New York City: Always an Element of Surprise

New York City at approach.

Truman Capote was speaking the truth when he stated, “New York is the only real city-city. Whether you believe it’s the heart of the universe or not, there’s not denying that New York has an unparalleled pulse, an excitement that’s contagious.”


New York City isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. And since I’m a writer, New York is a deep haven of experience and stories. I see opportunities to describe things the way I see them and take whatever I want from New York in a way only I want to. I’m obsessed with this phenomenon. Recently, a fellow flight attendant and I took the Megabus from Philly to spend an entire day in New York and bear hug the feeling New York gives us. I couldn’t wait to let it’s energy fulfill my veins like vampire blood…(sorry, just watched TrueBlood). And most importantly, I couldn’t wait for the experience there to generate creativity, expression and a big ol’ fist pump of gigantic excitement.

We shoved continental breakfast food items in our purse, a free CD from a Gospel band we met at the hotel making toast (don’t ask), a camera in a sock (hey, you have to protect it somehow), our MegaBus ticket back to Philly and our New York empire state of mind. We were ready. Philly smelt like leather and looked like an abandoned scene on the History Channel anyway.

The Megabus took us through Jersey. The trees had not yet bursted into orange and the world was thick and luscious still. Old motels passed by, small creeks and Popeyes. We could smell fried chicken and heartburn from the top floor of the double decker bus. Even before we made it near New York, you could tell we were close. The trees cleared and as we passed the Newark Airport, more buildings began sprouting from the earth like a prequel to a story climax. I gripped onto my purse and said melodramatically,

“We’re getting closer to New York. I can feel it.”

I get like this when New York floats near. I whisper the first few words in sentences, my pupils enlarge and my blonde arm hairs stand up like a cat caught off guard. The same things happen when I see a guy I like, or break off a piece of fresh chocolate chip cookies before I consume it.

Then, there is was in the horizon. New York was a collection of grey blocks against a stark blue sky. Moving only when our bus came around a tight corner on the highway as we winded our way closer and closer. I pointed like the true tourist that I am and we tried taking lame pictures with our cell phone cameras, fumbling and cursing inside when a passengers large head blocked our view.

When you take the Megabus, or any kind of transportation for that matter, it’s the way you come up on New York that’s so amazing. Because there is an element of utter surprise. Traffic increases and the speed slows, so you can look at the urban city around you. And you can see New York-it’s’ right there! You see that, right outside our window! But it seems mildly distant and looks smaller than normal. Your mind convinces you it’s because you’ve seen it before and maybe you’re just getting acclimated to it. It’s still beautiful. It still mystifies you…

And then, at a sharp turn in the highway, New York POPS. As we passed an amazing baseball field right over the highway, New York reached out and grabbed every fiber of my attention. To our left, it spread out like a three dimensional celebration. When I try and describe it, all I can think about is magic…taking my breath away…right there is everything. The world closes out from around you and like a giant mote, the Hudson wraps around the pulse of America.

New York simply captivates you, takes you in its hands and makes you feel its excitement, hope and opportunity with every tip of your body. I gazed at the scene in front of me. There is nothing in the world more magical than coming up into New York. Not even standing inside its streets is as fantastic. It’s the approach…the getting there…the arrival…that blows my mind.

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Categories: Read

Author:bechaffee

University of Saint Thomas graduate. Minnesota-bred and happy to talk about the weather any time you’d like! Strongly believes any situation can be bettered by a slice of generously buttered toast or Phil Dunphy. Would get arrested to touch Justin Timberlake’s face. Always trying to be a better person by not wishing horrible karma on people driving slow in the fast lane. Hear more: @twitter @instagram

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