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Snapshot NY: Tourists Returning To New York As City Bounces Back From Pandemic

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City is bouncing back, but a large part of that recovery comes from tourists.

One family gave CBS2's Steve Overmyer a chance to see New York through their eyes for this week's Snapshot New York.

The Sandlins are from the small midwestern town of Andrews, Indiana -- Overmyer's hometown, which makes sense because Heather Sandlin is his little sister.

It wasn't her first time in New York, but it was for her kids.

"I don't even know. I'm in awe," 18-year-old Kendra Sandlin said.

Times Square still has the power to electrify.

"It's so bright," Kendra said.

Tourists are coming back to New York. Airbnb reports this is the top trending destination in America, but does New York still deliver?

"I've always loved New York, and I wanted the kids to experience it," Heather said.

"This is chaos," she added as police cars raced by.

Initially, she was hesitant to come. They didn't look at mask restrictions as a hindrance; those precautions made it more appealing.

"We weren't really going to have them get vaccinated unless we had a reason to, and this was a reason," Heather said.

The trip was for the kids, to give them a chance to expand their horizons.

"You have to show the kids that there's life outside of our small town," Heather said.

She and her husband, Chris, wanted to give their kids a more well-rounded view of the world.

"People from different backgrounds, different cultures, religions. It's the melting pot, and we don't get that where we're from," Heather said.

Their day took them through Little Italy and on Canal Street.

"I think they're selling purses and watches. I don't know. They're everywhere though," Kendra said.

It also took them to the most emotional landmark of the day -- the World Trade Center fountains, a chance for the kids to connect with a seminal moment in American history.

It's impossible to see the whole city in one day, but visitors want a New York experience, like eating a hot dog on the street or riding a piece of history, like the escalators at Macy's in Herald Square.

"I was able to just soak it all in 'cause it was a long ride," Kendra said.

Kendra has always loved escalators. Macy's is home to America's oldest. It's from 1927.

"People think I'm weird for liking escalators, but people used them as an amusement ride, so," she said.

She's right. In fact, the first escalator debuted in 1896, and it was a premiere ride at Coney Island.

"Does it feel a little dangerous?" Overmyer asked.

"A little bit, but that's the excitement of it," Kendra said.

The trip only lasted a few days, but in that short time, New York gave them moments to laugh together, overcome some fears and see the world from a new perspective.

"It's just people. Just like us, but not, and that's what makes it beautiful," Heather said.

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