I peared through the smudged windows, craning my neck to see the skyline tucked below the plane as we descended into JFK. The sky was gray with bright sun rays poking through the clouds. I was sitting on the wrong side so I didn't see much, but I still had goosebumps with the excitement, visualizing the skyscrapers below, the bustling city that I had always dreamed of visiting, and now I actually was.
My boss told me "Your going to New York" and I didn't blink an eye. It would be the first city on a trip of whirlwind meetings, and I got to go along. There were a couple other colleagues going as well. I hadn't flown by myself before and wanted to try to go with someone else, however, they were going out later in the day and knowing that I only had two nights in the city I didn't want miss out on any time to explore. I took the first flight out of SFO on that Sunday which brought me in to JFK around 3:00.
I was nervous with anticipation as I got into the Town Car I had arranged with the car service. The entire trip from the airport to the city, I was nervously peering out the windows, at all the other drivers racing past us. My driver talked angrily on the phone but I didn't care. I only cared about seeing that skyline I had been waiting my whole life to see.
We came around the bend. There it was. Gleaming before me next to the bright Fall Sky. It almost took the breath right out of me. I will never forget it.
My hotel was right next to the W and Waldorf Astoria. I immediately checked in and barely was in my room 5 minutes before I went back downstairs and out on to the street. Having no direction or even a map. Just my purse.
It was blustery cold. The first weekend in November. It was the day of the New York Marathon. Runners were all over the place as they finished up, the dispersed out on to the streets in Midtown. I went to a cafe where I ordered a sandwich and coffee. I sat by myself and watched the people walk by on the streets. I set back out. I actually looked like I belonged there. Wearing some great jeans, brown heeled boots and a dark green tweed pea coat with a ribbon belt.
I dug my hands into my pockets and pressed ahead. The wind kicked my hair in all directions. It was getting dark, but people were all around. I had no idea where I was headed but have never felt safer.
I noticed some bright lights ahead. It was Rockefeller Center. I picked up my strut and raced ahead. I took my camera out and in my moment of excitement took a couple of pictures of the Radio City Music Hall/ 30 Rock Sign. That moment, I will never forget. It was a moment of independence. No one knew me. I was alone in the big city, all by myself. I felt such adrenalin. Such excitement, I can still feel it to this day, and every other time I go to my city, my love, New York. I was only 24. And I felt like I had the world ahead of me.
I didn't have much time so I headed back to the hotel where I was to meet with my boss and some executives who came in early. We were going to dinner to Nobu in TriBeCa. At dinner we noshed on the best Japanese food I had ever had and drank bottle after bottle of the finest Sonoma Cabs and Burgundy Pinot Noirs. At one point at dinner I noticed Claire Danes eating with a friend. And a couple seats over, George Lucas and his girlfriend.
We met up for drinks a the bar at the W the next night. We were amongst "Suits" of Wall Street. The waitresses were straight off the runway. We drank champagne and enjoyed the sights.
The next day we were off to Chicago. I bid farewell to the city that I knew I would get a chance to meet someday. Vowing, I would be back soon. And I did, barely six months later I was back for a week for more business.
It has been a year and a half since my last trip. I want to go back. I need to go back. This time with the Hubbs. He needs to see how the city makes you feel. The city that has the greatest energy. The city that makes you feel at home.