What to know about a trip to the Big Apple


A German, a Finnish and two Irish go to New York, yes it does sound like the beginning of a joke but I kid you not, this is a true story. In general, students of Western Carolina seem to go to class, eat, sleep, maybe party and then do it all over again. International students like myself have a different perspective on student life and want to make the most of what they can. Being in America is a huge for many non-Americans and to actually be here, driving on the different side of the road, eating a lot of fast food and shopping at Wal-Mart are ‘cool’ things.
One month ago, the decision was made, flights booked and hostel reviewed tirelessly. Let’s explore New York City. Five days, what could we do? What couldn’t we do? Money money money.
One tip I will give you on going to New York City is to check out where you’re going to stay. The Internet can and will lie. Review review review. Getting off the plane in Newark (obviously flying into there because it’s cheaper, hint hint) we rode trains, buses and then the infamous subway. O’ the dirt, the smell, the filth but oh so convenient. We used this method of transport all the time; it was only $2.00 a ride.
 As four students, planning wasn’t really a high priority but when you’re only in NYC for five days you have to plan. We grabbed the free maps and began to navigate. What I didn’t know was what we had ahead of us, bright lights, cameras, high buildings and Yellow taxis. It’s not just the movies, it’s all real. Broadway at night, magnificent. A must do when visiting New York is going to a Broadway show. We were lucky in that The Lion King was on the night we went. $86 per ticket the women said, I nearly cried but knew that it would be worth every cents. What I didn’t know is that it was going to be the best thing I had ever experienced in my life. The colors, the costumes, the vocals, the acting, it was unbelievable! After The Lion King, it was time for a drink so why not choose the most expensive bar in New York City naive students! $16 for a cocktail but again, so worth it. As you read you will realize I spent a lot of money but as everyone says, “Its New York City I don’t care”.
Canal Street at night was extremely sketchy. Every second word is “Chanel”, “Gucci” or “Rolex”. Every man is holding a black bag of “goodies”. Even other cultures who don’t speak English, there second word is “Rolex, Rolex”. Within every large city however you get places like this.
Next on the agenda was the sightseeing; the Empire state building with absolutely no lines to get in and cheap during the week, perfect. You must choose a beautiful day however, if you get one, because that makes the difference. Has anyone ever seen an elevator buttons with L-67 and then 67-87. There’s no point in stopping at any floor other than the 67thNew York says.
Honesty is the best policy and the Statue of Liberty was probably not even worth the $12. Yes, it is the infamous Statue of Liberty—expressing freedom and in all the famous movies yet the statue is just a kind of ugly greenish-blue color with a crown on its head. It wasn’t fun but the boat ride out was. Again honesty is the best policy.
Shopping was obviously a must in New York, with so much to choose from and so little time, we ‘tourists’ bought everything. It was so cheap! Boots for $20, dresses for $10, I was in heaven. I got a major surprise however when walking down Broadway Street. The store ‘Topshop’ was there; I did cry a little, I will admit that much. This is a huge store in Ireland where I get all my clothes, moving to Cullowhee, however, there was no “Topshop” to be seen.
Commenting on the night life, where to start? Greenwich Village and Times Square are the places to be a night, any night. Going for a ride in a trolley/cart, meeting famous people and enjoying free drinks was one of the best nights of my life.
Yes this piece sounds as if I live in New York City and not that I just visited for five days yet reviews always help, especially when booking a hotel!
It was surreal, a learning journey, magnificent sites and Broadway. Seeing this as an 18 year old girl coming from small-town Ireland, I nearly died! (that is a joke of course)
            As Western students this semester, we have been blessed with many holiday breaks and as an exchange student or foreigner as some might say, I try to make the most out of them, you should too.