Our relatively spontaneous trip to New York in January (the result of stars aligning – cheap flights, accommodation with friends, an intense desire to see New York City) still sometimes feels like it was just last week. My own expectations were so high, I never thought the place could live up to them. But as is always the way with these things, it sneaks up with you in ways you don’t anticipate, even as some things seem muted when you see them up close for the first time.
On our first day, after the Times (and the map), we made our way into the city. The Flatiron was our first point of interest. What we didn’t expect was the dazzling display of hanging, hand-painted coffee cups. They added immensely to the sense of occasion, and my excitement went into overdrive. The buildings, reflected in the glass, and visible through the glass hammered home that we were in the city of the skyscraper; we felt right at home.
We then covered a lot of ground on foot. We headed past the New York Public Library (we looked inside on another day), craned our necks up at the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center, before we arrived at MOMA.
As we wandered about, we enjoyed the inside of the building as much as the art.
At the end of the day, we wandered back to Times Square. Because everyone has to go to Times Square. Don’t they? Even if they don’t, we did. And it was awful. And crass. And overrated. And most of all, it was awesome.
Some reflections on my first day in NYC (CIA had been before, and was lucky enough to visit again since!) only cement how much this city means to my imagination. In the end, it also affirms my sense of optimism. If New York is possible, almost anything is.