17/11/2018 - NYC
There are only a handful of cities that I loved that much that I am constantly wishing of coming back and visit them another time. Hongkong is among them and New York City is. Unforgotten the first glimpse from the aircraft almost 12 years ago when in the approach for landing at La Guardia-airport the pilot cruised low above Manhattan … still getting goose bumps when remember seeing this iconic skyline and this ocean of buildings in a golden evening light for the very first time.
This time I was taking a Greyhound bus to the bus terminal in the heart of the city at 8th Ave. When passing Newark Airport I got a first quick look at the skyline. Yeah, when you’re from Europe, it is very special to see a city like that. We got all those historical buildings, churches, cathedrals, Fachwerkhäuser … but skyscrapers! The chess board-like layout of streets and avenues, yellow cabs, …
I was very excited and nervous how it actually would feel to come back to a place like that a second time. The moment I entered the street level at 8th Ave I could feel this big city/very urban vibe again. But it didn’t hit me like the first time and I knew this is not gonna be a busy and full-on typical city trip. I booked myself into the Vanderbilt YMCA at E 47th/3rd Ave, which is literally Midtown. Google Maps told me it´s a 25 minutes walk. And so I walked. I checked in and I walked to the Emire state Building. I went up and marveled at this mind-blowing view to the north where I could spot the city’s green lunge, the Central Park. I looked south to where once the two towers of the World Trade Center tickled the sky. Long gone, the epicenter of a wound of a nation. But other skyscrapers popping up. I looked around – yes, I remember: flatiron building, Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn in the distance, even the Statue of Liberty is visible … but also many cranes at the ports, business parks to the north east, somewhere in New Jersey. Aircrafts taking off and landing, the sun sets.
I have seen enough, dived back down into the hustle and bustle of the streets. The next two and a half days I kept on walking – Midtown, SoHo, TriBeCa, Lower Manhattan, Korea Town, Upper East Side, along the East River, into Brooklyn and Williamsburg. I just kept on doing what I did the last months. On the second day the city got hit by a snow storm. I got soaked and covered in big flat snowflakes and was sliding back to my hotel and spending the rest of the evening in the gym to run some miles on the treadmill. I am not lying when saying I finally ran in NYC.
NYC is spectacular – architecture, museums, art galleries, food. NYC is rough – everybody is minding their own business, is straight forward. NYC is the capital of capitalism – Wall St, billboards , temptations everywhere to buy and consume.
I am not impressed anymore, maybe I changed, however, I kept on walking.