What can I say about New York City that hasn’t already been said by a thousand different people in a thousand different ways—and no doubt many much better than anything I could add to the legacy that is NYC.
It is big, it is loud, and it is filled with an energy that in my opinion can’t be found anywhere else on earth. Of course I haven’t been to Paris or Tokyo or Buenos Aires—places that come to mind when I think of excitement and sight/sensual allure. Maybe in another lifetime, as the saying goes.
Sandi and I went to the city this past week to celebrate our 30th anniversary and in our four days there were not disappointed. We walked at least a hundred miles, ate Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese and amazing thin crust pizza from a shop off of 6th Avenue. I had the customary hot dog with sauerkraut from a street vendor on the avenue that led us to the Cloisters in way upper Manhattan.
Sandi bargained her way along Canal Street, where Asians of every shape and size sell their wares from little closet sized shops that line both sides of the busy street adjacent to Little Italy and Chinatown. I plotted our course from Ground Zero to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then through Times Square and back to Washington Square Park—and that was only part of one day.
On the train ride back (another interesting story), I thought of how hard it would be to describe to a New Yorker the kind of place where we spend most of our days—the lush forests of the Appalachian mountains and the narrow, windy roads that lead us to our country home of 23 years. To those who pound the pavement every day and catch the subway train in musty underground stations and rarely see the sun or moon (obscured by high-rise buildings), our life would only be understandable if found in a picture book especially designed for city dwellers.
Maybe I can take a few pictures of our rural life with my digital camera and get invited to do an art show at the Museum of Modern Art—that might help in the translation. Yet from what I surmise, the working people who populate and staff the deli’s and bodega’s on every city block, don’t get to see much art—they are to busy getting from point “A” to point “B” and then home after a long day, to visit the galleries and other attractions that NYC offers—much of which is definitely tourist oriented and survives today in large part due to the strength of many foreign currencies.
What struck me this visit was the way many people seemed to “sleepwalk” through their ride on the subway. Most people carefully avoid eye contact and many are plugged into ipod’s, newspapers, books or cellphones. Taking the train is something they have to do everyday and not an interesting part of an anniversary vacation. In my naivete I think that meeting new people on the train is an interesting way to pass the time—or that they even give a flip. Yet I wonder how long I would be able to hold out before I also signed off and entered my own personal world during my daily “train-time”.
Of course I could go on and on about our four days in the city and all my “mountain man” observations—and no doubt I will in blogs to come. Suffice it to say at this time I am glad that we went and I am glad to be back—happy that our pushing sixty good health has allowed us the freedom to tackle such a daring feat—I am not going to say we won’t visit again but for now I am satisfied and my mind is already beginning to process what is before me. Hopefully the adventure will continue for many more years and I can allow the bumps in the road to soften my perspective and bring my sometimes fretful attitude under divine adjustment.
And that’s today’s “long ride”.