The day I went to New York
28th October 2006
I remember trotting through the organised chaos of an early morning Manchester airport, clumsily and carelessly dragging my luminous pink suitcase behind me, with only hope and anticipation for the wonders that the next week could behold. Because I, a 10 year old from the increasingly lifeless and mundane town of Stockport, was soon to be travelling to the most magnificent and awe-inspiring place on the entire planet: New York City. A stark comparison at the time, but it seemed like much more of a home to me than Stockport did even before I'd arrived there.
I can't recall exactly where or when my longing to visit New York began, maybe because the city has always been imprinted on my mind. Countless images of the same skyline, the same buildings and the same statue had been flooding into my subconscious since the day I was born through everything from adverts to fridge magnets. How could I ever have ignored an invitation so bold and alluring? Once I had decided that my life couldn't possibly be complete until I'd seen the skyline, the buildings and the statue first hand, I certainly wasn't prepared to back down! (Luckily this approach paid off after several months of perpetual begging and pleading).
After the apprehensive and seemingly endless wait at the airport, we eventually boarded the colossal jumbo jet. It stretched out proudly and boldly in front of me, embellished with the instantly familiar red, white and blue of the star spangled banner. As soon as I was comfortably in my seat it became clear to me that I wasn't a typical traveler of the 6:00 A.M. flight to the city of Newark, New Jersey. Instead of a stiff and spotless business suit, I was dressed in an outworn, outlived purple tracksuit. Rather than slicking my hair back immaculately, I wore it in a pair of urgently rushed and lopsided pigtails. Also, my garish suitcase bore no resemblance whatsoever to the somber, black briefcases that most of the other passengers seemed to carry. These differences became even more apparent when the plane first floated down through the clusters of clouds, directly above New York City, giving an aerial view equal in glory to that of a high definition photograph found in a travel brochure. Of course upon seeing this, I began to leap with excitement and scream hysterically. Judging by their facial expressions, this wasn't something that the usual passengers were accustomed to seeing.
When I first stepped off the plane it felt more like the depths of December rather than late October, the previous weather of chilly camping and caravan holidays was nothing compared to the icy autumn gusts of Mid-Atlantic America. In addition to that, the marvelous skyscrapers that I was itching to lay eyes on again were nowhere to be seen. As we made our way through the airport building on the way to get a taxi to our hotel, I was feeling rather disgruntled about this and no doubt was begrudgingly yanking my bags behind me. This was at least until we turned a corner in the corridor, and out of nowhere, there it was again. That same skyline, standing out like a silhouette against the plain whitewashed walls and the crystal blue sky, but this time it was in even more beauty and detail than I'd ever seen it before.
It was in this moment that it truly became clear to me why I loved, and still love, New York so much. It was definitely worth the wait and I know that I'll cherish the memories of that day forever.