29.10.12

NYC Ghosts and Flowers

I never really understand what happens when I get to New York. An invisible energy goes into me and I buzz through my time there at a million miles an hour without a moment to contemplate all the images, memories, people, senses, and emotions that boil together in the soup of experience that is walking those frenetic streets.

My brother said to me 'you make it hectic'

Maybe thats true, but there is also an energy there that's palpable. New York is also a muddled palimpsest of memories for me, every neighbourhood, subway line, and flavour of bagel has something to associate it with and makes each movement a surge of thoughts that mix up with the present and confuse the past.

I remember reading that the local Native Americans considered Manhattan a sacred island, formed of bedrock, sticking out into the bay and hugged by two rivers as it sat there like a steady glacier. A large rock formation that held underneath it the rest of the planet and on top of it a crown of buildings with golden lights flickering at night and sneezing jewelled bridges across to other pieces of land.

New York is like one of those lovers you can't help be obsessed with even though you know they are really unhealthy for you emotionally, but the electric charge of being together is worth the burn out when you are apart and you realise that it could never really be long-term.

The city is a walking theatre, a waking psychotic episode, each person manages to be a huge personality and they all somehow fit into the rush hour subway car while competing mariachi bands and break-dancers clear space for some change.

Random conversations with strangers about my tree tattoo, the presidential election, parking regulations, the best coffee. Union Square with public chess playing, Hare Krishnas,  political slogans in chalk, kids on skateboards and hippies with guitars. Times Square with hoards of tourists, dressed up cartoon characters aggressively requesting photos for money (I was told Elmo had been arrested on a number of occasions in full costume), police side by side with them as a tourist attraction... I cant even see the ads, all I see is a blur of light, was the New Years ball always that tiny?

I stayed at my brother's in Sugar Hill, Harlem. History and future rolled into one, amazing brownstones, gentrification, the local bodega that carried every item I brought back from Colombia as gifts.... oh well.

At night the white noise... It never really gets quiet. The white noise always buzzes... It never really gets dark, the sky a golden orange... I saw some stars though. I did.

How many things can you do in one day in New York? More than you can cram in most cities, the place is built for movement and efficiency... Its truly exhausting. And exhilarating. Every one should live there for a while, work its flow, walk its streets, meets its people and see what cosmopolitan truly is. But as Kurt Vonnegut said: 'Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.'

I guess thats why I did....

I love you New York...

You drive me crazy...


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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