Travelogue on New York City

by Hannah Namgoong

This travelogue records my experience being in New York City, New York, in July of 2016. In this travelogue, I discuss my journey to the city and how during my trip to New York City, many of the misconceptions and stereotypes that I believed in proved to not be true. It is common that people have preconceived ideas about unfamiliar people and places. These, in turn, can lead to harmful or false ideas about people and places. By going to a place and seeing the people there, I was able to reject my misconceptions and stereotypes. After visiting the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, Times Square, and the 9/11 Memorial, I was able to see and experience New York City in a way that would change my view of the city.

Key Words: Travelogue, New York City, Art History, Marco Polo

Also known as the Big Apple, New York City in New York was a foreign place that I had never visited before. I heard stories and saw photos of it, but I had not personally experienced the city; therefore, I had all sorts of ideas about how it would feel and how the people would act. From movies, like Annie and Set It Up, and media, I conceived this idea that the city would be busy and run-down and that the people would be rude and loud. This all changed, however, when my family and I went on a road trip there in July of 2016. After a tiring 14-hour long journey from our suburban hometown, Marietta, Georgia, to New York City, my family and I had finally arrived.

When we reached our destination, we walked around the city, gazing upon the glamorous buildings, the ornate exteriors of museums, and the restaurants lining the streets. Looking around, the people resembled those from back home and no one appeared to be ill-mannered, as I imagined people in New York City would be. I soon began to realize that my assumptions were actually not true. Later that day, we decided to participate in a tour of the Empire State Building. Standing just outside, I felt like a mere ant gazing upon the 1250–1454-foot building. While looking up the towering structure, the only thought that filled my head was how incredible this moment was; I had never felt that way when looking at the buildings back at home. We took an elevator to the top and though I had a preconceived idea that the city was cramped, dark and dirty, the view from above all the buildings was mesmerizing and made me immediately forget my previous sentiment. I will forever remember that moment, as I have never experienced anything like it before in Marietta.

Afterward, we visited Grand Central Station and I was able to see people run around and go about their day, which initially verified one of my beliefs that New Yorkers are always busy. However, this was soon invalidated when we passed Bryant Park and I saw so many people reading, having picnics, and simply enjoying their day. The following day, we traveled to Times Square, which is commonly known to be the central hub of tourists. To my surprise, most of the people there seemed to be locals selling photos with childhood cartoons and characters from different movies and television shows, which I had never seen before and thought was somewhat strange. Later in our trip, we visited the 9/11 Memorial, where many go to remember those who were lost that tragic day. As I stood and paid my respects with the other people, both New Yorkers and tourists, I felt a sense of unity and a connection with everyone there. Through all of these new experiences, I believe I was able to obtain a more authentic view of New York City and its people.

After three days, our trip sadly came to an end. As we drove back home, I reflected on what I saw and experienced in a city that I had never explored before. Despite being on opposite ends of the east coast, I noticed that Marietta and New York City had many similarities within their communities, which disproved my initial thoughts about the city. What I knew about New York City was based on stereotypes and the opinions of others; I now know I should make my own judgments with my personal experiences instead of making assumptions. New York City has become a place I remember as remarkable and full of amazing things—a place I hope to visit again soon in the future. 

Photo taken by the author.