new york city

2 minute read

This place always scares me. More than anywhere else I have visited. I think it is because I am usually on my own when I get here (this is my fourth time in the city) and this always makes things less enjoyable (if more liberating).

The whole three day visit started off surreally when the immigration lady sent me ‘around the corner’ to have my bags searched, instead of just waving me through. Apparently, ‘I am just here to sight-see and do some shopping’ gets heard as ‘I am carrying half a pound of crack up my ass’, or some such. But I smiled sweetly as the guy went through my stuff. Yep, that’s a dirty pair of pants, and yep that’s a case of CD’s which, although I carry everywhere, I never actually listen to.

I initially checked in at the Gershwin hostel, on 27th Street. I remembered this as a funky hostel, and it was. The problem is that it just wasn’t ‘hostelly’ enough – no communal areas, the rooms were really skanky and it was the most expensive hostel in Manhatten. The next day I moved up to the Jazz on the Park hostel, near the top end of Central Park West, which was much more like what I was used to.

The first day I felt really strange, and wasn’t really enjoying myself – wandering the streets, not really knowing what I was doing, but still being able to be amazed at the sizes of the buildings, and the absolute energy of the place. The next day (after the move), I felt much better – and went on the Staten Island ferry to view the Statue of Liberty, and visited the downtown area – Wall Street, Chinatown, SoHo and Greenwich Village. My feet were sore.

My third day had an enviable ‘to-do’ list – things I wanted to see, things I wanted to photograph and things I wanted to buy. And, more-or-less, I actually got them done. Thankfully, the weather turned really horrible, and my visits to Central Park , Grand Central Station and back to the shops downtown were completed in a miserable drizzly downpour. One thing that made the last two days muchbetter was the overcoming of my reluctance to use the subway – because the hostel is quite a way from where the action is, it became pretty necessary to go underground. And, believe it or not, it is no worse or better than what’s going on above ground…

One really stupid thing I did was walk to visit the U.N. buildings. For some reason I have always wanted to see this (I put it, while I was walking there, to watching episodes of Star Trek when I was younger, and thinking how good ‘one-world-government’ would be. Oooh, I wonder what those black helicopters are for…?). Anyway, the buildings are just some large structures on large, windswept plazas which didn’t even look very nice, and just managed to piss me off as I walked all the way there and all the way back to the subway…