Trip puts Varsity News staffers in Empire State of mind

Emily Jones, Johnathan Zhu, Deej Oster and Phylisha Drayton represented The Varsity News at a national college media conference.


BY EMILY JONES / VN columnist

Spring break brought me a wonderful opportunity to experience many new things.

I felt as if I were in an entirely different country.

In reality, I was only a couple states away.

Along with a few other Varsity News students and a professor, I flew to New York City and stayed most of a week to attend a college media conference in Times Square.

The night before, I could not sleep. My tendency to pack at the last minute totally did not influence my lack of sleep.

That morning was my first flight ever on a plane, and I absolutely loved every second of it.

Staring out the window for the full duration of our flight (almost two hours), I ended up with a sore neck – and a happy heart.

We arrived in the afternoon.

The rest of the day consisted of professor Tom Stanton giving Phylisha Drayton and me a little tour around Times Sqaure.

He also noted a couple points of interest, so we grabbed food at a local joint.

Wednesday morning, we got out of the hotel late, struggling to make it to the first conference session.

After receiving some knowledge from some of the best in the business, we headed out to the restaurant from the famous scene in “When Harry Met Sally” (you know the one). 

The food was alright but nothing to get excited over.

That night a terrible winter storm hit NYC.

My friends and I thought we could brave the sleet outside to try to take the subway for the first time.

We were too confident in ourselves.

We ended up eating crow and calling an Uber and soaking the driver’s whole car because we walked for a couple blocks in the terrible weather.

Thursday was where things really started to pick up.

After attending even more great panels, we set out to eat at a Mexican restaurant.

Jonathan Zhu, Phylisha and I hit up Midtown Comics afterwards to scope out the merch. (Deej Oster was doing his own thing.) Needless to say, my wallet was sore afterwards.

That night we were sent out to Bushwick, a section of Brooklyn, to see “The Brobot Johnson Experience,” a crazy and interactive multimedia performance.

Friday was game day.

After more of the conference, we saw many famous sites, including Central Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Grand Central Terminal had the same feel as New York Public Library, both being magnificent structures and packed full of marveling tourists who were annoying the locals.

We also walked past Trump Tower and gaped at the insane amount of security outside.

That night we did our own thing separately.

I went to Kodoma Sushi and had the best calamari I’ve ever eaten, and then wound up at an arcade for a couple hours.

On Saturday, determined to see more of the “famous sites,” Phylisha and I headed out for a good nine hours on the town.

We checked out an exhibit at the MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art) about Club 57, a 1970s music and art space.

Afterwards, we had issues finding the subway until a kind local pointed it out to us.

We hightailed it downtown to see the sparkling new One World Trade Center.

Right next to the center was the 9/11 memorial, a sight that took my breath away. I truly felt the grief that resided within that area.

We then went to see Lady Liberty.

She’s kind of stuck in the middle on an island so we had to take a boat out to see her, but it was fun.

The best view of the trip was the Brooklyn Bridge, hands down.

All my aching joints didn’t matter anymore when I saw all the lights of the city bouncing off the huge body of water, the East River, in front of me. We didn’t want to leave but knew we must.

By subway, we headed back uptown into Manhattan to see the Empire State and Flatiron buildings.

Everything was just so massive down there.

We ended the night sore and “hangry” at a local burger place.

I had the best burger my taste buds have had the pleasure of experiencing thus far.

Phylisha and I returned to the hotel exhausted and happy.

The next morning, after a plane ride, we got to rest at home.

Overall, going to NYC has been one of the best experiences of my life.

Every day I was there I felt the collective energy of the people and the city buzzing around me.

I carried back that feeling on the flight home.