NEW York is known for its dazzling lights and mysterious wonders. The city that never sleeps deserves the name. It is a place I only knew through television shows and magazines, and in my dreams until recently.
My first impression of the Big Apple was my experience in the subway, filled with its own character. Hundreds of people swipe their cards and race past the metal bars to catch the trains. When the doors of the train closed, I was in another world.
Two boys, aged about 10, came on-board with a loud boom box. They break-danced, executing backflips in a cramped space.
I exited the subway and smelt something absolutely heavenly as I walked down the busy streets. I saw a stand selling halal food and ordered rice with lamb. After paying US$6 (RM18), I watched as the vendor swiftly cooked the meat on a grill and served it with piping hot yellow rice and a mix of sauces.
There are hundreds of food stands, a popular feature all over the city.
My next destination, Central Park, is too vast to cover on foot. Once again, it is like a different area altogether. Peace and serenity is in the air, in contrast to the hustle and bustle outside its gates.
I went to New York Library after my stroll in the park. A huge poster of Charles Dickens’ works caught my eye. The history behind A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist was explained in detail at the exhibition. It seemed ironical that I had to travel to New York to uncover the depths of a British writer.
As I wandered from street to street, I stumbled across a sign which said: Korea Way. The Korean fan in me decided to venture deeper. The area is filled with Korean businesses.
An attempt to find a place to have a meal was horrendous. Customers were lining up for a table at every restaurant. It was amusing to see a variety of diners eating kimchi with metal chopsticks.
As night began to fall, another side of New York emerged. Times Square lit up with its huge billboards, blinding me instantly. The brightly lit hub was buzzing with life. It was an experience that cannot be expressed in words.
Photographs and videos of Times Square can never match witnessing it yourself.
All these magnificent things are a mere glimpse of what New York has to offer.
I was blown away by the flips, tricks and skills of the talented boys in the train. My taste buds were thoroughly satisfied with the mouth-watering fare from the food stand. I was enchanted by the beauty and charm of Central Park. I was captivated by the power of Dickens’ literature. It was extraordinary to witness the culture of Korea in the middle of the city. The bright lights at 42nd Street — Times Square — were overwhelming.
All these come together in the heart of one city, New York.
The culture of New York, culture of the world.
This is the second of a four-part story. The third part will be published on March 24
The writer is studying at a high school in Ireland. She loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart