American movies have always been a big deal in Europe. I remember growing up with movies starring Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and other famous American actors. I got quite familiar with the American culture early in life. As a kid, I particularly loved the action movies that were often set in the middle of Manhattan, and I knew from that age on that going to New York City one day was definitely on my bucket list. Knowing that NYC is only a 6 hour drive from Rochester, I had one more reason to be really excited about the semester here.
My friends and I planned on going to NYC over Spring Break, as it appeared to be the only time during the semester when we had a whole week off. We booked round trip bus tickets and an apartment in Brooklyn for 6 days through Airbnb a few weeks before the trip. You can choose between a variety of apartments online not only in Manhattan but in other boroughs too. We took a fantastic loft apartment located in west Brooklyn about a 20 minute train ride to Midtown Manhattan. Along with the apartment, we had access to the rooftop of the building!
Everyday we did the essential sightseeing tours throughout the day and would go out and meet new people in the evenings. I managed to see all the famous buildings and monuments that I have seen in so many movies, and I got to learn firsthand about the unique culture that characterizes NYC and makes it one of a kind.
For me, as a business student, one of the most memorable days in NYC was probably walking around the notorious Wall Street, seeing the meaningful Charging Bull and approaching people who work in that industry (I annoyed some bankers with a lot of questions, but luckily they were laid-back enough to take some minutes and share their thoughts on Wall Street with me), and later that day going to an ‘elevator pitch’ event and having an insight into the New York Start-Up scene.
Everybody knows someone in New York City. I too have some friends that live there and was able to spend some time with them while visiting the city. I went to the Bronx with some Albanian friends from RIT, visited the Statue of Liberty and I even went out with two friends from Germany that are currently living in NYC. What are the chances of bumping into a former colleague from Cologne, Germany in a club in Manhattan? Yes, this really happened to me!
If I had to summarize my NYC experience, a quote from “The Great Gatsby” would capture it best: “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” As somebody who was raised in a small town in Germany, I can tell you that everyone knows everyone in that place. Accordingly, everyone knows what you do and who you hang out with. New York City has its own world with people from all nations, cultures and classes. It is a big astonishing city with huge intimidating buildings on one hand, and small individuals like you and me living their individual lives. In NYC, you can be whoever you want and do anything you want to do without anybody bothering you. You should definitely go to NYC to join the large party!