Iīve been told, and my short visit confirmed for me, that there is never a moment when something isnīt happening in New York. My first day I took a walk from my hostel on 108th through central park to the city. It was a Sunday and central park was bustling with walkers, joggers, roller bladers, sunbathers, and sports games ranging from softball, to roller hockey, to ultimate frisbee
. The softball games were entertainment of the highest order, as bad umpires were pitched against New Yorker ego in a battle far more entertaining than the game itself. Later in the city I decided to change avenues, and could have been forgiven for thinking I had changed continents. Thousands of cheering, dancing latinos lined the streets and it took some time to realise that I had stumbled upon the Dominican Republic Day parade. The people were out in force to greet the Dominican models, firemen, police, politicians, radio stations and many others who were parading between the sky-scrapers. Walking further were more sports, more interesting and crazy people to watch and the architectural marvels of some of the first sky scrapers.
Sure, I visited the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, burger king, the ex-world trade centre, Times Square, the Manhattan Bridge and tried not to get mugged, or more likely, scammed by the schiesters on the subway. But the real treasure was to spend time just walking the streets of this city of cities, absorbing the atmosphere and watching how New Yorkers play out their day in a city that is so different from the one I expected after years of dodgy sitcoms.
I was told that I would either love or hate New York. They were wrong. I loved it, hated it, loved to hate it and hated to love it. The raucus atmosphere of the city is intoxicating, but at the same time the starbucks on every corner rampant capitalism that typifies downtown disgusts me to the depths. The real highlight for me though was the people. New Yorkers are fantastic people, as diverse as they are, there seems a certain something that they all have. Its hard to find fault with their almost but not quite rudely abrupt, tell it like it is, manner; and once you see past that, there is a down to earth friendliness that is rare in the big cities of the world.