We are finally on the train out of NYC. It was 17 minutes late which is not too uncommon as we understand. NYC has been a polarizing experience. On one hand it is the centre of the western universe and on the other it's the complete end of the earth. We saw both ends.
We didn't actually stay in NYC but could just about see it from where we stayed. We had an Airbnb in the old neighborhood in New Jersey just across the Hudson River in a suburb called West New York. We met with the owners daughter, Patsy. Her mum had a knee operation and couldn't handle the stairs any more but was obviously not wanting to sell just yet. You could tell the house had been in the family for many years. It was a sort of cool place but dated. I did feel like I was in an American sitcom or movie set. I have seen so many of these 'brown stones' but never been in one until now. The neighborhood was a mix of Cuban Mexican and other Latino cultures. No one spoke English on the streets but I am sure they could. I was keen to chat to people but we must have looked too white as people didn't even make eye contact when we passed them on the street.
It was a 15 minute bus ride into the port authority bus station in NYC and from there we could connect to the subway and the rest of the city. So much has changed in NYC from our last visit, but the subway is not one of those things. If I were to comparing the New York subway to others we have been on in Japan, Asia and Europe I would have to say it's pretty crappy... It might be because everything is tiled in white resembling a giant dirty public toilet or it could just be that it's pretty much covered in litter but I think the real reason is just because it's really old (and by default, shitty) Having said that it still works and gets you where you need to go somewhat on time.
We rode the subway to near where we wanted to go to and did a bit of shopping here and there. We walked the length of Central Park on Sunday which was Father's Day here in the USA. It was busy with open air concerts and lots and lots of dads out with children everywhere. The park is nice and very well maintained but it looks like it is getting loved to death with a lot of areas roped off for regeneration. Over 8,500,000 people live in New York City. If only a small number of them used the park it would still be a big number. We also visited some of the nicer areas of the city and were able to see the 'beautiful people' walking around in the designer clothing. For the young ladies, yoga paints seam to be the clothing item of choice although I didn't notice a gym on every street corner...
We tried to find a reason we would want to live in New York as we were wondering around. We get it that some people get sent there to work or go there as a stepping stone in work opportunities but really to go willingly seems a bit strange. Sure it has 'everything' and never sleeps, but at what cost. As we walked past the mansions bordering Central Park I couldn't help but feel they were more like prisons than houses. I looked at the real estate app to see the row of brown stone houses worth between 15 and 25 million dollars but right outside the front door was trash blowing along the street and a constant echo of cabs tooting horns. I think I could do better if I had the options these people obviously have. But, New York is New York. At one time it was a beautiful place and to a small group of still is. To most I am sure it is a means to an end.
So, the train being late was just a New York minute really and we lived it like everyone around us. Gave me an opportunity to write this though!
it's Our Epic Trip...
David & Christine are from New Zealand and are embarking on a trip around the world the slow way, on foot and by personal vehicle. This could get interesting!