24th September 2014
I catch my first glimpse of the famed Manhattan skyline. Under the grey clouds and leaky rain, it stood tall. There were no details in the buildings, only three dimensional shadows masking their true identity.
"Holy shit, I am here"
The trip, up to the day before I left, seemed like something that was always an idea, never a reality. It was ahead in the future. Forever looming round the corner.
But here I was. In New York City. The place I have, since I was a child, wanted to live, work and play.
Yet the feeling was not one of over zealous joy or unabashed happiness. A sense of loneliness clouded my mind.
You see holidays in the past included my family. I had become accustomed to that, how do I put this, 'vacational normality'. I immediately felt far away. Fear raising questions began to build up, more often than not starting with:
"What happens if....."
These open ended questions never fail to raise doubt and insecurity as the answer was generally "I don't know".
I spoke to a few friends about the issues I was having and the answer that was given by all was to go outside and look around. So I did. My second love affair with New York would begin soon after.
I want to talk about my three favourite parts of New York from this trip.
The photo above is the first shot I took in Manhattan. It sums up everything that I love about the Soho area. The cobbled streets, the stairs on the outside of the buildings, the beautiful chaos.
I could, and this is not an exaggeration, walk around Soho for 10 hours a day and never get bored. There is constant renewal. A constant energy. A constant enthusiasm for whatever is happening.
Saying that Soho is busy is an understatement. It is a never-ending traffic jam of people and cars. There is a background noise consisting of talking, laughing, engines, horns and footsteps.
When I last visited New York, in 2009, the High Line didn't exist. The High Line is a park built upon a disused section of the New York Central Railroad. It is a fantastic addition to the city. The walk allows breathtaking views of New York. The idea of the High Line is, in essence, a metaphor for New York. It celebrates the theme of renewal. Taking the old and turning it into something new.
My third favourite is Central Park. Yes, it is an easy one to choose. Yes, everyone likes it. Yes, everyone goes there. Yes, everyone walks through it.
But I love it.
In the midst of one of the busiest cities on Earth, Central Park can often feel still, as if it remains locked in an impenetrable vacuum. The sound of car horns and police sirens disappear into thin air. The water remains calm, the people happy. Whether you are eating your lunch on a park bench or floating around in a row boat, there is a sense of peace and tranquility that is hard to find outside its borders.
So there you have it, my three favourite parts of New York. When I next walk it's streets there will be another three and another three the time after that.
I will be back.
I mean, who could really stay away?
Until next time,