For many people the world over, New York City holds special meaning. For others it’s shrouded in both mystery and possibility.
Personally, I never had the opportunity to visit NYC until my Sophomore year at Ole Miss; the year after 9/11.
It was dumb luck how this trip went down.
My undergraduate major was international affairs, and as such there were many folks in my classes that were members of Model United Nations. Never the one to join all the organizations, I had never given it a second thought, until a friend of mine told me that the National Model United Nations conference would cost $300 for the flight and a week in the Times Square Hilton.
It no longer mattered that I had never been interested in Model UN. I was headed to New York City.
The Times Square Hilton on the Avenue of the Americas is a wonderful base of operations for a first visit to Manhattan.
We flew up a couple days early to have time to explore before the conference began. We also filled two suitcases full of cheap liquor for the hotel room.
We explored the island as much as we could, fueled up by cheap booze and naivete.
We visited Battery Park, we touched the bull on Wall Street. We took the Staten Island ferry and visited the Statue of Liberty. We got black-out drunk at places like McSorley’s and snapped pictures in Times Square at both its busiest and most desolate times.
We visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral at dawn. We met the “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell” guy doing cocaine off a bathroom counter at a bar. We ate street food and learned that chicken souvlaki with red and white sauce is nourishment of the Gods.
We traipsed through Grand Central Station and meandered through Central Park. We got lost at the Met for an entire day.
Oh yeah there was a conference to go to as well. (to be continued…)