“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”
-Simone De Beauvoir
Back in January, I had the absolute privilege of spending some time in New York City- a place no photograph or written expression could ever do justice to. It was dream-like! Tower-blocks that seemed to ascend for eternity were neighbouring smaller buildings, which were almost like babies in comparison. Vonnegut was right when he called it a “National Park of skyscrapers.”
There were too many highlights to keep track of. Each day felt like an opportunity to absorb a million and one pieces of culture and wonder. Even the most generic of activities became intensified by the throbbing lights and flurry surrounding everything. Something as typical and common as shopping adopted a surreal quality. Times Square turned into an enormous arcade; there was no distinction between tourist or local. Everybody was under its spell. We were all suddenly child-like, darting in between the blaring rainbows of store-windows with no sense of direction.
The genius of the acrobats in Cirque du Soleil, the grandeur of Radio City Hall, arctic temperatures sneaking through God knows how many layers of thermal, and every cup of coffee being better than the last- these are all memories that will stay with me forever.
But perhaps the most defining moment of the trip was standing at the top of the Empire State Building. Looking down at the feverish yellow streetlights, watching cars that seemed to be going at a stop-motion pace- it was amazing. The sense of wonder was immense. The vivid images still lingered when you closed your eyes or turned away, like a scene from a film you know you’ll never forget. I was reminded of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Clasping freezing cold hands around the bars and sticking my face through the gaps, I couldn’t help but adore the city as it buzzed beneath the winter moonlight. The look on every stranger’s face was the same as we all admired the vibrancy and vulnerability of a city that never sleeps…