“New York City, center of the universe.”

(Angel, RENT)

I’ve always held a sort of fascination for New York City for as long as I can remember. It stemmed from countless reruns of Friends, an obsession over the first era of Gossip Girl to my most favorite musical, Rent, but New York was the plan I would tape over my wall like a poster of your typical fifteen year old’s favorite band. It was the dream. It was everyone’s dream, as far as I know. Anyone who has ever wanted to make it and be someone always yearns for New York.

It must’ve been the movies and the songs, but I’ve over romanticized so much of my thoughts about the city. I may sound biased, having seen the streets through rose colored glasses, but truthfully, I don’t regret romanticizing New York at all. Everything they say about it was true.

New York holds a charm that no other city can compare.

“Welcome to New York – it’s been waiting for you.”

(Taylor Swift)

Sometimes it still feels surreal that my dream city is only a train ride away from where I currently live.

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

(Tom Wolfe)

(Central Park, New York 2017)

I was terribly sick after arriving in Washington DC. I battled fever that kept coming back on the days leading up to my birthday; I mostly slept and let the days bleed away. My whole body ached nonstop. When I no longer could fight the sickness, I finally consulted a doctor. Those medical bills slashed most of my savings away (cries) but I’m just glad I somehow recovered enough to push through with visiting New York.

Though I was weak, pale and cold on my birthday, I couldn’t care less because I was walking around New York. (hehe)

Works of art sold along Central Park and the streets on the Upper East Side

(Upper East Side, New York 2017)

When in the Met, sit on the steps. My mom kept asking me why I wanted to sit on the rather dirty steps and I told her, “This is where Blair Waldorf sat.” She laughed.

I always have to see Vincent Van Gogh works in every museum I visit (if they have them). I also bought a coffee shop book from The Met store.

Visiting the Met was the first on my list of what I wanted to do in New York. It’s too huge to tour in a day, but my main priorities (often, whenever I visit a major museum) were to see Van Gogh and Monet. I didn’t want to pressure myself into seeing everything (like the Rei Kawakubo exhibit, I regret) because I could always go back and immerse when I have more time.

“In New York you’ve got to have all the luck.”

(Charles Bukowski)

After visiting the Met, we went to see Cats on Broadway. There are a lot of musicals to choose from and it was hard to choose this over Dear Evan Hansen, but inevitably, I chose Cats because it was the first Broadway production I’ve ever seen. It was the musical that made me fall in love with musicals. When I was a kid, my grandfather had a collection of live Broadway productions on DVDs and my mom and I watched Cats together.

I also danced Cats when I was in fourth grade for a school competition. It was funny to see the cat role I played and squeal-whisper, “That was me!” in the theatre.

(Times Square, New York 2017)

Times Square is full of vibrant color – alive, crowded, loud. (My mom kept comparing it to Quiapo). The introvert in me couldn’t last long in the crowd. I got drained quite easily and decided to retreat to a nearby coffee shop.

My beautiful, happy mom

A visit to New York (or my birthday, for that matter) won’t be complete without a coffee shop or two. We visited two quaint cafes in the city; one of them even had a lot of bookshelves, which was perfect.

(Brooklyn Bridge, New York City 2017)

We ended the day with a walk along Brooklyn Bridge at sunset. It seemed too perfect.

When we came home, Jaime had flowers sent in for me for my birthday. He decided to wait until our New York trip was over instead of sending them over in our hotel so it won’t be much of a hassle to bring home. He sent the most beautiful sunflowers, my favorite.

I dreaded turning 25. I thought 25 was the penultimate spiral downward towards quarter life crisis and always thinking of what I could’ve and haven’t done. To be fair, I always dread my birthdays. I’d rather be in a self-induced coma until June was over and forget that my growing older happens each year. However, this was a year wherein I didn’t mind celebrating at all. It was quite surprising, even for me. I was finally happy on my birthday that people greeting me a happy birthday didn’t seem like a tragic irony.

Here’s to 25. To mistakes, heartache, and more poetic bones. To laughter over the silliest things. To finding yourself over new hobbies. To creating new dreams. To new spaces and places.

To being alive.

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Cara likes to read, write and laze around in her spare time. She goes into trance whenever she walks into bookstores and antique shops. She hopes to write about many adventures she'll have one day.


  1. Reply


    June 26, 2017

    I wasn’t one of those enthusiastic dreamer of New York, but I like this side of the city in your photographs. But I must say that MET is one of the museums to be crossed off in my list. Belated happy birthday to you!

    • Reply


      July 2, 2017

      Thank you Denise! ☺️ I didn’t have much time in New York but here’s to hoping I can explore more of the city soon; there’s still so much of it to see! I know they have bookstores and art galleries/stores and the central public library is simply heaven – I think you’d like those parts of the city too!

      Also, YES to Met. If I could live there, I would!

  2. Reply


    July 1, 2017

    I would totally sit on the steps of the MET too if I ever get my ass to NYC! I love your bag, btw. And welcome to the 25 club lol!

    • Reply


      July 2, 2017

      Haha, thanks! It was one of those things on my “must to-do’s in NYC” list because Blair is life, lol.