This Thanksgiving break, I knew I wouldn’t be going home. But I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be spending Thanksgiving Eve at Pacha — the nightclub franchise from the Spanish island Ibiza — in New York City.

I have been to New York City multiple times. The city never fails to blow my mind. My first trip to NYC was at age of 7. I remember the time when everything seemed so big and glamorous, and the World Trade Center towers still dominated the city’s skyline. The New Yorkers whizzed past me to get on with their busy lives. They were clearly distinguishable from the tourists with maps and brochures in hand, wearing expressions of wonder and excitement. Over my repeated visits, I have noticed different things about the city like its layout and the architectural marvels. The glamour of the city is like a strong gust of wind that hits you as soon as you arrive.

No other major city in the United States holds a torch to New York. Whether I’m in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago or Boston, none of these places make me feel like NYC does. There’s an “X-factor” in New York that is unlike every other city in the U.S.

New York’s uniqueness is largely the media’s doing. “Friends,” “Sex and the City,” “How I Met Your Mother” and several other television shows revolve around the lives of young friends living in NYC. The city has a big role in shaping this lifestyle and identifying the characters. And that’s not even mentioning the hundreds of movies based in the city. It might just be the glamorous portrayal of New York City that makes it beautiful when I visit. Or perhaps it’s the glamour that people see in the city that leads them to portray it as such on the screen. It’s probably a bit of both.

Lately, the news surrounding New York has focused on the financial difficulties facing the city. According to a Dec. 1 article from the New York Daily News, a survey reported 52 percent more stalled building projects this year compared to last. This is horrible for a big city like New York. The financial crisis in the city has not only affected the livelihood of its residents, but also the landscape of the city itself.

But on the other hand, celebrities face no trouble in finding homes for themselves. Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick bought a $21.5 million apartment yesterday in New York “after a marathon house hunting expedition,” according to An impressive number of big celebrities from all over the world have luxurious houses in NYC. This has become a style statement for movie stars, singers and performers. It adds to the glamour and fashion of the city.

But New York is more than just a financial hub and celebrity dwelling. The art and culture of the city is diverse. Broadway shows, Madame Tussauds wax museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, various parades — including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — and the brilliant graffiti markings throughout the city give New York its rich culture that doesn’t seem to be affected by the financial crisis.

A visit with friends made me see a whole different side of New York. I can now boast that I have ridden the subway at 3 a.m., walked the streets all night long and shopped at 5th Avenue on Black Friday. It might not be a lot to some, but for me, this trip marked a special point in my life.

Like any other city, there are the darker sides to NYC too. But the culture and charm of the city overshadows these shortcomings. I could get used to living in New York City — or at least the New York City I have created in my mind, thanks to media portrayals and my experiences as a tourist. But I am a city girl through-and-through and have put it down as my dream to one day belong on the streets of New York as a resident and not a tourist.

Aida Ali is an LSA sophomore.

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