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As I stated in my first post, before heading off to my exchange university – North Carolina State University, I went to New York. On New Year’s Day I boarded the plane from London Gatwick, not knowing what to expect from the USA – especially New York, but still feeling excited. The best thing about a late flight was as the plane was landing all I could see were bright lights. Flashy lights… I guess I should not have been surprised as New York is the city that never sleeps!

After an 8 hour flight, my tiredness outweighed the excitement that I was previously feeling. Following the tedious process of waiting for my luggage, going through immigration and a 30 minute taxi ride to my hotel in Manhattan (Pod 51 which was fairly decent and reasonably priced – ), once in bed I was able to appreciate the events of the day, comprehending that I was finally in the USA.

Another student from the University of Manchester going to NCSU also decided to spend a couple of days in New York, so I was not alone (we stayed at the same hotel). I was thankful to have a familiar face around (who could read a map much better than me)!

Since London is 5 hours ahead, my first night was not the best but my hunger to see New York had me up at 7am. As I walked out of the hotel, the first thing I noticed was how big everything - buildings and streets – was compared to London or the UK in general. Our first (planned) stop was Central Park. However, we took directions that allowed us to go through 5th Avenue. I was thrilled by all the shops. I, of course had to go into MAC Cosmetics and get a few necessities.

After lots of window shopping on 5th Avenue, we headed to Central Park. It was amazing! Seeing it allowed me comprehend how massive the park is – I did so much walking but did not even manage to see half of it. From Central Park, we then went to the Natural History Museum, which is the largest museum I have ever seen in my life. We then navigated our way to Juilliard School. It was so strange to be at a place that I always associated to movies such as Step Up.

The most memorable parts of the day was going to the Empire State Building and Times Square. We waited 1 hour and 30 minutes to go up to the 92nd floor of the Empire State Building - it was long, but once we got to the top, it was like a dream. I could see all of New York – Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan and The Statue of Liberty. I honestly felt as though I was in a movie.
One thing that I did not expect was the cold. It was freezing! However, I had waited 1 hour and 30 minutes… Nothing was going to ruin the experience!

Prior to my trip to New York, I was advised to visit Time Square when it was dark "as that is when you get the best views and pictures". Of course my sister was right! All the lights in Times Square made it seems as if it was still daylight.Time Square is a must see – the scale and magnificence of it cannot be explained!

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