As I walk out of the hotel in to the bright and beautiful New York sun, I immediately am filled with a sense of wonder for the day. With the gloom of the past two days, some warm and happy sun was fondly welcomed. We ride on the bus for what seems like a short period of time as our ride is filled with laughs, sing-a-longs and of course some wisecracks via Ahmed and John our tour guides. There has never been a point in my life where I have felt as connected with a group of people in such a short period of time. It seems as though we all accept the good and the bad and allow everyone to be their true and happy self. Whether it be from incredible outfits to hilarious comedy skits we always seem to be positive and encouraging.
Driving through the Upper West side Ahmed comes on the microphone and does his iconic “alright, alright, alright” greeting and the rest of the bus shouts it back to him with obvious enthusiasm for the day. He follows with telling us about the culinary “hot spots” on Columbia Avenue in the Upper West side. We hope off the bus to go explore these legends ourselves. Others head up to Shake Shack and some to Magnolia’s but a few of us trek to Vive la Crepe, a tiny little crepe shop that seems almost as big as a shoebox. While standing their a young fellow comes up to a few of us and asks in a true “American accent”, “Where y’all from?” of course with pride for our country we tell him Canada and to that he responds surprised and exasperated “Well y’all don’t look Canadian!” What follows is a fit of giggles and igloo jokes as we inform him of our pet polar bears and what we’re all “aboot”.
After lunch we walk up past the legendary Dakota Residence and fantasize about all of the famous people who have stepped foot in that building and of course pay of respects to the exact spot John Lennon was killed. On that note we walk into Central Park and visit Strawberry Fields (the memorial spot for John Lennon). We gather around and I hear the group whispering about how incredible it is that one man could do so much for the world. I ponder this thought and agree completely. His music has undoubtedly touched the lives of so many. We wander through central park taking off jackets and basking in the warm sun. Musicians play incredible music, people laugh, walk their dogs and enjoy the beautiful New York day. Truly, this was a moment of pure happiness.
Next on the checklist was the Museum of Modern Art, which is of course filled with modern art. Going into the museum with very low expectations I was absolutely amazed and judging by the faces of the rest of the students, they were too. From Pablo to Vincent, the MoMA elaborated on all funky and quirky art forms that allowed for much interpretation.
Thus we concluded our day tours and headed off to what seems to always be my favorite part of day, FOOD! We stuffed our faces full of incredibly soulful soul food from Jacob’s Soul Food Restaurant. It was a soulful experience.
Once again we headed back on the bus to reach “Amateur Night at The Apollo”. As we drive through the streets of Harlem I can’t help but feel amazed at the sense of community the borough holds. It was touching. Amateur Night started with a “pump up session” that consisted of SO MUCH DANCING and some incredibly funny jokes from the host. The actual talent aspect of the show displayed various amazing artists that I undoubtedly expect will be legends some day.
Another amazing day in the big apple, folks. The city seems to hold this power over us students that doesn’t allow for any negativity. Can’t wait to see what adventures tomorrow holds.