We all have our preconceived notions of places like the big apple,but these are so greatly influenced by T.v,books,movies and the opinions of others, that it all becomes so muddled and crammed in our minds that we end up not really having any idea what to expect.For me, I somehow always imagined that when I first saw NYC it would be a dramatic and awe-striking experience of me floating in on some cloud , high above the skyscrapers and drifting delicately down into Times Square.This just goes to show how much my own preconceived notions of NYC were tainted by the outside world’s ever looming influence. Instead, for us ,we took a train from Newark Penn Station in New Jersey to the World Trade Center. At our arrival at the Newark station ,we found ourselves focusing on the classic confusion of navigating the under labeled and intricate network of the station, which we were ignorant of at the time but would soon learn was 10 times easier than the NYC subway system. As we rushed around, finally seeking directions from an employee, I felt the tension of the city settle into my bones–an exhaustion I saw on the faces bustling and shuffling past me –I wondered if it would ever be lifted.How, I thought can people ever just accept that the fatigue is going to rest there eternally until they themselves are eternally put to rest?Then, as we finally figured it out and sat on the train to the World Trade Center, it felt as if my coffin were sealed for the next two days. I was going to have to be a part of that fatigue faced state, so I looked at my own , already worn out face,in the reflection of the train doors as they slid shut and I listened to the whirl of the train’s motor and the murmur of the conductor’s indectectable directions.The din of life–the sound of a city waking up for the day. I listened and watched and then we were there.Then I walked out onto the street and got my first underwhelmed view of NYC.That day after we left the 9/11 Memorial and museum and began walking, I got my first feel for the speed and pace of NYC , which seems to run on its very own track.The way the car horns beeped and the tires went uhher–uhher on the pavement and the way the pedestrians weaved in and out and around one another.Business men and women dressed up, speeding on the outskirts of the walking mass , some coffee in hand– others with their phones pressed to their ears ,walking as if programmed only stopping when a car darted in front of them or a slower pedestrian impeded their journey forward.And then there were the mothers and children–hands held, strollers bumping gently over the curbs as they tried not to get trapped by the rush.Then there were those like us, tourists looking around trying to take it all in and walk fast and just breathe.The sounds, the sights, all of which might be seen and found and heard in any other city on earth, coming together in a way that seemed utterly different than any other place I’ve been before.And I hated it yet wanted to see more all at once.Somewhere admidst that unique ticking of time we found a place to charge ourselves and phones and after that, we crazily walked from Lower Manhattan all the way to Times Square. We let our feet mechanically hit the streets as we veered like tiny ants around people and the ever changing atmosphere that is NYC. And NYC seemed to me to be somewhat of a chameleon, morphing the match the air around it.One minute bustling and business like , the next a fast flowing river — still speedy but calmed and more serene — only to be interrupted by a swaying motion, yet again fast but in a different way entirely. Yes, NYC seemed to sway at times and it was not only the tall, shiny buildings ,which appeared to literally sway as the clouds floated past them as you gazed up , nor was it the motion of the crowds as the heads bobbed up and down and sunglasses glistened in the light but it seemed that somehow the very nature and essence of the city itself was swaying.It seemed to be gently rocking to its own melody, a cacophony of beeps,yells, shouts, clattering,wheels– as if somebody tools the sounds of battle and the sounds of small town life and compressed them into a grilled panini smothered in a creamy sauce of gossip and obligation. The city swayed to this melody, occasionally lessening its tempo or changing the volume, the bass, the rhythm, but constantly dancing — And the motion of the pedestrians legs as the streets were filled by life ,mimicked this.Then there was the architecture–the old thrown in with the new, the shiny,sunkissing buildings and the squat, stone stacked buildings all linked, holding hands ,screaming unity and separation all at once.The intricate carvings on some of their facades battling with the height and might of others.And once again this was mimicked on the streets by the people.The young and the old. The tall and the short. The personalities of each individual saturating the streets. Red hair. Brown hair. Blue hair. No hair– And people, people, world’s of their own–Everywhere!My feet hurt , the arches burned but still I let my feet move forward and I let myself become one of those personalities blurring into the impressionist painting that is NYC, another stroke on the canvas–blurry but still clearly NYC.At Times Square we sat and watched. The buildings that were T.V’S of there own. Screens everywhere and people and it all felt so oddly American. I felt so boxed in and the box was becoming even more confining by the minute– I needed to escape. And then my legs were whirling underneath me and we were underground walking to that platform that had such a great promise of adventure gone sour.And I held onto the pole as the train, brimming with people ,took off again, clanging, banging, screeching to a halt at various stops–people spilling in and out. I held on away we swayed. As it swayed. And then we went to our hotel and showered and washed away NYC, down the drain. Drained ourselves we slept dreaming hazy dreams of the city that never sleeps.
Thanks for reading let me know your thoughts in the comments.
-Wishing you the brightest of days, Eva
” Me and the pen, we are one.If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow. “