestions for improvement. We left armed with increased enthusiasm and knowledge.
On Friday, we explored Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park before catching the subway to One World Trade Center. We marveled at the height of the new, single trade center — 1776 feet tall — before crossing the street to pay our respects at the 9/11 memorials.
I walked around the two sunken reservoirs, lined with stone and flowing with water that descends into a seemingly infinite chasm. It was a lot to take in, and we were saddened into silence. Still, as we left the memorials, the tower seemed to serve as beacons of resilience, of hope.
The evening came to a close as we walked the Brooklyn Bridge, reaching the middle just as the sun began to set. The skyline of Manhattan glowed in gold and cast luminous rays upon a distant statue, Lady Liberty. We paused to take it all in — the view of the city and the iconic structure upon which we stood.
As my feet hit the streets of Brooklyn on the other side, I realized we had just spent a week in the New York City. We’d seen so much and learned even more, about journalism, each other, and ourselves. And I miss all of it, from the subway to the streets, from the food to the freedom, and from the energy to the experiences. But most of all, I miss the sheer feeling of existing in New York, a city indeed so nice they named it twice.