Livin’ the Dream (Academy)


I have always imagined Times Square being a bigger place, but it still looked as pretty and populated as I have seen it on TV.

Some cities – Paris, London, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and New York City – capture the imagination before you’ve even visited because of the iconics sites, people, and skylines. I was lucky enough to visit two of these on one trip.

Sometime last year I found out the Dream Academy was traveling to Washington, DC and New York City. I felt excited to be able to travel and experience something new and once again travel with my friends (I’d traveled to Hawaii with the Dream Academy and my friends last summer).

March 24 to April 1st, 2022, we traveled to Washington, DC and New York City. We first stayed in DC for three days and two nights. We visited the Capitol, Georgetown, and the Supreme Court on the first day. The second day we visited the African American museum, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln and the Martin Luther King Memorials. The final day we visited the White House and walked around Monument Park.

Visiting the White House was something I always wanted to do. I was curious about how big it was and how protected it was. I was disappointed at how it was not as big as I had imagined or seen on TV and the protection that I had thought was not there for just a fence separating us from getting close to it. Of course, it could have been because the president was not in Washington at the time. 

Not only that, but we got to experience the beautiful kite festival in the Monument Park. I saw many different styles and sizes of kites and was just extremely happy to see it. It was a pretty cold day in Washington, DC, but that didn’t stop us from having a small picnic in the park. Later that day it rained and hail fell a bit, but it was a fun experience and I felt the joy of my friends and I running across the park looking for somewhere to cover us.

Finally we were on our way to the Big Apple. Our first day in New York City was March 28. We visited the Apollo Theater, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Empire State Building. 

Our first day was a success, I have never seen the most beautiful church and the greatest view. The church had the most detailed and beautiful figures of all. Along with the opportunity of performing and simply standing on stage at the Apollo Theater where many famous people have stood before. Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, and Snoop Dogg are just three of hundreds of more famous people that have performed and I had the opportunity to stand in that theater.

Our second day was more exciting and the coldest, with temperatures as low as 18 degrees. We finally got to experience the subway, along with seeing the beautiful campus of Columbia University and Central Park. We also got to see a wonderful musical, “Wicked.”

“Wicked” is an amazing musical about two unlikely friends, Elphaba the witch of the west  and Galinda or Glinda. It was my very first live performance and I was very happy to experience it. The performance itself was very good and the actresses were amazing. Growing up I have watched the show “Jesse” in which the setting takes place in New York. Central Park was a big part of the show and walking there I felt like I was part of it in some type of way and it was a great feeling. 

Our 3rd day we visited the Edge, Hudson Yards, Madison Square Garden and Times Square. I have always imagined Times Square being a bigger place but it still looked as pretty and populated as I have seen it on TV. Later that day we also had three hours of free time to stroll around and my friends and I took the time for some shopping and to take pictures. There were many people with cameras walking around taking pictures of strangers and one of them took a picture of me, that made me feel like a celebrity for a second. Overall, it was a great experience and to think that many famous people from all over the world have walked the streets of Time Square, just like me.

Our final full day we visited the Statue of Liberty, and the 9-11 Memorial. It was a very memorable day, we had the opportunity to go inside the 9-11 museum and learned more about the day. In the museum, I saw fire trucks from the attack, loose objects like clothes, phones, and extra pieces from the buildings and plans. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to explore the full museum because we ran out of time, but I still had the chance to see many things. I saw and heard many voice overs of the passengers leaving their loved ones and notes to their kids. A full wall of the people that passed away that shows who they were and more information about them. This made me feel sad as I can’t imagine losing my loved ones in a tragic way and all of a sudden. It made me value life a lot more and not take people for granted. 

The final day we had some more free time to get some food and finally walked around the Brooklyn Bridge as a group and took our very last picture together. It was a beautiful experience and I’m very thankful the Dream Academy has provided me that opportunity.  Not only did they give us the opportunity to travel but the environment was amazing. I met very nice and incredible people on the trip and had the greatest time of my life (so far).