New York City Diaries

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What hurrying human tides, or day or night! 
What passions, winnings, losses, ardors, swim thy waters!
 What whirls of evil, bliss and sorrow, stem thee! 
What curious questioning glances--glints of love! 
Leer, envy, scorn, contempt, hope, aspiration!
Thou portal--thou arena--thou of the myriad long-drawn lines and groups! 
(Could but thy flagstones, curbs, facades, tell their inimitable tales; 
Thy windows rich, and huge hotels--thy side-walks wide;) 
Thou of the endless sliding, mincing, shuffling feet! 
Thou, like the parti-colored world itself--like infinite, teeming, mocking life! 
Thou visor'd, vast, unspeakable show and lesson!
- Walt Whitman
I could try to string all great words in forms of a poem or song and still not describe the spirit of New York City. They say you can never paint the city as it is, but simply how it felt. I wish that by writing in this blog, I could somehow immortalize and relive every experience. 
The Cultural Capital I prefer seeing NYC as the World's Cultural Capital than a Concrete Jungle for dreamers. I always wanted to live in different cities around the world. I thank God that New York was the first one on my list. I have seen a glimpse of how the rest of the world looks like from such excellent vantage point. 

On a subway ride, I met a very nice lady who helped me find the right station. She's a teacher from Ghana, who's currently studying in New York. Ghana. I never actually thought I'd ever talk to a Ghanaian unless I fly to Africa. Hee!  On a rainy afternoon in Central park, everyone got stranded in Loeb's Boathouse. I had to share tables for lunch with someone from Romania. I listened to his stories about poverty in Eastern Europe and a little of Orthodox Christianity. It's also funny how I meet random people, have some small talk with them, share little pieces of my life, and then part ways... only to realize we forgot to ask each other's names. It is really amazing, and sad at the same time, that there are people you'll only meet once in you life. During rush hours, I'd see a Rabbi with his Kippah (hat) and a Monk on his Bhikku (robe) in a single block, then found myself sitting in between Jewish and Muslim women in the train and still feel that strong vibe of perfect harmony. 
New Comer to a New Yorker I really didn't know how to distinguish the locales from the visitors. Maybe by the speed of their walking. Haha! I believe there was only one rule in the city: walk fast! When you get yourself to crowded place, it's just so tempting to sit in one corner and kill time by people-watching. While people-watching, all we could do is watch people. It never gives me the right to judge them. Look, listen, observe, and pray. Amazing how they come in different colors, sizes, shapes and accents. Heehee! Then something like "The Circle of Life" plays in my head.  I maybe just new in the place, but I loved how it's so easy to blend in. A typical day in NY, you will be surrounded with people who are also trying to figure out how things work, where to go or what exact street they're in. So don't hesitate to ask questions, do crazy things, take as many selfies as you can and just be yourself. 

Times Square
Mannahatta, Gotham to the Big Apple, time travelFor History-enthusiasts like me, I'm sure New York is one of the most interesting places you'd love to explore. You'd want to visit the Jane Hotel where the survivors from Titanic stayed when they were rescued. Or you'd also be amazed to find out that the seven rays on Lady Liberty's crown represent the world's continents. HAHA. For a little goose-bumps, there was never a place as solemn as the 9/11 memorial. There were so many things and events that happened in New York that shaped the world we live today. Only in New York City.
"We made it to the land of the Free!" said one immigrant after seeing Lady Liberty

A little How-to's in The Great Grid It is actually hard to get lost in this city. There's no better way to experience New York than your own two feet. The subway system and the buses are the most convenient ways to get around the city. There are more than 11,000 licensed yellow cabs and more than 20 lines in the subway.

Manhattan Essentials:
The whole island is one close-to-perfect grid. The numbered streets run from east to west and are numbered from First Street in the East Village to 220th street at the northern tip. The avenues run north to south and are numbered from first to 12th, increasing as you move west. But there's the Lexington, Madison and Park avenues that fall between 3rd and 5th ave. The 6th ave is also called the "The Avenue of Americas". There's also Broadway that actually stands out of the grid.  It is divided into the West and East Side, with Fifth Ave as the central axis. When you locate a specific address,  it usually goes like # East/ West, _____ street  and ______ ave.

You'll never run out of things to do. The popular phrase "so much to do, so little time" was a New Yorker's motto. It's important to budget your time. Some helpful apps to use for navigation are the Embark NYC, NYC subway, Weather App, Central Park app, etc. (TKTS for broadway shows).

As much as I want to inspire you to visit the city, I also wouldn't want to spoil all the thrill and treasures of NYC for you. I'm really hoping you also get the chance to see and experience everything for yourself! I will be posting more photoblogs of my NYC trip. Enjoy!!

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  1. New York looks pretty amazing... I could get lost in that city :)


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