“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York.” – Frank Sinatra
I can still feel the earth beneath me rumbling, the effects of the underground subway bellowing beneath, where Prospect Park meets the local cinema, turn the corner and don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Running now to get to your subway, even though you’re in no real rush (everyone in NY is in some kind of rush) and you know it doesn’t matter if you miss this train, but the frustration to wait a mere 12-20 minutes for the next train resonates with your desire to be at the place where you are trying to get too.
Ah New York, with your sky scrapers, and your vast scale of worldwide citizens from business men to transvestites to the extreme poor to the succulently rich.
You hold a place in my heart that creates a further desire to travel, to broaden, to excel.
Once upon a time a very little 19 year old me found myself living in an apartment in Brooklyn’s wonderful up and coming Park Slope. The streets filled with Gluten Free pizza shops and young mums walking the streets with their expensive German branded strollers (something that as an Au Pair you come to recognise). A place where a Japanese student comes to broaden there English and Americans flock too, to further their career. Europeans come to holiday and backpackers come to see what all the fuss is about. And little 19 year old me… not quite yet at the full extent of the backpacker I am today, nor a normal holidayer, I went to NYC for the same reason I continue to travel the world now, to find myself.
NYC Subways, Jan 2013
I lived in Brooklyn 4 months. Too young to enter nightclubs I invested in a fake ID. Something that as far as Manhattan goes was far beyond worth investing in but lingering on the other side of the bridge, where hipsters where born and bad haircuts are considered cool, was a place where bar managers let you in upon how ripped your jeans and how brightly coloured your hair was as opposed to your actual age. I settled in swimmingly to Brooklyn and acquired a sort of soft spot for its ability to be able to wear whatever you want and call it fashion. I started to open up, to become more daring and individualizing myself. I started creating me. And boy did it feel good.
Four months may seem not long enough or simply too long to an outsider that does not know the full extent of what New York has to offer. For me, it was just enough, for me, it lead to the next great thing.
Happy to leave but sad to go. I knew I would return, once, twice, three times. Continuously through out my life.
Now, two of my dearest friends are planning their trip to the States, flying into New York they asked me to send them a list of things to do and not to do, over rated attractions and holes in the wall that I am familiar with. So, with NY frequently on my mind this week, I have come to realise how much I really do love it, and what I really do miss about it.
The start of my life in NY, Jan 2012
Something you cannot understand until you witness it, a place where ‘dreams are made’ but more often than not dreams are also shattered. In all its beauty, its obscure noise and its
seductive social stamina, here is a list of things you will, once witnessed, come to miss about New York;
- The attractively large bookstores and the ability to sit in them for hours – New York is home to some extremely large bookstores and of course the New York City public library. Both are places where you can walk around the store, find a section you like, pick out several books, and plant yourself in the middle of the pathway, legs spread out across the floor and just be. For as long as you like. Trust me this is not something you can do in Australia, if your found in a book store in Australia, spread out amongst the sci-fi section, you’re going to get a rude, ‘Excuse me Miss/Sir, this isn’t a library”. Its a damn beautiful thing, Barnes and Nobles will forever be one of my favourite places in Brooklyn and in Manhattan.
- The thrift stores – Oh the thrift stores! Think about the types of people that come in and out of NY year round, now think of their wardrobes… Now think of what wonder the thrift stores across NYC have accumulated in the past 50 years. Second hand fur coats, that no, I will not feel bad for wearing because, they come second hand, they have been worn to the bone, and at winter time in NY, they keep you damn warm! First discovering thrifts in Williamsburg in Brooklyn was like eating ice cream for the first time, you want to race around to get to it all before it melts away, even though you know you can come back for another scoop.
- The museums – I had never really been into museums until I moved to NY, I don’t get modern art and walking around staring at things your not allowed to touch annoys me. But wondering the streets and coming across museums such as the Natural history museum, the Sex museum, the MOMA or the Guggenheim was, I’ll admit, pretty cool. You cant be bored in NYC, if you are, go to a museum, there is THAT many to pick from.
- The endless eating possibilities – Yes, I am one of those annoying friends that when you go to lunch with will state all my allergies and disagree on most places that you tell me, “But they serve salad there” too. Yes, I will research places before we go out in the area before we go, especially if we are in a place like NYC. My god, I was in culinary heaven. New York caters to every which person, whatever allergy, whatever cuisine, whatever craving you have. Take a walk on the wild side through NYC’s streets and fill yourself up with whatever your heart desires.
- The hipsters in Brooklyn – I miss them. You’ll see them, you might laugh at them and ask them sarcastically how their half full, macchiato, with one extra sugar twice removed was, only to receive a response fit for an episode of Masterchef. But later in life you’ll miss their tight black jeans with their brown suede loafers and red lipstick to stare at and get fashion inspiration that you’ll never admit was from them, from.
- The music venues – In the four months I lived in NYC I saw the Wombats, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Hilltop Hoods, Band of Skulls, and the Temper Trap with the possibilities (though not the funds) to see musicians I had dreamed of seeing my whole life. Blink 182, Alanis Morrisette, and so many other artists walk their instruments through the music venues of New York daily. It is crazy the amount of excellent acts playing when you look up on ticket master the NY tri-state area.
- The life-style choice – Whilst sometimes I really don’t miss it, other times I really do. Right now I live quite the opposite life of that of someone in NY does and I could not be happier. But sometimes you miss that rush, you miss the sirens going past your windows at night, those sirens that once bothered you now you don’t even first glance, you miss the thrill in dressing up whenever your leaving the house, the ability to express yourself through clothes and knowing that no one else gives a fuck, you’ll miss the dinner dates on the lower East or West side and the NYU students that take over most of the lower West end of Manhattan. A place where being too much is never too much.
The Brooklyn Bridge, Jan 2013
“New York I love you but your bringing me down, New York I love you but your freaking me out” – LCD Soundsystem has got it right, a bitter sweet relationship forms between you and the city that never sleeps. When it starts to become mostly bitter, let your sweet tooth sink in before it evolves into mostly neglect. And do what I did, once your time in New York dwindles, leave, head somewhere a little… softer, like San Francisco, and later return to it, it’ll by then have turned into your past love.
“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.” – Baz Luhrmann