Monday, June 10, 2013

A Place to Breathe

As I emerged from the subway on the corner of 57th Street and 7th Avenue, I turned to my right. A patch of trees is all I saw at the end of the street less than two blocks away. There was no question, I had reached Central Park.

On my third day in New York City, I discovered there is not an easier landmark to find than the 843 acre park in the center of Manhattan. I am not sure if it was the bike cabs, the flood of people heading in one direction, or, the obvious––the green––but Central Park was impossible to miss.

A group of friends enjoy a Sunday afternoon in NYC's Central Park.

My editor said it, the hotel bartender said it, and now I am saying it––Central Park is a must-see. I am a Midwest girl who grew up surrounded by a grove of trees on one side of my house and open farm fields on the rest. Not being able to see a single tree out my 14th floor window was a little disconcerting. The tall concrete buildings of the city seemed to trap and suffocate me, but in Central Park I can breath.

The last thing my younger brother said to me before I left for the summer was, "Make sure you take a deep breath before you get on the plane, once you get to New York you won't be able to breathe."

Well Collin, I made it through my first two weeks in your "smog" city, including my first week in the research department at Real Simple. Being here, in New York City, surrounded by the best in the business is intimidating, but even more than that––inspiring. 

As I sit in Central Park and write this post, I can’t help but think about home and how grateful I am for those who prepared me for this summer. 

Models Kristin Canning, Em Maier, and Katie Macdonald, pose in front of the NYC skyline in Central Park.

Here are the lessons I have learned from my few trips to Central Park:

1. If you are going to fork out the $100 for a carriage ride, make sure the driver speaks your language.

2. Bring a blanket and a friend. Central Park is the perfect place to sit and chat with your new pal.

3. Find a spot where you can people watch. There are all types of people living and visiting New York. Absorb it all.

By Leah De Graaf, Iowa State University, Real Simple
Edited By Stefan Malmsten, Ohio University, Money

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