What was meant as an exploratory trip to New York City to gather information about what it is really like to live there (a goal I have in mind for this coming year of 2015), turned into a romp across this great state that would provide me with a slew of wonderful memories. Upon arrival on Friday morning December 12th, I took the train from JFK to Brooklyn where I stayed with a woman from airbnb in her spacious Bushwick apartment. From my first day traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan I was in awe of the sheer size of the city. Of course as is typical for visiting tourists on the first day I got completely lost and started wandering towards the financial district with no knowledge of my whereabouts. After running a few errands and doing some light shopping once I found my bearings I returned home eager for the next new day. Day two I got lost once again on my way into Manhattan because of a closed train-line, but once I managed to manouver my way onto the island I had a fantastic day. I traipsed through Bergdorf Goodmans for a bit, but the real treat of the day was a brisk walk through Central Park that was one of the highlights of my trip. Filled with hills and secret hideaways such as the towering Belvedere Castle, Central Park looked lush and alive even in the dying glow of winter and I fell in love with its grandiose size. Over the next few days I enjoyed shopping at Saks, Diesel, and Urban Outfitters, ate at some the tastiest little restaurants that Brooklyn and Soho had to offer, and generally fell in love with the city. On day number four I decided that I wanted to visit one of the many famous art museums in New York, and after I read that they were featuring an entire exhibit on Matisse’s late work I chose to go to the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA provides an experience unlike any other with its vast collections of some of the most famous paintings and sculptures of the Modern Era. Works by some of my favorite painters such as “Starry Night” and “The Olive Trees” by Vincent van Gogh as well as “Water Lillies” by Claude Monet took my breathe away upon seeing them in real life for the first time. Other works by Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein as well as the large collection of Matisse’s paper cut-outs all impressed themselves in my mind and made the visit one of the most pleasureable experiences I have ever had in a museum. Union Park however, was one place that definitely stands out in my mind as being one the best places to meander in. At the suggestion of my airbnb host Amanda I decided to check out the pop-up Union Square Holiday Market that runs only during the holiday months and houses some very unique small businesses. From wooden puppets to loads of different jewelry and even some organic food stalls mingled throughout, the holiday market was a cute and bustling adventure that I went back to several times throughout my week-long stay. Also in the general area of the Holiday Market was a four story Barnes & Noble as well as the amazing little bookstore called The Strand Bookstore both of which I frequented multiple times throughout my stay as well. As a final farewell to the beautiful city that I hope to call home very soon, I visited the ultimate tourist attraction, the Empire State Building. Normally I am not one for tourist attractions having grown up in the near vicinity of Disney World and all of the theme parks in Orlando, but the views from atop the 82nd floor were well worth the price of admission and the battles with crowds. So at the end of my wonderful and enlightening trip I bid you goodbye for now New York, and I will definitely be seeing you again very soon!