It was pleasing to be able to finally be able to sleep at a fortunate time. I was able to pull off almost six hours of sleep last night so waking up at 8 AM this time was no problem at all for me.
We left the hotel around 9:15 AM and headed to 30th Street Station to make our way to New York. Despite a small sense of fatigue, we were all excited for the beginning of our new adventure towards experiencing the college life.
We ate breakfast in a small coffee shop located within the station and then proceeded towards our train. As a consequence of arriving early, our cohort was able to sit together instead of having to be usually spread out. During our train ride, my Amtrak buddy was Izabel. It was during this ride, that she asked me the most peculiar question a sixteen year old male can be asked, "Can I pluck your eyebrows?". After some reluctance, I agreed. As painful as this experience was, it shows how close of a cohort we've all started to become.
By noon, we took our first quick bite of the Big Apple. Once we arose from the subtle darkness of the train station, my first impression of New York was that it was "San Francisco on steroids". The city's environment is intense. Everyone has somewhere to be in a certain amount of time, making everything so fast paced. In addition to the fast paced atmosphere, the ''arousing'' smell of cigarettes, pollution, street food, and moistened cement runs rampant through the city. Surprisingly, the weather was pretty darn cold with darkly grey clouds that looked guilty of rain.
|The Madison Square Garden|
After such a delightful lunch, we decided to burn off the calories by walking towards Central Park. Besides the green grass and refreshing light mist, street performers were ubiquitous. The first set of street performers we came across were called the "Afro-Batics". The Afro-Batics are a group of African American men who do subtle stunts that include jumping over each other with the addition of slightly racially charged humor. Although I found the Afro-Batics to be hilarious, I found that they promised too much in terms of performances and used their humor as a way to stall time and leak money out of the audience. The next few performances we saw were a female opera singer and her son who was dressed in a Darth Vader costume while playing open string chords on his guitar. The duo was interesting and little Vader had been adorable with his "singing".
|Little Darth Vader jamming out.|
|The Bethesda Terrace|
Times Square is filled with many different types of personalities. There was a wide mix of street peddlers, tourists, law enforcement, businessmen, and a few mischievous thieves. One short ordeal occurred between myself and a young man who tried offering me his "free" CD. Thanks to Don's little speech of the realities of NYC on departure day, I remembered not to touch the CD since this individual would most likely aggressively attempt to make me buy it anyway. Thanks for the safety tip Don!
Anyway, we ended our walk to Times Square with a visit to the Hershey Store and to H&M. After some window shopping and walking we decided to call it a day and get back to the hotel via subway.
We arrived back at the hotel around 5 PM exhausted and dying for a place to lie down. Once in our rooms we were overjoyed with our presence, we decided to go out for dinner. We ate at a rather small Japanese restaurant and got to know a little bit more about each other.
Tomorrow it's off to a new wondrous adventure. An adventure that's going to be filled with learning and maturing mentally. What is this adventure called? It's called Columbia University.