I didn’t think I was going to travel anywhere for spring break, except back home. The last two weeks before break, my friend Sammi told me how much she wanted to leave Minnesota to go to an ocean and experience heat again. After this year’s long winter, I realized how nice it would be to get out of the area. I told her about my dad, who lives in Cozumel, Mexico. I also told her that because I have standby traveling benefits (since my mom is a flight attendant), I could try giving her a discount if she flew with me.
Standby is complicated, to say the least, and because there was only one flight out to Cozumel from Texas every day in the week where the airport was flooded most, our original plans didn’t work. I was sad, yet I was still in shock my mom even considered it—being my first time attempting to plan a trip and travel on my own. Thankfully, it wasn’t over.
Sammi had family who lived in the center of New York. Even though it wasn’t paradise, the last time I went to New York was for less than 24 hours, which were all spent at Times Square. I was incredibly thankful when Sammi’s family contacted her cousin, Judith Frost, and asked if we could visit at the last minute. About a day later, Sammi told me we could stay with her cousin if we were able to go.
Our travel day arrived, and Sammi and I got to the Minneapolis airport by 4:30 a.m. We scored seats on the first flight, luckily, and we didn’t have to wait all day!
To be completely honest, I would’ve been lost had Sammi not been around. She’s visited her cousin in New York already and knows her way around a little bit, which gave her confidence in knowing where to go. Even though I brought a New York-themed book that my mom gave me, which included a bunch of tourist attractions, many of the places Sammi and I went to were actually places her cousin recommended. Given the fact that she is a local, she knew where the best places were.
We spent our first day walking to Riverside and Central Park. The two parks were right by each other, and they took about 15 minutes to walk to from Judy’s house. In comparison to Minnesota, there was about a 20-degree difference in New York; the weather was predicted to be 40-55 degrees and sunny. We walked around and stopped at a food stand for hot dogs. We walked all the way down to the MET, or Metropolitan Museum of Art, and just sat on the long staircase in front. That moment was one of my favorites because we just sat, soaking up the only kind of sun we could receive while admiring life in the cities. So many people were on the staircase as well, and other locals would pass by the museum while taking their dogs on walks. We didn’t go inside the museum until another day because they closed nearly a half hour after we arrived.
The second day was a bit different. We went to the Strand, a giant bookstore with five floors full of books! It truly felt like a dream and I bought four books, some costing only a dollar and were previously used.
After The Strand, Sammi and I took the Subway down to Little Italy and Chinatown. We walked through Chinatown, but our goal was to get to Little Italy because we were craving pasta!
The pasta I had was from the kids menu, but it was still the same size as the regular plate, which was what Sammi had. We got back to her cousin’s apartment early and read our newly-purchased books for awhile.
I loved being in the big city: sitting next to Judy’s window with a cup of coffee in one hand, a book in the other, and listening to the street noises outside. Winona, Minnesota, doesn’t compare one bit.
That night, we went with Judy to the Manhattan Diner and ordered dessert. The place was super cute, reminding me of Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul.
For the third day, we headed back to the MET and went inside. It was Sammi’s favorite place to go to on this trip, and I loved seeing an artist paint live.
The last day was the best. I got to meet Sammi’s other cousin, Robbie, and his wife Danielle. Danielle is Venezuelan, and she made Sammi, Judy and I arepas, a special dish that reminded me of pancakes rolled into a sandwich and filled with bananas, kiwis and a chicken/avocado mix. It was incredibly yummy, and I need to have something like it again soon.
Sammi and I saw Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre in Broadway. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget. We sat at the second row and experienced the theatre’s magic. The props and dancing were phenomenal. I didn’t think there would be so much ballet, but there was. They even lifted the chandelier, which gave me goosebumps. The stage was beautiful, and the actors were brilliant! I kept laughing because Ben Crawford, Broadway’s Phantom, kept spitting when he was trying to fluctuate his diction. Nevertheless, it’s an experience I won’t ever forget. I still can’t fathom I saw it live, let alone with one of my close friends!
Finally, we got to wander around Times Square! We bought some things from the Disney Store, including notebooks and cute coffee mugs. We also went inside the Hershey store because Sammi wanted to know if they had a specific milkshake she’s purchased in the past. Unfortunately, they didn’t, but Olive Garden was right next door, so we had dinner there instead. After a long, yet fantastic day, we went back to Judy’s apartment.
I was sad for mainly two reasons: one being I was leaving to go back to the cities; the other was that I would no longer have the unlimited coffee supply I was fortunate to have during my stay with Sammi’s cousin—she was the best, honestly. I enjoyed our discussions during my trip, and I absolutely loved her personality. We gotta love a good Sagittarius!
The plane ride back also went perfect! We got on the first flight out again in the early morning—which, thank God, because I was not ready to wait 10 hours in the airport for another open flight. This trip was amazing and was just about perfect for the spring break vacation. I needed to get away, and I am so grateful for Sammi and her family.
I think someday I am going to move to New York. I don’t expect it to be right after college, but I see myself living in a city. I want a big future for myself, and I think I can picture it being in the Big Apple.
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