New York City

I once read that the only people who ever get a true sense of a place and its social culture are its tourists. It makes sense that the only way to be unbiased towards anything is to be completely withdrawn from it. Prior knowledge and experience builds bias that can then not be removed, although overtime bias can change. Therefore, in our class visit to New York City, I expected to see the city exactly as it was, as I had been there only once before.
Regardless of the minute amount of experience that I had in the city, I still found almost all of my expectations to be inaccurate and judgmental. You see, there are two classes of expectations when it comes to New York City. First is the view that the city is magical – a venue for fun and adventure in an urban setting. People spend their entire lives waiting to climb the Empire State Building, or to see the Statue of Liberty. Many see the city as a way to start over; with a booming economic setting, many would find it an easy way to run off and “make something of themselves”. In contrast though, many others view the city as cold and detached. A place where ambition and greed reign free and people only look out for themselves. They see the city as segregated and full of people ready and waiting to cause trouble and hurt those around them. In reality though, I found the city to be a pleasant mix of both.
The biggest surprise I experienced was my adventure through China Town. First of all, being a so-called “good girl” the idea of experiencing and participating in black market trade was a bit intimidating. Being completely inundated by the crowds of shoppers and sellers was overwhelming and frightening in the beginning. The fear of being mugged or duped, which had been wired into my head from a young age growing up in the suburbs of New Orleans, was constantly present in my mind. Having complete strangers walking up to me, rather overbearingly, telling me about what they are selling and asking what exactly I would...