I haven’t made it a secret how crazy the past 5 months have been. I finally found time in May to disengage from what’s become the hectic norm of life, take time off, and enjoy the foreign lands– in this particular case, the US!
I was actually planning for a New York trip, mostly to attend Book Expo America (which you can read about here!), and get the most out the city that never sleeps. Later, the trip included Boston too, which I was okay with.
Before going, I didn’t know what to expect from New York. Most of my perception of the city was made from watching too many TV shows (don’t judge!), and stories from the family and friends who’ve been there. As someone who enjoys urban places, I was ready to EXPERIENCE the city to the fullest.
But nothing prepared me for New York’s essence.
It is a vast land of concrete structures, cramped together. The streets snaking in between them is filled with stomping feed. People and crowds move like opposing currents. With its fill of buildings and people, and the energy, New York is a babbling of noise. It’s also bubble within itself. On the sidewalk, every person wore headphones, enveloped in their own world. But there were times where they didn’t mind the interruptions either. A couple of times, I’d had pleasant conversations with people in the elevator, and once with a taxi driver, and I was surprised at the ease of the conversation. It was short, but open because, what’s the likelihood of ever meeting these strangers again?
Of course, there was another cab ride that had a driver talking to himself, but I didn’t mind it as long as he dropped me off where I wanted to go (which he did!).
It’s unpredictable, and fast. You can feel it pulsing with energy, always pulsing. And maybe it’s because of that energy that the city’s inhabitants are unpredictable too. “People are crazy here,” one cab driver told us. And on some days, we saw crazy walking with us on the same sidewalks.
I wonder sometimes if the crazy can easily seep in, because one afternoon, after leaving the book expo, I decided to lug my very heavy roll-bag and walk to our hotel. Worst idea I’ve ever had, but I went anyway, blindly towards one direction, crossing 5 avenues (that’s a lot, in case you didn’t kn0w). It’s the exhaustion of navigating through so many people, so much noise that I finally broke down and hailed a cab. But it was exhilarating (didn’t think so after hearing an earful from Mom).
It’s so fast, I could barely keep up with it. But it had steady paces as well, especially with its parks. Bryant Park in particular was stunning to stroll through. You wouldn’t even think you were in the middle of a concrete jungle when you’re in it, because the trees sort of shade it’s strollers in.
On one of the nights, we went to a show at one of the theatres; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and it was fantastic. It was funny, with humorous risque scenes, and a very clever production and cast. The musical had to work with a
really small stage, but they did it so well! I loved it.
Unfortunately, that was also when I got sick, but god bless pharmacies!
We also went to visit a long-time dream of mine: The Metropolitan Museum (and cue the chorus: NERD).
But seriously, that is a BEAUTIFUL building. So grand looking on the outside, and such an accommodating chameleon on the inside. History and modern all came as one in that place. It gives the most bizarre interests its weight in history, and you never know what you’ll expect to learn. One of the lectures they had that night was about Islamic Art, and I was SO impressed with the information given. It was unbias, factual, and plausible. It communicated how scientists, or historians deduced from the old artefacts that were found. Art History is one of my favorite subjects, and hearing that lecture was invigorating for me.
It made me wonder why we don’t have something like that. Why isn’t there urgency to complete our museums, just like there’s
urgency to complete our malls? Or why isn’t there a cultural and historical learning program for youth, and encourage them to be curious and ask the right questions even outside of classrooms?
But this is a rant for another post. =)
Though New York was a beautiful, rough beast, I didn’t get to stay in long enough to fully explore it, but even on the last day, we got to see parade preparations celebrating another country’s national day. There’s always something to see in New York.