By Friday it was feeling as if I’d been in New York for months. I was recognising places and buildings, I’d visited the Times Square H&M more times than I’d visited the one in Telford and I was accustomed to the constant busyness that fills the city. I was loving New York and was desperate to fit as much into our last day as possible.
Our first stop was the New York Public Library where I tried to take as many artsy Tumblr pictures of old books as my camera would allow. Embarrassingly, I was too caught up in pretending to be a pro photographer that I failed to notice the students using the library and consequently made no effort to mute my incessant camera clicks. Thankfully, my parents managed to make use of the abundant books at our disposal and looked up the meaning of our surname. Words can’t even begin to describe how pleased I am to be named after a patch of dry land in a Scottish valley!
Denholm: Scots: habitation name from a place in S Scotland near Hawick, so called from OE denu valley + holm piece of dry land in a fen.
After the calm of the library I was pumped for ice-skating. I’d only been ice-skating twice before and it felt strange to be wearing skates without hearing Basshunter in the background. Sadly, not much has changed in 6 years and I was lying on the ground in no time at all. Despite this, my commitment to the sport was keeping me going and I slowly scooted around the edge 5 or 6 times, firmly clutching the barrier.
I think it was probably the excitement of being at the Rockefeller ice-rink that turned me into such a daredevil that I decided to let go of the edge and fly free. It was all going great; I’d skated a meter alone without holding onto to anything and I could see my mum in the background with a camera. Seeing potential for a fabulous photograph, I tried the next few meters with my arms outstretched and a smile spread over my face.
There’s not a lot that you can do when you’re posing for a picture, have fallen and are stuck in the middle of the rink, unable to skate away. Forcing a smile, I dragged myself to the edge where I laughed and joked as if I wasn’t feeling crippled.
Ploughing on like a trooper, I tried until I was able to skate the whole way around without falling and was even stopping to pose for photographs. I spotted that dad and Imi had joined my mum on the edge and skated over to join them. Overconfidence had again been my downfall and I fell head first in a way that until you’ve done it, you don’t believe is physically possible. People were looking, a Dutch man took a photograph and my whole family were laughing at me.
Nevertheless I got back up (I was heaved up by my brother) and carried on sliding around as if I was a gliding angel. To be honest, I think I recovered really well from my fall and was considering it no more than a minor setback in my goal to become the next Jane Torville. That was until the real fall occurred. I was again skating near to the camera-filled entrance when I lost balance and started wobbling forwards and backwards like the nodding Churchill dog that my grandma keeps in her lounge. I was desperately trying to look cool and regain balance but luck was not on my side. I fell face first into the barrier and then got wodged into such an odd position that I couldn’t even stand up.
None of this was helped by my hysterical laughter both with embarrassment and at the ridiculousness of the situation. The barriers are clear so everyone in the Rockefeller café could see my fall, the Dutch man had taken more photos of me falling and one of the ice-rink emergency team had skated over to see if I needed medical assistance. I decided it would be best to call it a day on the ice-skating front so we wandered off (I hobbled) to find some lunch.
After a short shopping stint, we visited Grand Central station. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a more spectacular building in my whole life. Every single part of it was gorgeous; the ticket kiosks, the ceiling, the staircases, the flooring and the arches were all so magnificent that I wanted to stand and stare at them for hours. Sadly, our tight schedule didn’t allow for that but it didn’t matter because our next stop was just as exciting.
We soon found ourselves in Central Park, holding light up tubes and cheering loudly in the stands. We were at the New York Marathon Opening Ceremony! I don’t think I’d been this excited all holiday, which is saying something because I’d been really excited for the last 6 days. Finally, a chance when I could sing and dance and woop without anyone looking at me oddly! I’d been grossly misled by American TV and genuinely believed that wooping and cheering would be acceptable behaviour in public spaces but after a socially inappropriate woop in Boston Park, I’d refrained for the rest of the holiday. Consequently I had a lot of pent up woops in need of escape.
Whilst we waited for the main event, we were treated to performances by the New York LGBT Cheerleaders which was totally fabulous. I genuinely don’t think I could have been any more excited than I was when watching the cheerleaders perform because honestly, how could anyone be anything other than ecstatic when watching people dance around with pom-poms?
The ceremony was both fantastic and exhausting. I didn’t anticipate so many participating nations and at around the Finland mark I was starting to peak. The sheer thought of maintaining such a high level of elation was arduous but patriotism kept me going until the Union Jack had passed by. When the flag was out of sight, I allowed myself to flop. The only thing that I could imagine would revive me was a roast dinner but since there was none in sight the thought of a burger had to do. As we walked away from the stands with the thought of a burger filling my mind, I couldn’t help but feel as if something was missing. It was then that the fireworks started and all of my dreams came true.
I don’t think there’s anything in the whole wide world that I love more than fireworks. I find them entrancing and could stand and stare at the forever. From the top of the stands, I had a perfect view of the fireworks and could appreciate their true beauty against the jet black sky. They were every colour and every size and the best display that I’ve ever seen.
For me, it was the perfect ending to the most fantastic trip to the best city in the world.