Domestic Boredom

Headshot of Ian Donahue.
Ian Donahue
January 22, 2023
The New York City skyline during a sunset from Central Park

I love New York City, and there are plenty of reasons why. I know that I am very privileged and lucky to be able to live in such an amazing place. So, forgive me when I say I am bored out of my mind and want to leave. Not because I have no love for my home, it’s actually quite the opposite, I have been here for too long. Having my flight leave for Europe two days before the month ends seems cruel. As of editing this blog post I have twenty days until my flight, and when I wrote my first draft, I had one month. Being bored is a universal experience only made worse coming from a place where so many of my friends lived in the building across the street from me. The isolation I felt upon coming home felt like running into a brick wall. One day I was surrounded by all my friends and the next I was home alone, only my cat Pippin keeping me company. But if you have ever had a cat, you know they can be very petty about distance, so Pippin took a while to warm up to me again. Loneliness and boredom feel like wrestlers tagging in to torment me. But this is New York! The city of golden streets, a copious number of rats and endless opportunities. I have been arm wrestling with boredom for the past few weeks so let me tell you how I am winning.

Describing what to do in New York is always hard for me even though I have lived here my whole life. How do you give recommendations for a city no one can really describe? Ask ten different people what to do, they will each give a unique answer. Before I talk about my favorite things to do in NYC, let me list places to avoid. Times Square, the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building are three such places. While the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building are amazing, they are tourist destinations first. Times Square is to be avoided at all costs, and I would recommend never visiting unless you like slow walkers. The answer I give to my friends about my favorite things to do at home is much simpler. Museums have been my go-to destinations, followed by Central Park and simply walking the streets of the city. The Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are my two favorite choices, though other museums like the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art are by no means bad options. While the streets are not paved with gold, rather very old concrete, walking around New York has always been my favorite thing to do. There is nothing quite like going from different neighborhoods, from the overpriced designer stores of fifth avenue, the towering skyscrapers of downtown or my own neighborhood of the Upper East Side, there is not a city on earth that can rival my home.

I am lucky that I have had such amazing friends to hang out with while at home and if not for I probably would have gone into a spiral. I recently just went up to Boston to see some of my friends from Ithaca and while New York has no comparison, Boston is not half bad. A few of my friends have visited the city and braved New Year’s Eve travel. I even went to the one place every New Yorker is sworn to never step foot in; New Jersey. Just kidding! If any of my friends from NJ are reading this know I love you, but we will always have the better bagels. Rivalry aside, I am very fortunate to be able to see so many of my amazing friends both at home and in other states. A lot of them are studying abroad themselves so hopefully I will be writing a future blog about the fun we will have when we cross paths in Europe. But for my friends staying in Ithaca while I am abroad, it is a bittersweet thing to have to say goodbye and not see you until May. But don’t worry, I will make sure to send plenty of photos, stories, letters and love.

Am I in Rome yet? Man, I wish. But that does not mean that New York is a bad substitute. I still have some time in my favorite place with some of my favorite people, aka my cat Pippin. There is no shortage of streets to walk, neighborhoods to wander through or sights to visit. But as much as my arm wrestle with boredom is an endless battle, each day that passes is a day closer to when I finally board my flight at JFK. In some ways my boredom is a gift, distracting me from the anxiety soon to elbow drop me into a new state of existence. But for now, I eagerly wait for my semester to finally begin.      

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Headshot of Ian Donahue.

Ian Donahue

Hey! My name is Ian and I am a junior at Ithaca College, where I major in history meaning long papers are my specialty. I play on my school's club ultimate frisbee team and we even went to the national tournament! I am from New York City so navigating public transit is a refined skill of mine. I am beyond excited and grateful for the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, eat amazing food and see places I've dreamed of seeing my whole life.

2023 Spring
Home University:
Ithaca College
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