Now that I'm back home again I want to share some personal thoughts about the city that never sleeps. First off: I more than enjoyed my stay, it was a great adventure and I encourage everyone to not let anyone (especially themselves) talk them out of fulfilling their dreams. I'm highlighting this since it's been a dream of mine for a long time and I had second thoughts before I just took the opportunity and went to my desired destinion. It mostly had to do with the fact that I was pretty much on my own and had to take care of everything related to my voyage (I don't travel often and when I do, I'm merely joining a group of people who have planned things through in advance). In the end I decided that this should not deter me from pulling it off and oh am I glad did that
Now to my very personal summary:
Having been at the JFK-airport for what seemed like hours I exit the terminal in search of a Taxi. Good thing they're already aligned aplenty in front of the sidewalk. A friendly cab-driver asks me "Hey, where are you going to? Manhattan?" I confirm his assumption and hop into the yellow cab. -Didn't see much of Queens at the time, spent most of the time on the highway. There was however one instance when I saw a rat crossing the street, seemingly not afraid of being run over. It's situations like this one that amuse me.- As we are closing in on Manhattan I am amazed by the luminescent skyline towering in the distance. A silver/white-lit all new One World Trade Center in the south and a beautiful shimmering blue Empire State Building guarding over Midtown. You constantly see it in the movies but once you are there physically it seems almost surreal and dreamlike. Shortly after we had entered Manhattan we come to a stop in front of a traffic light. I notice the car standing next to the cab. A girl is peering out of the window in awe and unbridled euphoria. She let's slip a whole-hearted "WOW!". I put on a smile because I pretty much felt the same but wanted to keep my cool. Manhattan during the nighttime is a treat to the eyes and a gritty one at that. The streets of the Lower East-Side and Greenwich Village are illuminated in a very prominent infernal red, the ground is very bumpy and the buildings are covered in graffiti.
Having arrived at the hotel I pay my fare and tip the driver. After the check-in I take a look at my room. As expected it is very small but surprisingly comfy. After my inspection for bed bugs (No joke there, it's a serious problem in New York at the moment), which came to a very satisfying conclusion I turn to sleep. Oh by the way: The hotel used to be the place where many of the Titanic-surivors stayed in 1912, so I was sleeping in a historical building.
So much for the first night. Of course I have seen and experienced much more during my stay. When I wasn't sleeping, eating or editing pictures I was pretty much on my feet all the time. I didn't use the metro a single time and that's a decision I do not regret. This way I got to see a lot of things I would have missed otherwise. And the one thing that's really awesome about walking in New York City is that it's almost impossible to get lost due to the way the streets are structured. So what did I enjoy the most about my trip? That's a really tough question and there is no definite answer. I really liked the view I had at the observatory deck of the Empire State Building, I liked Chinatown and what really stole my heart was the High Line, a park that was built upon the remaining pieces of freight rail tracks of New York's former elevated train line. But I can't point my finger at one specific thing and that's probably what I loved most about the city. It is the overall abundance of impressions that makes New York such a charming city. And it's the people and the diversity that contribute a lot to its alure. And that's why I always keep gravitating towards big, polarizing cities, the diversity is the key. Whether it is the nice girls asking me to take pictures of them atop the High Line or talking to the last two Occupiers at Zucotti Park or even a conversation about Sonic Youth with the Empire State Building staff: These impressions and encounters are what really leave a mark.