Empire State of Mind


Oh the infamous lively and restive New York. Every time I walked down the streets of Manhattan, I smelled the urine, the garbage, the sewage and heat from the subway tunnels. I heard the cars, the horns, the yelling and hustlers trying to make a living. At first, I was overwhelmed by the busy, clamorous city, but after my fourth time visiting, I got to know NY for the beautiful city she is.

One night, my family and I were walking down a street in lower Manhattan and it was surprisingly quiet. For once, I could think without a sound breaking a train of thought. All I could see were garbage bags on top of garbage bags lined on the curb for the garbage pick-up the next day. I couldn’t help but think “this is why it smells so bad! What do people put in there?!” And then it kind of hit me that this is what makes New York, New York. The smells, the sounds, the sights, the people. And then I started to think that New York, like any other place or person, has it’s own personality. She has flaws yet she’s beautiful because of them. Yeah she’s lined with trash bags and smells like it but everyone carries their own garbage they have to deal with, even if everyone can see it.

As individuals we only see parts of people they choose to show us. And if we may think we know everything about a person, we may not fully understand all of who they are. This was my perspective of NY at first. I only saw a part of her from afar from one perspective, trying to understand her and why she smelled like rubbish and why she sounded chaotic. Even now, no matter how much analysis, interpretation, discussion I’ve had attempting to answer those questions, I still don’t fully understand and there won’t be a time that I do. And that’s just how it is sometimes.


I paid fifty cents to look through the tower viewer to have a better view. Again, it was from one place looking at only the southern part of Manhattan. This made me think that if you have a better view or more in-depth perspective on a place or person, you may see those hidden gems that make these questions subside. Like the Lady of Liberty herself.

Photo taken by my mom on the Empire State Building in Manhattan, NY
Photo taken with my iPhone 5C through the tower viewer lens

I learned a lot on this trip even though it was for a short time. The more I blog about my adventures, I’m more motivated to go on more and write about them. All these ideas bloom in my head for my future posts and now that I’ve started school again, I’m excited to share them in my classes. I’ll see you guys next time:)

A Hui Hou ❤


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