Life changing. Those are the two words that come to mind when I think of New York City now. I have been looking forward to this trip since the moment my dad brought it up nonchalantly in a conversation over dinner. Being in the Big Apple gave me chills, adrenaline and instant excitement. Like so many hopefuls, I want to make this city my home someday.
I won't sugarcoat it, the five-and-a-half hour flight from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey on New Year's Eve was arduous and exhausting. We sat in front of a crying baby (a flight essential) and weren't served anything beyond a complimentary snack and drink. But my anticipation and enthusiasm overshadowed all of that as soon as we touched down on the East Coast. After arriving at the Newark airport, we took the NJ Transit to Penn Station in New York
(Photo courtesy of my Dad's Instagram)
I'm not one to be superstitious or believe "everything happens for a reason," but sometimes there are coincidences you just can't ignore (especially when they affirm you in a positive way). When I emerged from Penn Station, the first things I saw were my favorite number and my passion in the form of street signs. It was a cool moment, one that I knew would mark the beginning of a great vacation.
Before braving the elements to watch the ball drop in Times Square, we dined at an adorable Italian restaurant called Restivo Ristorante. The hole-in-the-wall restaurant was located in the Chelsea neighborhood. For New Year's Eve, the ristorante was filled with balloons, ribbon, leftover poinsettias and twinkling lights. The servers were all Italian (I would assume family members) and greeted us with loud charisma. I ate a fantastic fettucine alfredo con pollo. The dish was literally the best Italian food I'd ever tasted, besides my Sicilian grandpa's meatballs. The restaurant was dotted with regulars who heaped on the friendliness. One older lady urged us to try the lobster bisque and wished us a blessed new year before leaving.
After dinner, we maneuvered through the massive (and I mean by the millions) crowd to find the New York Police Department (NYPD) barricading streets extending outside of Times Square. At around six-thirty pm, the NYPD had already began turning people away from getting any closer to the famous NYE ball. My dad got us through the multiple layers of barricades by showing our Marriott hotel key card to the NYPD guarding the closed off streets. The only way to get close to Times Square was by showing a hotel key card for a building in that area or showing your tickets for the festivities going on that night. We didn't have tickets so we could only get so close. The beautiful Waterford crystal NYE ball is surprisingly small, the television cameras give the ball a larger than life size.
On the way to our vista, we passed by my dad's work and (even more coincidentally) where I eventually want to work. Four Times Square is the address of the Condé Nast Building, which is VOGUE's North American headquarters. My dad works at the Accenture office near Times Square. We also passed the Macy's flagship store on 34th Street which still had it's holiday window displays up.
In an effort to get even closer to the NYE ball, we lost our already obscured viewing position and ended up watching it from even farther away (which meant bad pictures). Still, I rang in the new year in the heart of New York, and there was nowhere else I would have rather been (except maybe in spitting distance of Miley Cyrus who performed that night).