Le Grande Pomme!

Trip Start Sep 12, 2007
Trip End Feb 25, 2007

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I arrived in New York with a shock to the system that temperatures of -4 bring after I've been chasing the summer this far. Of course, totally unprepared, with only a single jumper and pair of jeans to my name, I compensated by wearing all my t-shirts at the same time before venturing out into Manhattan to find my hostel.

The last time I visited New York was some 17 years ago, when I was 15 years old. It doesn't feel as edgy as it did then, but then again, maybe that comes from living in Manchester and London for 15 years! The impact of 9/11 is still very evident and it was sad to see the scar of ground zero still under construction, and the skyline looking like it was missing teeth. The enormity of what happened here is only really apparent when you see the pictures of the thousands of victims on the walls of the exhibition. Each one of these had a family and friends who were devastated by their death, making the direct impact many more times then the direct victims. Let alone the wars that followed.

After hurrying down the shops to get myself a jacket, jumpers, hat and gloves, I did the usual tourist things- the Rockefeller Center, Liberty Island, Ellis Island. But I also went to take in the place where John Lennon was shot- I guess I was in a morbid mood with the cold weather! It showed how much this man meant to New York, with the local Strawberry Fields and flowers still being left there.

I also took in the Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is a building I've always wanted to see. Rather then design a gallery as a series of box rooms, the gallery is one large internal continuous spiral ramp, 6 stories high, to the outside of which the art is displayed. It was an unusual approach to gallery design, especially in New York, and was revolutionary, however it does have its critics who say the spiral is not conducive to hanging of art work.

The nightlife here is also amazing. I went out on my own on 2 occasions (Billy) but quickly made friends with the locals, including a Colombian girl who insisted on showing me around the lesser known parts of the city the following days, which I accepted!

Adriana took me to the Lower East Side and it's many bars, as well as to some parks in the area that had been used in many films. On the final few days, the weather turned and one of the heaviest snowstorms of the year to hit New York resulted in 8" of snow. It was fantastic to see New York in this way, with a topping of white making the city seem temporarily pristine. It even brought the humor out of New Yorkers, with some random snowball fighting going on!

Leaving New York was a surreal and slightly sad experience, as the next stop was home. Of course, I was excited about getting home to see my family and friends, but I was saying goodbye to an era of my life- to one of the most amazing things I think I'll ever do.
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