I’ve always dreamt of going to New York… probably because of the idea that “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere”. I actually set myself a goal to make it to The Big Apple before I turn a certain age (let’s just say it was a round number) but I hadn’t made any kind of real and tangible plans to go, even with said round number approaching closer and closer to me.
When I joined BJSS last year, I learned there was a small chance I could land on a New York project. I quickly announced my wishes: “New York? Me, me, me, me, pick me, pick me!”
Guess what? They picked me!!
I’m the type of person that won’t sleep until there’s nothing left to do. So on the very evening I arrived, and after settling into my apartment about an hour away from Penn Station, I decided to hit the streets of Manhattan. “Dress in layers and cover your faces,” we were warned. “The sunlight doesn’t reach the ground and it gets cold!” I didn’t feel the cold that first day, maybe because I was too excited to be there.
We went on top of the world and looked down from The Rockefeller Center by day and Empire State Building by night, both views very impressive and both made me feel like I could jump and not hit the ground.
Looking up from street level in Manhattan is also amazing. It’s true: you don’t get to see the sun much, but hey, who needs it when you’re in the middle of sky scrapers of different shapes and interesting architecture.
Next, the Statue of Liberty. Did you know, if you want to go all the way to the top, you have to book tickets six weeks in advance? I didn’t. So the extent of my welcome from Lady Liberty was to the pedestal, next to her feet. Impressive even so:
A couple of weekends later, several BJSS colleagues and I decided to take a road trip to Washington DC via Atlantic City. That weekend we crossed seven state lines across America’s mighty Interstate and passed by lots of shiny diners. This was Americana at its best.
Atlantic City was as you’d imagine it to be – brash, full of sounds and lights, and jam packed full of gamblers testing their luck:
We arrived in Washington later that evening. It’s a city where many of the buildings are white – not just the White House – and there’s a confidence that this is truly a place for important decisions to be made.
Back to my apartment in Long Island, I’ve been spending most weekends in New York City, trying to make the most of this once in a lifetime experience. There’s the nod to contemporary culture too. I’ve eaten pastrami at Katz Delicatessen, featured in the film “When Harry Met Sally “, and I saw THE table where Sally famously faked it. But the most heart sinking and emotional moment I had was when we saw the memorials for the two fallen towers. I will let the picture speak for itself but just to confirm, the sound of all that water constantly falling does make you weep along with it:
I mentioned I had a deadline to visit NY and I can say I made it. I turned that round age plus one while in the state of NY so, technically I was there before the contingency on my deadline ended!
And the way that happened was special too. Seeing that one of the reasons we were sent there was to get closer as a team, let me just say there is nothing more team building – if anyone needs ideas – than watching your intimates slowly spinning in a tumble dryer next to your colleagues – male-female mixture works best – while eating a cheap burger on your birthday! God bless America.
Monica is a Technical Tester based in the BJSS London and New York Offices.