The trip to New York was amazing. I have shared several stories, and the linked blog tells a few more. This is my last blog post about the trip, and I’m eager to get back to my normal blog.
New York City is a truly amazing city. You hear about so much crime, so much corruption, so much dirt and grime, fumes, and taxis that try to kill pedestrians, but honestly, it’s a big city. It’s a city that, in a space of only 305 square miles (195,000 acres), houses more than 8.2 million people. That’s more people in one city than in the entire state of Oklahoma. In fact, it’s more than double the amount. So, crime is no worse than crime in Oklahoma. There is just double the population, in an area a fraction the size, so there is double the crime. But, the ratio is the same. People there aren’t the rude people that movies and social media suggests. Everything there just moves so fast, people don’t have time to stop and be nice, or stop and chat. You and them would get trampled and left behind. They really are nice people, they just don’t have time to show it. Granted, there are some pretty rude people, too. But, aren’t there rude people everywhere?
Now, about taxis trying to kill people. That is slightly exaggerated. They don’t try and kill people, but they don’t stop for jaywalkers. While walking the streets of New York, our warning was “The yellow ones don’t stop!” Everything in New York is fast paced, so if you cross the road slow, a taxi will probably hit you. The taxis are in a hurry, which means you should be too. New York city is just another big city, and honestly, I think it’s probably the nicest one I’ve been to (Compared to St. Louis, Louisville, Nashville, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Kansas City, or Austin. These are the only big cities I’ve been to).
Our mission to New York City was to bring a message of hope and change to incarcerated teens in detention centers along the way. We did exactly that, singing at a total of six detention centers on the way to and from New York. But our mission was also to sing the same message everywhere we went. We sang in restaurants, in churches (including the Brooklyn Tabernacle!), at our hotels, at Ground Zero Memorial, even on the top of the Empire State Building. Doing that, especially in New York, is an experience I will never forget, and look forward to doing for my next two years in the Youth Choir. We go sightseeing, and being able to proclaim the Gospel while being on a sort of vacation is truly incredible. I also made a lot of friends. I already knew everyone on the trip, but after thirteen days on a bus, you really get to know everyone on the trip a lot better. It made us more then just friends or acquaintances, it made us family.
New York, new friends (true friends, that is), new experiences, and a new perspective. That’s what this trip brought me. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.