My First Night at the Brooklyn Bridge

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My First Night at the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge offers an incredible look at the Manhattan skyline. (CURTIS MACNEWTON VIA FLICKR)

The Brooklyn Bridge offers an incredible look at the Manhattan skyline. (CURTIS MACNEWTON VIA FLICKR)

The Brooklyn Bridge offers an incredible look at the Manhattan skyline. (CURTIS MACNEWTON VIA FLICKR)

The Brooklyn Bridge offers an incredible look at the Manhattan skyline. (CURTIS MACNEWTON VIA FLICKR)

By MARIELLE SARMIENTO, Contributing Writer

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The energy in the Plaza felt like an arena before a concert. Orientation leaders (OLs) were stationed across the grass, holding up signs directing new students to the right excursion group. For many new students, including myself, tonight would be our first step off campus since move-in day, and a guided trip with my new fellow classmates seemed like a pretty great option for my first night out in New York City.

“Marielle! You’re going on the Brooklyn Bridge Walk?” my OL, Megan Leary, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ‘19, asked as I joined the group gathered in front of Lowenstein. I recognized several people from my small group as well as some other freshman I hadn’t had the chance to meet during the past two days of orientation. As soon as everyone was checked in, our group departed for our excursion to the Brooklyn Bridge!

I kept checking my pocket for the MetroCard the OLs had handed out to the group as we descended into the 59th St-Columbus Circle subway station. Everyone was buzzing with excitement, but I felt a sense of reasonable unease at my first whack at New York public transportation.

It was amusing to see an entire subway car packed with Fordham students. It was easy to forget that I was on a subway to Brooklyn rather than just another orientation meet-and-greet as I talked with several freshman about our college experiences so far. Regular commuters seemed surprised to see their train so chatty and lively.

After a short walk, we made it to the bridge! The giant amoeba of Fordham University students began to disperse throughout the bridge as the excursion leaders told us to meet at the end of the bridge.

The walk was exhilarating.

The air was pleasantly cool high over the East River. The popular landmark was crowded at 9 p.m. at night, but not uncomfortably congested. Every so often our conversations would be disrupted by the terrifying whoosh of a bicyclist speeding dangerously past in the other lane on the bridge.

I was in a constant push and pull through the crowd to keep up with the conversations I struck up with the people around me, but they all stopped as soon as the skyline came into view.

It looked fake to me, like there was no possible way I could seeing this with my own eyes. The image in front of me belonged on a computer screen. I had never been to Brooklyn before, had never seen this side of Manhattan across the water. The skyscrapers were black mountains piercing the night sky, and the illuminated windows blended into the faint stars and blinking airplanes.

I stopped to take my fair share of snapchats and pictures to text to my parents back home. A fellow freshman I met who was from Manhattan was doing the same thing because she had never walked the Brooklyn Bridge before either despite being a native.

I let myself fall behind the group as I stared at the city.

In my moment of awe, I only had one thought.

I can’t believe I live here.

The subway ride seemed so much shorter on our way back home. Home. McKeon Hall on the Fordham University Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, New York was now home. Raised in the suburbs St. Louis, Missouri, I was almost jaded by the fantastical view of the Gateway Arch, but I could never imagine not being in awe of the views outside my dorm window.

Whether it was the exhilaration of the actual bridge walk, the adrenaline of new college experiences and meeting new people or a combination of both, this orientation activity had me ready and excited and eager for the rest of my semester at Fordham University.