Everyone thinks New York is where all dreams come true; The American Dream; the city that never sleeps. All of which may be true, but it doesn’t come that easy. Dreams can come true, but you have to work hard to get there. New York isn’t exactly what the movies portray it to be. People from all over the world come to New York for a better life, for what they believe the American Dream is, but do get disappointed after experiencing what it truly is.
I was born and raised in New York, but my parents weren’t. They came from Guyana, moving here to the city believing it to be where their dreams will come true. When they first came here to the country, it was hard for them to find a job. They thought it would have been easy, but unfortunately it wasn’t. They eventually got where they wanted to be and worked really hard to get there. At first they did miss their country, but they grew to love New York; it was their new home. Going back to their country to visit wasn’t the same anymore. They couldn’t imagine themselves ever going back to live there again.
I’ve always lived in Queens. I rarely went to Brooklyn or Manhattan, the actual city of New York until I started college. Going to Brooklyn or Manhattan meant traveling in a train or a bus if you didn’t have a car. Even getting around in queens meant taking the bus. It terrified me; traveling with complete strangers, getting lost. Even though I am from New York, it didn’t feel like it. I felt like a tourist. Every time a tourist would ask me for directions I always say I’m not sure.
When I was little, I was terrified of public transportation. I never understood how people used to do it as their daily routine. I’ve always been driven everywhere with a car. I always remembered my first time in a train; I was about 8 years old traveling to Brooklyn with my aunt. I thought the train smelled bad and was extremely dirty. There was writing everywhere. Everyone around us was strangers. The cart keep moving fast and we were all shifting. I couldn’t wait to get off the train.
I guess I am different from any other New Yorker. If you ask an average New Yorker how they feel about public transportation, their response probably wouldn’t be like mine. They might think it’s a silly question because it was ordinary, but to me it wasn’t.
Now that I’ve started college, I feel like I’m an expert of the A train line. I now memorize all the stops from Queens to Jay Street, Brooklyn. Further into the city, I don’t. Traveling daily made me overcome my fear with public transportation. Now I feel more like a New Yorker.
Now, I go to Manhattan to shop or go to parties/ bars. I take the train as well. I do feel more confident, but at the same time afraid. Manhattan is indeed the city that never sleeps. It’s chaotic. There’s always traffic with people and cars; people bumping into each other, homeless people on every 2 blocks begging for money, smugglers trying to rob you, solicitors trying to sell you stolen accessories, people dancing or singing for money, and etc. The buildings are quite tall and jumbled together. To me, there is no space to breathe.
New York is known for its skyscrapers, the empire state building, Time Square, the statue of Liberty, and the twin towers. For my whole life of living in New York, I’ve never been to the Empire state building or the statue of liberty. I do plan to one day; it really is a shame.
I love my New York. I still don’t love the public transportation or the weird people you find on them, but I’ve overcame my fear with it. I can travel just about anywhere by myself. I am more confident and I am proud to feel that way. I still am afraid of getting robbed, and of the weird people on the train, and the homeless people, but I’m used to it now. “New York is MY New York”.