In Spring 2018, I had the opportunity to go to New York City with three professors and some other students from the Studio Art Department from College of Charleston. Let it be known that I have never traveled beyond Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida (Disney World in elementary school). Let it be known that I have also never been on a plane. Whole bunch of firsts happening.
Do things that scare you.
The concept of being in a flying metal machine for a few hours was scary, but the thing that helped ramp up my anxiety was going through security. When it came to the plane, I was like “My gosh, at least I can sit down now.” Having to dump all your junk into those bins in a timely manner, while also half stripping (because I’m dressed for New York cold) was enough to overstimulate me. On the way back to South Carolina, my chest actually set off the body scanner, so I had to be checked there. It’s not like it was traumatic because a woman did it, she explained why and where her hands were going. I should count myself lucky because my roommate set off a large portion of her body.
Back to the plane.
Getting off the ground was a surprisingly slow experience because everybody’s got to get situated, flight attendants check that the compartments are shut and people got their butts in their chairs, we disconnect from the tube, stroll around the field, and then we’re racing. Before we took off, my professor wanted to know if I needed to sit with her (in not a window seat). I said no because I wanted to kick my Anxiety disorder in the face. Not gonna lie, when we started racing, I grabbed the arms of my chair, but I stared out the window and watched us lift and tilt towards the sky. There’s nothing like looking at how the world is weaved together below you. Anything could have happened up in the sky, but that did not stop me and I think that’s where the true power is.
Y’all my mom is from Co-Ops city in the Bronx and I used to have dreams of Columbia and Julliard, so I was pumped to go there. We landed in LaGuardia in New Jersey and took the bus to get to the subway. I have only seen people traversing the city in the movies, so the hustle and near trampling speed took adjustment, but my professor said that I looked totally chill as we were running around the streets and subways, so maybe my mom’s powers were transferred to me. Yet, she actually hated the subway and I like it. I could do without the sweltering hot, packed in, rush hour episodes…and the two guys who were about to fight when one guy was mad at the world and the other guy thought he could be the hero. I understand that is just a Tuesday, but I’m a girl from the South, so I was a little scared for my life.😁 Still, it did not take away from my doe-eyed fascination as we explored Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
What I Learned! – Keep New York Remarkable
I was in New York as an art student, so I got to visit the MOMA, the MET, and the Whitney. Beyond art school stuff, I got to walk Times Square, walk through Central Park, and had lunch in Chinatown. From the canvas to the streets, the thing that fascinated me the most was the diversity. You don’t even need to walk half a block to hear an array of accents and languages (the MET had like at least 20 different brochures to accomodate languages), see an array of colors, and witness crazy talent. (There was a busker who killed Photograph and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran!) I got to see the work of titans like Starry Night by Van Gogh, but there was a lot more things I wouldn’t get to see in South Carolina, like the MET Native American art/artifacts exhibit, the African art/artifacts exhibit, the Middle Eastern art/artifacts exhibit, none of which I finished because they were so expansive. I saw so many colors and diversity in the artwork and in the people and as we move forward into a much more diverse America, we need to appreciate it and uplift that multi-faceted idea. I’m not gonna lie, returning to the South, was a wake up call, but with dangerous tilting finances, New York is way to close to becoming and staying a place of the poorest poor and the richest rich with no healthy range of in between. I’m just saying that I learned that we need to look out for each other and keep every different colored voice and creation in mind, from the past, in the present, and for the future. That is how we can keep New York remarkable and how we can keep the United States remarkable!