My first time in New York City was absolutely amazing and terrifying, yet freeing at the same time. I flew from KC to DC to NYC. Flying into New York City at night was the best decision I've made in a long time. The city looked so magical, so many lights. I left Kansas City determined to come back with clarity about my future and less fear. They say if you can make it in New York City you can make it anywhere, so this was my test.
I stayed with a friend in Brooklyn, but spent most of my trip in Manhattan. Oh yeah, check out my interview with my gracious host Vanne McMillan here. Day one was life-changing. I was blessed to attend the KLS Spring/Summer Collection Show and rub shoulders with fashion elite. You can read more about the KLS Show here. Once the show ended I grabbed lunch then came back to assist with a KLS website photo shoot. Guys... the photo shoot was magical, so many hands on deck to create beautiful images to ultimately sell product. I've missed fashion since leaving college, so the fashion show and photo shoot were a really nice refresher.
Once the photo shoot ended, I ventured around Manhattan looking at the shops, staring at everyone's street style and admiring the rich culture that makes up NYC. Fast forward a couple of train rides, trip to Grand Central Station, a lot of walking and I'm back in Brooklyn to get some rest, but not before stopping to enjoy jerk chicken over cabbage from a Jamaican restaurant. So good!
The next day, I was super busy and feeling less like a tourist. Overnight I felt like I could conquer NYC. Honestly, I don't know what I thought, but I knew I wanted to see what NYC was all about and this was my big shot. After a few train rides, I was finally back in Manhattan to grab coffee with my girl, Miranda. I hadn't seen her since Emily's wedding. We all graduated from Mizzou with the same degree and live in different cities, so it was really great to catch up. We sat in the cutest coffee shop talking about our lives, goals and regrets. Once we said our goodbyes it was time to hop back on the train and head into Manhattan to shop.
Let's just say I'm pretty much obsessed with that place.
I legit went crazy shopping in Zara. I ended up purchasing 2 pairs of metallic shoes and 2 basic t-shirts. Everyday my style changes, but I know basics are essential. I made sure to try on a dress, top, pants, jeans and shoes so I could gage what size to buy when online shopping from Zara. Let's just say I'm pretty much obsessed with that place. Next I headed to the World Trade Center Memorial. It was a site to behold and full of tourists. The sun was shining so bright and everyone seemed to slow down the usual NYC pace in honor of the lives lost during 9/11.
Next I walked around aimlessly for a hot dog, got lost and my phone almost died. Ha NYC wasn't the easiest place to conquer, but I refused to quit. So how did I rest? On the stairs of some big building eating a polish sausage with a group of construction workers. I even spilled some oil on my pants in the process. Sitting eating that polish sausage is one of the memories I cherish the most about my first time in NYC because I had time to reflect. The pace of NYC made it difficult to reflect, but when I finally sat down I felt so much peace and joy even with so much craziness around me.
I ended day two at the Brooklyn Museum of Art with a kale caesar salad and vegan ice cream cone.
Do you ever take the time out to just reflect on the amazing things going on around you? Within you?
By day 3 I was missing home, something serious. My feet were swollen and my body was tired, but I had never felt more alive. I started the morning off walking through Brooklyn with my camera to capture the art of the city. There was so much graffiti, culture and richness to behold. There was also a huge sadness when I got to see gentrification first hand... One day, I'd like to discuss this more, but for now I just want us to acknowledge that it's real.
I spent most of day three with my girl Shelby. We went to brunch at the cutest place in BK, then shopping at a couple of vintage shops before heading to Soho then Brooklyn. My favorite part of day 3 was literally just laughing and talking with Shelby like we'd been friends for years. This was our first time actually meeting in-person, but we've been e-friends for awhile now. Thank you Twitter! LOL. Once shopping was over it was time to eat and sip a little bit. We met Cheyla, another e-friend, for dinner in a patio style restaurant in a Manhattan hotel. Talk about magical, three beautiful black women with budding careers having rich conversation with a lot of laughter and knowledge being shared between us. This dinner changed the course of my life. They will never know how much they inspired me to be better and to challenge myself. We are #blackgirlmagic in real-life!
The night ended in Times Square. By then, it was freezing and we all just wanted to go to bed. I had an early flight home to catch and they both worked the entire week, so they were beat. Times Square was just as beautiful as it looks on TV but so much bigger.
My first time in New York City was everything and more.
That's all folks! My first time in New York City was everything and more. I will be back to the city to visit next year. I came home more aware of my strength. This Midwestern, mannered and sometimes timid girl conquered NYC which was my biggest fear in life. Why? I don't know. I have no idea why I was so afraid to venture to NYC, but I thank God for this trip because it awoke parts of me that I didn't know existed.
Fear isn't real. Don't let it control you. I promise you'll be better once you attempt to overcome mental blocks.
Follow me on instagram @thejasminediane! Peace.