My first trip driving to NYC: A story of survival in the Big Apple


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Thomas Hartill, Former Editor in Chief

This previously ran in our December 2021 print issue.

I’ve never been a particularly amazing driver, but I wouldn’t consider myself remarkably bad either. 

Granted, I did fail my driving test the first time, thanks to the parallel parking section (I had just one tire on the line). Still, all things considered I am not a terrible driver, yet I found myself pretty nervous before a recent trip I took. During Thanksgiving break, I drove myself and two friends to New York City to see a movie. In case anyone is wondering, the movie was Paul Thomas Anderson’s new Licorice Pizza projected in 70mm. Not only was this the first movie I had ever seen projected on film as opposed to digital projection, but this was also my first time driving in New York City. Needless to say, I had my worries.

The most city driving I had ever done had been very brief trips through Allentown and Bethlehem, but obviously that pales in comparison to New York. When I brought up my plans to my parents, they were immediately nervous. My father did grow up in Queens, but he and my mother weren’t the most confident that I could handle the city. Still, I was determined to do it anyway. I just had a feeling that as long as I got myself in the city, fight or flight would take over and I would have to be able to handle it.

The closer we got to the city, the more nervous I became, especially when six lanes merged into just two in the Holland Tunnel. Driving through the narrow tunnel gave me a chance to wonder just how difficult this journey would be, and before I knew it I was thrown into a rather sudden roundabout which I had to exit from almost immediately. Suddenly, I was driving in the city, and it really wasn’t that difficult at all.

Sure, a few cars honked seemingly out of nowhere, making me wonder what I or someone else could have been doing wrong, but overall it wasn’t very complicated or difficult to drive through. I had worried for so long over driving in the city, but it really ended up being relatively simple. If anything, it just felt a little faster-paced than normal driving.

So why did I worry so much? I let myself get so worked up about what amounted to very little. By letting my worries spiral, I let a nonexistent outcome stress me out far too much, and it seems like a lot of people our age do that a lot. Whether it’s grades, extracurricular responsibilities, sports, or any number of other issues, we seem to find ourselves trapped in our own worries. Now that isn’t to say you shouldn’t care about these at all. Quite frankly, you should care very much. However, it’s important to put your own mental health before all those other worries.

So basically, if you know you’re putting in your best effort and truly seeking the best possible outcome, then just go with the flow. Let whatever happens happen, and it’ll probably work out just fine in the end.