Saturday, July 9, 2011

"I Want to Be a Part of It, New York, New York..."

Today’s activities topped everything that we have done thus far on this excursion. Today we took a group trip to New York City. We woke this morning slightly later than usual and got a quick breakfast from Wawa, the 7-11-esque convenience store that is very popular in Philly. It’s actually more like a 7-11 on steroids because it has everything that 7-11 has and more. These stores actually have small deli counters and a significantly large variety of snacks and drinks. After grabbing breakfast, we filed into several busses to begin our journey to NYC. Unfortunately our group was separated and we had to ride in smaller groups. I rode in one bus with Brian and Onur, and we were separated from Julia, Sarah, Abheek, Fred, and Alison. I didn’t mind though, because I was able to just enjoy a relaxing two hour drive listening to music and enjoying the scenery. It was not long (or at least it did not seem like it) before we arrived in NYC.

Our first stop was Columbia University. I was excited because not only would I get to see another Ivy League campus, I got the opportunity to see my friend Milani Lyman, a fellow ILC scholar who is studying Presidential Powers at Columbia. I probably would not have noticed Columbia’s campus if I were just walking or driving down the street. I’m not sure how open other entrances to campuses are, but the one we used was just a gate spanning about twenty feet. This gate gives access to a path edged with tall trees, but you can’t really see much of what is beyond that. This image is deceiving. Beyond that path is an enormous space that looks a lot like a public park, but actually serves as kind of the center of Columbia (or so I gathered). The lawns were beautiful, the buildings were massive, the architecture was grand, and everything seemed so vibrant. Despite the campus being in NYC, I felt like I was in a completely different world. The campus felt isolated from the city beyond the gates. I had ruled out Columbia as a choice for college because of how urban the campus is. But now that I have seen the campus, I have reconsidered. I am interested in researching what Columbia has to offer now. Although we weren’t able to get a tour of the university, we had lunch with Milani and then we talked about our experiences at our respective universities thus far. I really enjoyed talking to Milani because we are close friends and it was good to see a familiar face. As we left Columbia, I found myself wishing we could have spent more time there.

After Columbia, we drove to Times Square. The remainder of our time in NYC would be spent in Times Square. Upon our arrival, our group headed to the Theater District and entered our super tourist modes. We all had our cameras in-hand (except Sarah, who lives in New York) and took hundreds of pictures. We also went to the “top of the rock”, the Rockefeller Building. I cannot imagine a better way to get a view of NYC than to go atop one of the tallest buildings in the city. I had never realized how sprawled out the city actually was. I looked out the first window and my eyes grew wide. There was so much beautiful New York skyline to take in at that one moment. I was blown away by our visit to the Rockefeller Building. We took group pictures, I took a ton of pictures of New York from several angles, and we even got some good souvenirs out of it. One of the RC’s is even going to use a group picture he took of us in the Penn newsletter! Seeing the city from the top of the Rockefeller Building was easily the highlight of the day.

After the Rockefeller Building, we walked around the Theater District a little bit more and then had dinner at a small pizzeria/deli. We then headed to a tourist shop and I was able to buy an official “I <3 NY” hoodie. Due to time, we had to return to the busses after that. On the busride back I was able to reflect a bit on our trip today. I finally realized what everyone meant about NYC being a fast-moving city. I was only there for a few hours, but I could definitely tell that the pace was different than that of home, and even Penn. I also thought more about Columbia and remembered Georgetown’s 3-2 Program. After seeing Columbia, this program seems even more appealing. I cannot wait to resume my college research so I can see if Columbia would really be a good fit for my needs.

Upon our return home, we decided to cool off and recap our favorite parts of the day out on the quad. We also played Frisbee and after that we hung out in the small lounge on our dorm floor for a while. Today was truly relaxing, but exciting at the same time. I will never forget my first time in NYC with my new friends. We had a great time and I plan to ask Mr. Miranda if the four of us can return one Sunday so we can explore a little bit more. I will certainly return one day though, if not within the next couple of weeks.
New York from the Rockefeller Building
They truly are skyscrapers...
Milani and Fred
One of the many libraries at Columbia
Mt favorite of the older cars at the Simeone Musuem
An Aston Martin DB1...just wow...

1 comment:

  1. Alex,

    I’m sure it was great to take a day trip to NYC but it’s a shame that while at Columbia you couldn’t make it a real site visit with a meeting with a admissions officer. The other ILCers that had visits set up by us had that luxury.

    On the other hand, we would have made it more business like and you wouldn’t have been able to visit Times Square and the Rockefeller Building. From the descriptions and photos those side trips were way cool.

    That’s great that you were able to meet up with old friends while at Columbia. Even though their own studies demanded that they hit the books, I’m sure they appreciated the break amongst friendly faces.