After one last burst of tests for the month, it’s finally spring break. Which is weird, because I can’t believe how far the semester has come; it feels like it just started. I’m back in New Jersey now for the week, but I’ve ended up going to New York City three times in the last three days. On Monday, I went with friends back home to this abandoned train station turned park (it ended up being closed, so we went to a friend’s apartment for dinner and then went home). On Tuesday, I met up with my roommate Ajay and some other friends from Hopkins at the city for the day. And today, I’m headed to Mt. Sinai Hospital to meet with a neurosurgeon I plan on shadowing this summer.
But enough about me; let’s talk about what I did yesterday.
Around noon, I got off the train at NY Penn station, and met up with Ajay, who was staying with his older sister who lives in the city. We wandered around a couple blocks before catching my friend Sarah as she got off the bus from Virginia. She was dressed in all green since it was St. Patricks day, but I had totally forgotten until I had gotten on the train earlier that morning. Ajay had too, clearly. We headed for breakfast, where Ajay got green bagels. I’m not sure what they did to make them green. He seems to be doing fine a day later, though.
From there, we got wind via Snapchat that Navya and Anjie, who were staying in Long Island for the week, just left our friend Roshni’s house. So it might be a while till they get here. So we decided to wander.
We decided to head towards Central Park, as you do. Plus, we would be able to walk down 5th Ave, which is the best motivation to pay attention at Hopkins and do well in the future. But as we got closer and closer to the park, the people started getting greener and greener. Eventually, way before we could reach the park, we hit the parade. It hadn’t started yet in the area, so we brushed past the giddy high schoolers with tubas, dignified old men in kilts and bagpipes, and opportunistic halal vendors until we finally hit the start of the entire parade. It was like the eye of the storm. The world was still, the peace was real, and the chaos surrounding turned beautiful.
We may not have been able to window shop down 5th or climb on the glacier-kissed rocks of Central Park, but the parade was a nice surprise.
Afterwards, the other two got to the city, and we decided to meet in Soho. We took a subway over and were instantly drawn towards the sample sales and hip cafes peppered across cobblestone streets. While waiting for them to run into us, Sarah Ajay and I did this thing where we decided to walk into ridiculously expensive stores and act extremely wealthy, as if we were legitimate customers. It worked well at Louis Vuitton and Tiffanies, where we asked the right questions at the right times so that the salespeople got all excited and helpful. Is this a recognized hobby? It should be a hobby.
We finally met up with them on one of the cobblestone streets after hours of phone tag. Anjie declared that there were free pancakes at IHOP, and everyone decided we should move in that direction regardless of my protests to stay here. On the way, we stopped by the Chobani bar, where they sold all these incredible yogurt creations. I’d heard of it before, and it was crazy that we just ran into it. I instagrammed away.
Many moons later, we arrive at the little red flag on Anjie’s iPhone map to find that the IHOP is now closed, reduced to a bare white building that still clung onto the fading signature blue stripe. We walked down some streets, ducking into cluttered bookstores and cool eateries. Navya and Anjie found a street vendor selling huge containers full of pickles…and they bought a whole thing of them. (fast forward 15 minutes later when they were all done).
Some of the peeps got falafels, but falafels are gross so I watched. I got truffle fries that they claim are “the best in New York City” according to some magazine they parade around the store. They were legit though. Afterwards, we crossed the street and got chai from an Indian place. Yes.
It was nice to see all of these guys outside of AMR II, outside of Homewood, and outside of Baltimore. It brought a sense of realness that’s usually kept at a distance by the miles and miles that separate campus from my actual home. I realized that these weren’t just friends by circumstance, or class peers. They were real friends, ones I realized then I would be hanging out with for years and years to come. And suddenly, Hopkins felt a lot closer to home.