Thursday, July 24, 2008

New York City - general impressions

Manhattan skyline, including both the Empire State Building(L) and the Chrysler Building(R), taken from the Circle Line Tour boat on the East River.

Where to begin? That's why it's taken me so long to get around to posting about my trip to New York - there's just so much I could talk about, it's difficult to figure out where to start. So I think I'll start with some general impressions, and see where that takes me.

Let me just start by saying that I LOVED New York! I expected to think it was cool, and to enjoy parts of my visit, but actually loving New York kinda took me by surprise. I don't much care for crowds or noise or bustle, all of which New York has in abundance. I'm not really all that keen on big cities (I intensely disliked living in Los Angeles for instance). And I've always been just a wee bit afraid of New York. Though I've heard that it's much safer now than it used to be, a part of me just didn't believe I could feel safe there. But it turned out that I felt very safe there, day and night. Probably because there are so many people out and about at all times.

And that in turn contributes to this amazing sense of energy that just permeates the city. It was a little like sticking my finger in a light socket almost as soon as got off the plane at JFK Airport. The variety of people, just in the airport, was just amazing. People from so many places, so many backgrounds - just a preview for the true melting pot that is New York City.

Something else that surprised me about New York is how lush it is. I don't usually equate lush with large cities, but this one… The buildings seem to grow almost organically out of the lush natural landscape, and there's a lot more of that to be seen than I expected as well. I'm sure this sounds odd - New York and organic don't really automatically suggest each other. I'll try to explain. There are trees and patches of green, there's a lot of stone especially in the older buildings, it's surrounded by water, and walking feels like the natural thing to do there. (I'll have to try again later to put this idea into words I think.)

Speaking of walking around, I've got to mention the subway. It is truly awesome! Want to go downtown - walk a block and get on the subway and you'll be there in a flash. Any time, day or night. Want to go uptown? Repeat process in opposite direction. I want one here! And there's so much history in those tunnels, and beautiful tile mosaics let you know where you are, and in some places beautiful ironwork divides the spaces, and, and… After I got home I checked out a book from the library called Subway Style by the New York Transit Museum that talks about 100 years of history of the design elements in the subway, and it's fascinating. I wish cities cared so much about their design elements now.

I'll go ahead and stop here, but I'll leave you with some of the photos I took. I took over 400 photos while I was there, and I've loaded 70 or so that give an overall account of the trip to Flickr. Next time, I'll talk about more specifics.


andrea said...

I just checked the Square Inch website and I'm almost disappointed that you didn't sell *my* painting. If you had then (a) I'd be happy for you and (b) I'd quit lusting after it... :)

Your reflections of NYC, as a northwesterner/westerner, are valuable to me as someone who's always longed to visit, probably since I saw my first Woody Allen film, and never made it yet. I never liked LA either, though I do love the PNW cities and SF. I remember the same feeling about the London tube and Paris Metro ~ how easy life was. I had friends when I lived in London who, at 23, had never had the need to even get a driver's license.

Looking forward to your reflections on the opening and the art crowd and photos of your work in the gallery. Maybe I'll check out your link and see what's what...

matt said...

NYC is awesome!

Here in Seattle, light rail transit on the ballot this November. it must pass!

Talk to you soon,

Anonymous said...

Hey met me in LA!...It couldn't have been all that bad! ha ha...


seth said...

So glad you liked NYC Angela. There is so much energy and creativity hear it practically oozes out from everything. The people and cultures here are a true mosaic - I always forget that this isn't true everywhere. And it is safe now and, I hope you found this to be true, that we New Yorkers are quite a friendly bunch of people.

cynthia said...

I've always enjoyed visiting NYC, but I'm not sure I could live there either. I can barely handle Denver.

mcdc3s said...

Wow... I can't wait to pour thought those photos at Flickr. I added you there. I'm with you about the subway... I wish we had one here in Michigan too. Especially with the price of gas! It may just happen.