When you think of a dirty scummy city with unthinkable crimes and prostitution, what city comes to mind?
Many perceive New York City as that place. People feel the Manhattan borough is a place for bums to live and prostitution to thrive, but on a visit this past April, I found just the opposite.
The opportunity to travel to the east coast over spring break presented itself and I went to Connecticut, New York and Maine. The Big Apple was nothing like I pictured it. I believed it was a horrible place to live, with scum and filth on every corner, a place where people are scared to walk down the street. That is not how the city is at all. I am more frightened to walk to my own apartment at night. However, what people will find on every corner is a McDonald’s restaurant.
New York is a wonderful place. I had the time of my life. The lights and people make the city come alive. There is so much to do and see, however, it is impossible to do it all in two weeks.
There is the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Union Square, Greenwich Village, Central Park, Wall Street, and my favorite, the Empire State Building. Besides these tourist monuments there is the feeling the big city gives you. It is much different than Los Angeles. L.A. is so spread out, that it just does not give that big city atmosphere.
New York City is the mecca for live theater in the United States. Broadway is an amazing place to be. With all the lights and famous people, it is a tremendous experience.
The buildings are an amazing work of art. If you try to imagine how they were built you will get a headache. The World Trade Center is unbelievably tall. It is not realized it until someone gets close to it and look up. The Empire State Building is the most awesome place to be. One can see the entire island of Manhattan and the rivers that surround it. In Los Angeles a person is lucky to see the Hollywood sign from any building if the smog does not block the view.
There are also sculptures on the old buildings with beautiful detail and artistic design. The cathedral is the prettiest building I have ever seen. Sightseers are in complete awe from the moment they enter. Whether they believe in God or not, it is a religious experience.
As far as the dirt and garbage I expected to see, it was minimal. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has done a great job cleaning up the city. Not just garbage, but the prostitution and strip bars have almost disappeared. I only saw one prostitute the entire time. Liquor stores were not in high volume either. You cannot say that for the City of Angels, where one can find a liquor store on just about every corner.
The food is absolutely the best. You have never had a real pizza until you have had a New York style pizza. It must be the cheese. The desserts are out of this world. If you have never tried a cannoli before, you need to. The Italian food is wonderful. It is homemade and the bread is tremendous.
True, there are the extremes in living conditions, from the very rich to the very poor. And, yes, the subways do have a rotten stench, but the excitement of the city is overwhelming and the good outweighs the bad.
Manhattan has received a bad name unfairly, and if you get the opportunity to travel to the big city you will see just what I mean. We must not base our views on what others have said. Go and see for yourself. It is a wonderful place to live and one should experience the enjoyment it brings.
Alicia Gibson, a senior communications major, is assistant news editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.