Op-Ed: Reflecting on the City That Never Sleeps

Story and photos by Jacob Factor, Features Editor

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It’s the kind of place that, when you get there, even if only for a few days, you feel like you’re a part of something big. Like no matter what you’re doing or how you got there, it’s worth it.

It’s a strange juxtaposition, though, having this feeling in a city where you’re only one of millions, especially if you’re completely alone for the duration of your trip like I was.

I went to New York for the College Media Association’s annual New York City journalism conference, but that was only one of the reasons my trip was so worth it.

I’ll go chronologically, starting with what happened before the trip.

OBU journalism students, along with the Bison advisor, Professor Holly Easttom, go to this conference every year, and our budget pays for Professor Easttom and two students to go.

This year, the rule was upperclassmen had to be asked if they wanted to go first, and, of course, two students were going to say yes.

So, I had no hopes of going to New York City. I was fine with that, more or less.

A few days after the two students had been confirmed, I got an email from a travel newsletter I’m subscribed to saying there were roundtrip nonstop flights from Dallas to New York for 200 dollars.

What?!! Was this fate telling me I was des-tined to go on this trip?

That’s what I told my-self, and my parents.

I had been saving money for a new camera, and I had about 500 dollars when I saw this. When I told my parents about the cheap flights (they were American Airlines, by the way, so I have no idea why they were so cheap.) I also told them I would pay for everything.

I started looking for hotels that were 300 dollars or less.

I know what you’re thinking… a hotel for that price in New York City would probably have to be pretty sketchy. But I found one that looked decent for 270 dollars and I went for it.

Now, a little info, the Northeast United States gets these storms called Nor’easters that can get pretty crazy. There’s snow, rain, fog and everything in between.

And the week we were supposed to go to New York, there was one. A big one.

Long story short. (A VERY long story), the plane of the other people in my group got canceled, but my flight, ever so luckily, was the only flight from the Charlotte Airport (I flew from Dallas to Charlotte. Yes I drove to Dallas) that didn’t get canceled. It just got delayed, for many, many reasons, for seven hours.

When I finally got to my hotel, at 2 a.m. I might add, I was a bit scared to say the least. I was in a humongous city I’d never been to all by myself.

The rest of the week was not scary at all, it was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

New York City, like I mentioned, is like no other place in the world. It’s the center of the biggest industries; media, fashion, art just to name a few. Because of this, there are so many kinds of people spread throughout the five boroughs, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and The Bronx. Just like people, every borough is unique.

Manhattan is the busiest, and it has most of the tourist attractions: Times Square, Central Park, The Empire State Building, The World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial.

That last one, the 9/11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, is a surreal sight.

In 2001 the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were the target of a terrorist attack which leveled the buildings.

Clemente Lisi, a professor of Journalism at The King’s College in New York City and an attendee of the CMA conference, worked for the New York Post when the twin towers fell, and covered the tragedy.

“I can still remember the crunch of the steel beams as the tower fell,” he said with tears.

I’ve never heard a first-person account of 9/11 in person before. This shook me (not in the cultural “I’m shook” way). I teared up.

Hearing his story and talking to him more about his experience made 9/11 so much more real to me. This experience, and all of New York City, changed me. The magic of the Times Square lights at night. The sophistication of Upper West Side. The history of the Met Museum.

There is one thing I regret, though. I forgot to go to the Empire State Building

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