Empire State Building

Part 3: What Happened on Top of The Empire State Building

New York

September 23, 2014

I’ve had an incredible two days and my legs are feeling the result of the incredibleness. I must have walked pretty much all over New York by this point. I’m proud of my little feet! I’m the girl walking down the street with her ponytail bouncing with every step. There’s a smile on my face and a bow in my hair. Never before have I felt so brave and full of life. Alicia Keys was right, these streets really do make you feel brand new.

I just came back from Cinderella on Broadway and I literally left the theatre and did a little dance as I walked to the subway. I couldn’t help it. Do you ever feel so happy you just have to express your joy? That’s what happened to me.

Cinderella is not as powerful or touching as The Phantom of the Opera or Les Mis. It certainly doesn’t give you chills like Elphaba does in Wicked when she belts out those high notes.  The music doesn’t touch the deeper fibres of your heart or carry that same emotional intensity, but it does have a magic of its own. That is to say, it makes you want to fall in love. It dares you to dream of the impossible. It inspires you to believe in magic. In short, it sweeps you off your feet as gracefully as Prince Topher sweeps Cinderella off hers.

It made me excited for my own prince, it really did. I think I’m ready to fall in love now, I’d like to fall in love. Maybe not forever. But at least till Christmas. 

In any case, Cinderella was enchanting and I like enchanting things. 

That gets me thinking…this whole adventure has been enchanting. I wake up every morning ready to conquer the world. People look at my curiously when they see me. I must look pretty strange, craning my neck to see EVERYTHING. You know all those times people called me brave? Well, I finally feel it!

One afternoon, I sat in Bryant Park (one of my favourite places in the city) and I joined the people on the grass who were sitting, relaxing, reading, eating, talking.  We made such a pretty picture and I was happy to be part of it. My legs (my sore, tired legs) were propped up on a chair with my book on my lap. The sun was shining down on me. I could see the Chrysler building in the background and hear the taxi cabs behind me. That was happiness. 

I decided to treat myself and I bought a cupcake from the famous Magnolia Bakery. A whopping $3.25!! Not sure it was worth it but at least I can say that I tried it. Then I went to Times Square. While everyone was snapping pictures and taking selfies, there was me, standing very still, watching the opera. They were live broadcasting The Marriage of Figaro because it was the Met Opera’s opening night. I was quite enjoying myself when a weird guy started talking to me.  I guess he saw me standing alone and thought I’d be easy prey. I’m not alone to get “space from a boyfriend,” as he suggested. I’m alone because I want to be! That being said, I like wandering alone but I do think it’s nice to have someone to share in your experiences.  

On Wednesday, I biked Central Park with Pascal and Cassie. It was a beautiful feeling, to be cruising through the trees with the wind blowing through my hair. I think in that moment, I was completely and utterly happy. Cassie was quite slow – I guess she is not used to biking – but it was still a wonderful experience.  

When we walked to the rental place to get our bikes, there were all these “secret service” people about and cars that said US Government. OBAMA? Possibly – he is in town. That’s the reason I couldn’t go to the UN. I found this out from a fat policeman named Chan.  He was quite friendly, although he was very shocked to hear that I was alone. Anyway, Chan has mountie friends in Burnaby and he told me all about Metrotown. He also told me to go visit the Empire State Building except he pointed to the Chrysler building. I felt bad correcting him.

I’ve also done the highline twice now and I plan to do it again. Yesterday I did it with Georg, the German I met at the hotel, and today I did it with Pascal, a Swiss I met here. With Georg, I also explored West Village, Soho, Little Italy and Chinatown. I liked him – he was really sweet. So was Pascal. It’s nice talking to strangers and turning them into friends. It’s quite a beautiful thing, when you think about it.

I have to say, I loved West Village. It’s so quaint and reminds of me Europe with its cobblestone pavements and brick buildings. We went to Bleeker street and St. Christopher’s Circle and Washington State Park and then we sat at the Law Courts. I even saw the house where Oscar Wilde lived. It was wonderful to explore this side of NY – the side that isn’t bright and loud like Times Square.

I also explored the NY Public Library with George but the main reading room was closed -poo!  It was still such a beautiful library though. I think it would be fascinating to study or read there. I love old buildings, as you probably know. Just think of the millions of feet that have crossed those floors. I wonder what Astor would have to say about it now.

After the library, Georg left me and I went to hang out at Rockerfeller for Top of the Rock.  I was a bit anxious because it was clouding over a little and I desperately wanted a sunset. In some despair, I was comparing the grey sky to the vibrant, pink sky on the pamphlet when I noticed a boy standing near me. He was wearing a toque and holding a nice camera. He was smiling a lot – not at me in particular, just in general.  

“I wish the view was like this,” I said, holding out my pamphlet. 

The boy looks at me, then at the pamphlet, and laughs. 

“It’s not so bad,” he replies in an accent.  

“Yes, but it’s not right,” I argue.  “Imagine how nice it would be with a sunset.” 

I tell him the sun is supposed to set at 6:19pm.

“So wait around till then,” he says.

I tell him I was planning on it. 

Then he jokingly suggests that we put the pamphlet behind my head and pretend that’s what the sky looked like. I don’t know how exactly it happened but we kept talking…for over an hour. He asked me what I was doing in NY and I said I wanted an adventure. When I explained the lull between school and work, he asked me what I studied.

“Business – marketing,”  I tell him.

“Smart girl,” he says approvingly.

Our conversation flowed so naturally, I honestly can’t explain it. He told me to guess where he was from and I couldn’t tell if he was English or Australian. I guessed wrong.

He was traveling with his family – his mom, sister and his stepdad.  His sister is supposedly “not the sharpest tool in the shed.” He wasn’t sure if we had that saying in Canada. I told him of course I knew what it meant and that it’s in the Shrek song. He laughed at my mention of Shrek. Then he teased me because I don’t know how Australia looks on a map and he drew it on his camera lense for me. He said that if he had a superpower he would want to fly. I told him I wanted to apparate but he never read Harry Potter, so I told him it was like teleporting.

I thought he was hilarious. And for some reason, he thought I was funny too.

There was an instant connection between us – I think we both felt it. At one point, he said “Do you mind if I take a photo of you? So I can remember you?” 

I said sure but we couldn’t find a spot so we ended up taking a selfie instead.

Suddenly, his family tells him it’s time to go and this is where my memory goes hazy. He said bye and I said bye and then he sort of jumped around so that he’d get my mouth and kissed me. I awkwardly repeated my goodbye and then he was gone and I stood there looking at the view with a stupid smile on my face. I was in such a state of shock and yet…so happy. HE KISSED ME. Not a long make-out kiss – I didn’t even kiss back – but he kissed me! I can still feel his lips touch my cheek/lip area. It left me in such a trance. To be kissed on top of the rock by a good-looking Australian boy I had basically just met? It was like a scene out of a movie. I’ve never had an instant connection like that with someone before. Never before have I spoken so naturally or at ease with a stranger. It’s proof that lovely things DO happen to me. I’ll never forget it.

After that, I went to Lincoln Center and sat by the fountain thinking about what had just happened. The security guard came over and started talking to me. He had a thick New York accent.  He said I was an attractive young woman but I didn’t like him. He made fun of gay people, seemed arrogant, and swore a lot. The only good thing about him was that when a man was giving away free tickets for the last act of the ballet, he got them for me. The other person who got the ticket was a guy named Dylan with beautiful, angelic blonde hair. Surprisingly, he was also Canadian: born in Calgary, raised in Toronto, and now working in NYC as a make-up artist.  (He has even met Keira Knightly – how cool!)

Anyway, I GOT TO SEE THE NEW YORK BALLET. It was so lovely and graceful and beautiful. I didn’t really understand the story line (was there even one?) but it still moved me. That’s, I suppose, the power of art.  You don’t necessarily understand it but it can still touch something inside of you and take you to another place.

The ballet ended quite late but I wasn’t even that scared to train home. I never would have done it on my first night but I wasn’t that scared girl anymore. Anyway, never in a million years would I have thought such a thing would happen to me. But I suppose that’s part of the NY magic: it’s full of surprises.

To be continued…

Check out the New York Series: Part 1: My First Solo Travel: New York and Part 2: Dreaming in Central Park.

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