September is one of those transition months that floods my mind with memories of new beginnings. Since early August, I have enjoyed viewing the first day of school pictures. A friend’s daughter had her first day of kindergarten while my cousin’s oldest son is a senior in high school (yikes!!!). For me this September also marks my twenty years in New York. Yes, twenty years ago I moved into my dorm room and my adventure with the Big Apple began. Ironically, my dream to move to the city actually began eight years prior when my parents took us on a three-day getaway to New York City.
When I was 10 years old, my Mom deemed us all old enough to handle to a trip to New York City. Although I grew up only an hour from Boston, MA, the town I was raised in is very rural. There are many farms and if you are not accustomed to it you will wake up to the crow of the rooster. Yes, there is still one real traffic light till this day. At the age of 10, Boston was the only city I had seen and the idea of New York was very intriguing. The excitement within me built as the trip got closer with the eagerness to see a new city as well as experience my first Broadway show-Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.
Entering Penn Station for the first time my ten-year-old self knew I was discovering something very special.
Penn Station was much bigger than anything I had seen before and the energy from the hustle of commuters generated a sense of comfort within me. I still recall being in awe at the size of the Post Office while standing on Eighth Avenue waiting for a taxi. It was 100 times the size of our town’s post office and I thought the endless steps were magnificent. Over our three days in the city we toured all the sites- Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and more. I was captivated with the whole Broadway show experience. We dressed up in our Sunday best, ate a lovey meal, and the show was everything I could have imagined and more. When it was time to go home, I distinctly felt a pang of sadness and not wanting to leave.
Looking back on that moment, I realize something clicked inside of me and found the place that would open my eyes to new possibilities.
The first day of this trip I declared to my parents “I am to going to live here.” They thought I was joking. Come eight years later, they realized I was serious and my premonition came true.
Although I have been living here for many years, I still find that same excitement both in this city and when I visit other parts of the world. Like the first day of school there is always something new to discover. Many of the places we visited that first day are still part of my daily life. I worked in the Rockefeller Center area for almost a decade. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is where I go when I crave peace and solitude. Long walks in Central Park are always necessary. Whenever I walk behind Penn Station and see the old Post Office, I think of that 10-year-old girl and the dream that sprung within her at that moment. I give her a hug and remind her to keep on dreaming and reaching for the moon for you will always land among the stars.
Kristina Lucia xoxo