Today I asked the impossible: a moment of peace and quiet in New York City. These past few days have been a hectic rush to experience everything that the city has to offer. My feet ache as if I have walked a greater distance in a span of seven days than I have in my entire life. Every night I flop down onto my bed and immediately fall into a deep slumber. I am pass the point of exhaustion. Having dealt with suffocating crowds, ridiculously long lines, and a dash of infantile drama, I greeted the free day with a sigh of relief. As much as I wanted to explore the city further and see everything that I could, my body and mind needed a brief repose.
Finding sanctuary proved to be more difficult than I imagined. Originally I had planned to wake up early and drink coffee in the park, but after waking up late and scrambling outside just fresh from a shower I discovered to my dismay a huge festival underway. The streets were packed with families visiting the World Science Festival. Children squealed with joy as volunteers demonstrated the merits of science, and food truck vendors cried out their wares in hopes to draw in hungry parents. I managed to squeeze my way through the throngs of people and buy some coffee, but finding a quiet place in the park to sit was clearly not going to happen.
My next attempt at finding a quiet place to relax was an excursion to Central Park. In spirit with my visitor naiveté I thought a trip to Central Park would be a mellow experience in comparison to the other trips we have taken in the past few days, but I was sorely mistaken. The park was as crowded as any other place I have seen in New York City. With the beautifully clear weather and the date happening to be Sunday, it should have been obvious to me that the park would be busy. Call it ignorance or wishful thinking, but my dreams of a peaceful trip to the park were immediately dashed upon walking through the main gates. I managed to still have a good time exploring the park. We ended up going to the Central Park Zoo and while I didn’t get my peace and quiet I did get to see a multitude of animals. Watching the sea lions jump and swirl in the water brought a smile to my face and momentarily eased the tiredness that seemed to cling to my bones. For a moment I thought I reached my goal but even that hope was ruined after a rather ridiculous argument broke out between me and another classmate.
I decided to leave the group to their merriment in the park and made the long trek back to the dorms. While riding the subway back to Washington Square Park I came to the realization that the one thing I truly wanted was to be alone. Every now and then I desire solitude, a break from social interaction in order to gather my thoughts. So with that revelation in mind I left the subway, bought a sandwich and a coke, and ate my dinner in the park. It was still busy in the park but not nearly as much as it was in the morning. The atmosphere was calmer and I was able to enjoy my meal while the sky slowly darkened from a brilliant blue to a more subtle shade of gold. While it wasn’t exactly what I wanted, this solitary meal was the closet thing I experienced to sanctuary and that will have to do for now.