A few days ago I embarked on an exciting but also slightly terrifying journey as I took on the New York City subway by myself. I began the afternoon with a very confident and optimistic attitude. “I have my map, my phone, and my warm jacket. What else do I need to get around the city?” were my initial thougts as I seperated from the group towards the 456 line after our last meeting of the day. I was taking this solo trip because I really wanted to go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before we left New York, and this was the last day I would have the opportunity to do so. We had been there once before so I was familiar with which stop to get off at, and with this postiive frame of mind I boarded the train. Map in hand I sat down in an empty seat and double-checked my location on the pop out map of New York my grandma had given me. I was on my way! Each stop we arrived at only made me more optimistic because I could see I was at least going in the right direction. When my stop arrived, I exited the subway and popped out at a busy street corner. Checking my map once again I oriented myself with which street I was on and which one I needed to walk towards. Unsure of which direction was which at first, I decided to just commit to a direction and start walking. After going down one block (and checking my map again like the confused tourist I was), I realized that I had in fact chosen wrong. Unfazed, I turned around and started walking in the right direction. As I was walking down the street I felt confident and actually pretty excited that I was figuring this out on my own. I felt independent and capable for eventually succeeding at something I would have never thought possible at the beginning of the trip. After each block I double checked on the map and saw I was going the right way! I eventually hit 5th Avenue and promptly took a left, just like my map told me to. As I walked down the street (and after putting my map in my pocket) I wondered if anyone passing by thought I looked like a true New Yorker…I can dream I guess. After walking down the street a few blocks, I saw it! A gigantic, magnificent building that I knew to be the Met. I found it! With a big smile I walked up the stairs and entered the museum.
I am so happy that I went back that day because I saw some of the most beautiful art I had ever seen in the European Paintings section. I’m not a very artistic person, but I can definitely appreciate a good painting when I see one. There were seemingly thousands of paintings, and as I walked deeper into the exhibit it felt like it was neverending. For about an hour I did not see the same painting twice as I took left and right turns throughout the exhibit. I also looked at the Asian Art section and the American Wing, which housed the large painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware, among other pieces. I ended up staying for a little over two hours, and then decided to return to the hostel. Now I just had to find my way back. I went back to a subway station near the one I arrived at, and walked down the stairs. I looked at my map and saw that I would have to make two different connections to different lines to get to the hostel. I had done this many times in groups so I was not worried. For the first connection, I got off on the right stop! I couldn’t find the shuttle to Times Square that I needed, so I decided to take the 7 train instead, which I then discovered was running on a large delay. I ended up asking two police officers where I could find the shuttle, and after a few confusing jokes and laughter on their end, they eventually told me where to go. I then ended up finding the shuttle and transferring to the 123 that I needed to get home. Walking back to the hostel from the station was a relief, because I realized I had made it on my own! Even though there were a few bumps in the road, I felt very accomplished and proud of myself. Phew!