Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Big Apple

New York is a strange city full of the complex contrasts found in all of humanity - the best and worst, the beautiful and ugly.... New York has it all. You always hear about how rude New Yorkers are. We certainly experienced that - from the man who literally crawled over me at the subway, to the fat youths who refused to give up seats on the subway to the elderly, rudeness appears to be a common fabric in the thread of every day New York life. And yet, there is kindness there too, all the more appreciated because it is often so unexpected. In the middle of a museum as we prepared to head back into the city, a security guard noticed us and with a smile, asked if there was anything he could do to help - anyway that he could make our visit to his city more enjoyable. What a breath of fresh air his kind concern was.
And speaking of fresh air, there isn't much of it in the downtown areas of the city. The air seems to have a dunk and desperate scent almost impossible to describe. Going down into the subway, leaving the sun and light, I felt the edges of the darkness grab on to my coat and the despair clawed at my skin and hair. I didn't want to go down there. And yet, there in the depths of the city, we found an ancient Japanese man playing music on an equally ancient Japanese instrument. His song was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. I have never heard music like that, and doubt that I ever will again. New York once again showed her dual personality to me.
The city is dirty and crowded, a place that I couldn't imagine spending more than one night. And yet, Uptown, by Central Park, the walkways are spacious, clear and pristine. The Park itself is a haven in the heart of the city. Looking at the golden tulip tress there, I could almost understand where JRR Tolkien could have gotten his inspiration for the forests of Lorien, it was that magical. I loved Central Park in the fall, it was simply breathtaking. I would like to see it in the other seasons as well.
The city is full of fashionistas and fashion victims, the hopeful and the homeless, the talented and the repressed. Any writer experiencing a block should go to the city because one is sure to experience the breath of humanity and human emotions there.


Ann M. said...

Glad you enjoyed at least parts of your visit to my home town. I love Central Park in the winter, too. If you're willing to brave the cold and the crowds, it's really beautiful!

Jen said...

Well said! I couldn't agree more - I have seen a lot of places, and there is no place else like New York. As an experience, it just grabs you the second it comes into sight, and it's hold lasts long after you've left.