Never did I imagine my oldest daughter would want to tour colleges in New York City. She is only a sophomore in high school, but she is already dreaming about life in the big city. I can’t say that I blame her. I too am dreaming of moving to the city, but I’m talking Boston. Boston is exactly where I imagined Julia would end up for college. Just forty-five minutes from home and she’d get the benefit of a beautiful, busy city. But not so far that I couldn’t be there in the blink of an eye if she needed me. Perfect, right?
Colleges in New York City
Apparently, not so perfect for her. Over April break, we agreed to take Julia to her dream place, Manhattan, to tour a few of the colleges in New York City. I’m not going to lie, I had a devious plan all worked out in my mind. The end result of which would be her hating New York City. I imagined subtly pointing out the heaps of garbage on the streets, the stinky smell that hung in the air from said garbage and that strange stench wafting up from the subway. I assumed the horribly congested sidewalks would frustrate her and the outrageously overpriced everything would make her think twice about the fantasy of NYC she’d concocted in her mind. The real NYC isn’t like what you see on television, I told her.
I was sure that once there, she’d be turned off from college life in Manhattan. But she wasn’t – not even a little.
We spent just a few days in NYC, one of which was completely rainy, and had a wonderful time. The city was indeed electric and energizing.
Columbia and New York University (NYU)
We made it to two of our intended college destinations. We shot high and started with Columbia and NYU.
Julia fell in love with NYU. It happened to be accepted student day on the day we made our way through Washington Square Park and into the heart of the NYU campus. The area was abuzz with lively college students.
I can only say that the experience was lovely and not nearly as overwhelming as I imagined it to be. While NYU did not have a traditional campus feel like Columbia, it was very contained and felt connected.
We spoke to several NYU students who were friendly and the entire area had a great college vibe. The scene was youthful, exciting and a pleasure to partake. Our stroll down Bleecker St. sealed the deal for Julia. The eclectic and collegey mix of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and boutiques were cool even by my seemingly uncool standards, accordingly to my girls.
I couldn’t deny that I could see Julia living in Greenwich Village and fitting perfectly into the NYU scene.
Yes to New York City
Our quick trip to NYC was eye-opening and made me realize that colleges in New York City aren’t quite as scary and intimidating as I imagined they’d be. For Julia’s sake, I’m glad we took this trip and we both came away with a good feeling about the possibilities of NYC. I don’t want to hold her back, but if she chooses to make her NYC dream a reality, letting her go will be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.