Times Square stop was dream fulfilled for visiting student

Muhammad Anta Kusuma, Columnist

My destination was 42nd Street.  I got off from the old and unique station and walked faster, asked the street vendor for the exact position of Times Square. When I was in my home country of Indonesia, I opened Google Maps and looked the picture of Times Square. At that time, believed one day I would be there.

Before sunrise, I woke up. I knew I was getting close to New York City. I saw industrial areas. “But where are the sky buildings?” The question in my mind was based on the movie I saw. I wanted to see those large skyscrapers that I saw on television and in the movies.

I was trying to find my way to Times Square. I thought it was just couple of blocks from the bus stop. How stupid I was, I lost my bearings and I had no idea what direction I was going. But I kept walking and didn’t try to ask anybody. But to whom would I ask the question?

It was about 6 o’clock and still dark. “Where is the city that never sleeps, where are the yellow cabs, where are the busiest people in the world?” I didn’t know why such a question came up.

Seventeen hours before the countdown, I walked to the 9/11 Memorial site. It was an emotional moment for me because I couldn’t find the reason why terrorists killed the people who were working for their American dreams.

Since 2 p.m., I had been standing in Times Square, waiting for the New Year’s Eve. I tried to enter the empty space some where in the middle between the ball drop and the stage where Lady Gaga, Pitbull and Justin Bieber would perform.

When the count down began, fireworks, and colorful papers spread out on the sky of New York City. People had married the night, like a song by Lady Gaga.

At that moment, my dream when I looked at Times Square through Google Maps became real and live.  I stood for a couple of minutes in front of the New York Police Department. I looked around the billboard of the world. I couldn’t believe it. I just smiled without tears.

I was at Times Square at the moment of the year when the world’s eyes are locked on the site to celebrate and bring in the New Year.

Muhammad Anta Kusuma is an international student from Indonesia who is attending classes at Madison College. He writes this column about his experiences in the United States.