A trip to NY showed me hospitality isn’t everything

By David Villegas, Contributing Reporter

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Photo by David Villegas

For some people, being born and raised in a certain area can feel like its own country and anywhere else is an unknown territory. They can be proud of where they come from until they travel to other areas with people that have different regional cultures. That is what my trip to the Greater New York City area, along with the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls taught me.

On July 30, I went with my dad to New York City for a weeklong vacation. My aunt picked us up. She lives in White Plains, NY, which is about an hour northeast of Manhattan.

Since I got the chance to see where she lives, I realized that injustice is present everywhere.

I witnessed how there were communities, primarily of African-American and Latino demographics, that were in poor condition.

Despite being a suburban area, there weren’t many sidewalks or even late-night transportation opportunities, aside from a commuter rail that runs 24-hours. I also got to see nearby suburbs that were filled with mansions, as well as the nearby world headquarters of IBM in Armonk, New York.

Taking that commuter train to the Grand Central Station, I was amazed to see Manhattan for the first time. Visiting Times Square, which is filled with advertisements, as well as street performers, there were always people pushing and shoving to get to their destination. It was noteworthy how the people who I interacted with seem uninhibited to me.

In the middle of the week, my family and I took a rental car to Niagara Falls. We ended up in a campground where we slept in a tent. At first, it felt unbearable yet after two nights, it made me pleased to eat, sleep, and enjoy the great outdoors.

I was able to see the beauty of Niagara Falls from both sides of the American-Canadian border. We went through the pedestrian entrance, as well as by car.

I noticed how the Canadians that I had an interaction with always were kind and attentive. The interesting aspect was how even though all the businesses that we purchased from gave back change in Canadian money, which we kept as souvenirs.  

In the end, as I was leaving New York City to get on my flight back home, I felt that just because different people have different cultures, it does not mean that they are bad. I just need to be able to understand others.

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