Many of my classmates came to Newhouse from areas relatively near to Syracuse: central NY, the suburbs of NYC, Pennsylvania, and even Syracuse itself. This being the case, many had already experienced New York City, a world class city and hub of media and culture. As a native Midwesterner, this was not an experience I’ve shared, and the opportunity to visit the New York offices of several global ad agencies several weeks ago was more than welcome. Having friends in New York City and traveling with others who’ve had plenty of experience with the city gave me some insights to share with other potential first-timers, who may only have a short time there:
Enjoy your first time in Times Square– Yes, much like Las Vegas, there is something to be said of the strangeness of standing in a public place in a city at 2 a.m. and feeling like it’s four in the afternoon. Everything is perfectly illuminated, the streets are teeming with people, all of the stores are open and welcoming shoppers, restaurants are hopping and billboards are blazing. You begin to truly understand why this is the city that never sleeps.
Knowing that, make sure to get out of Times Square –As a representative part of NYC, it’s important to understand that Times Square and midtown Manhattan are not the most interesting or wonderful parts of New York. Of course it’s difficult to take in everything over the course of several days, but I implore anyone to make sure to get off the island for at least a little while during their first trip. Particularly, if you’re considering NYC as a possible career destination. Know what else the city has to offer. The quaint restaurants in Astoria or the antique shops and boutiques of Brooklyn are where the fun is really to be had. No elbowing-away other tourists required. Even a few hours is better than no time at all. It’s an easy subway ride with a big pay off.
Find the New York three – You can assume what this means: pizza, bagels and cheesecake. The best pizza and bagels are best from unsuspecting, hole-in-the-wall places. And luckily, there’s no such thing as bad cheesecake.
Take advantage of what is uniquely New York –The marquees along Broadway really made me regret not planning ahead to catch a show during trip. I personally love theatre (of the musical and non-musical variety), but if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other choices. The Met, MoMA (which I also got to spend a few hours exploring), the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim — these museums house exhibits that you’ve read about in textbooks your whole life. Experience them for yourself. Seeing Van Gogh’s masterpiece in the flesh is different from your hipster friend’s Starry Night back tattoo, I promise.
There’s plenty I hope to see in future trips to New York. But I’m glad my inaugural visit included all of these elements. The beauty is that all of these (and probably more) can be done in a weekend. With a little planning, anything in the city is within your reach. Make the most of your time there, and always ask your NYC-savvy friends for tips on shopping and restaurants, lest you end up at Sbarro.