New York. Labelled one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world. Not only is it known for its unique life-style and culture, but also could be contemplated as the most honest city on the planet- as I soon discovered New York certainly has no false smile plastered on its face. The dark alleys will turn you the opposite way with one glance, and the beautiful skyline will draw you in like gravity. A rawness no other city contains.
The darkness of the New York sky compared to the dazzling signs and lights is a powerful contrast- one that will leave you stood blinking in awe. As I roamed freely down Broadway, past dusk, it instantly provided me with sights that I wouldn't generally witness in my own neighbourhood- from glamorous business women dressed head-to-toe in couture- to an unshaven homeless man, scraping his dimes and nickels with glove covered hands.
Yes, it has reached that time of the year- the leaves have fallen from every branch of every tree, leaving them bare and empty, unlike the cluttered streets of Manhattan. The leaves have coated central park in a golden blanket, crunching beneath my Ugg boots as I persevered on my discovery of New York.
A subtle chill in the air resulted in me finding the nearest little boutique to purchase a fashionable jacket. As I wondered around the streets for at least 40 minutes, I realised I might have been lost- New York is like a labyrinth, it's hard to know where you are- yet somehow you always find your way out. The cleverly structured avenues are easy to figure out once you grasp how the numbering works.
Eventually I discovered a hidden gem called The Brownstone Boutique on 24 East 125th Street. Luckily for me, the lantern shaped fairy-lights confirmed that it was still open, so I entered with my purse and eyes wide open.
As I tottered in, I was welcomed with a soft female voice: “Welcome to Brownstones, can I help you with anything?” I walked forward, scanning the boutique as I moved. Something else I have noticed about New York- you can’t judge anything by its outside appearance, that also goes for restaurants, clubs and even apartments, something that is just made purely out of bricks from the outside can look like a palace when you enter.
After paying for a denim jacket that I considered to be a reasonable price at $23, I continued through the concrete streets of New York. Walking around the crowded avenues, you tend to observe minor details that make the city so unique- for example- the speed at which everyone travels is fascinating, it is quite unlikely that you will view somebody walking down a busy street at a relaxed rate. The citizens seem to be as fast paced as the city itself.
Increasing my speed as I make my way through Manhattan, a sudden gust of wind hits me when I finish passing an absurdly grand sculpture- the chill seeps into my bones and shakes me-I should have bought a bigger jacket. Passing the streets, people tend to mind their own business and go about their own ways like they are living the most important day of their life.
A young girl catches my eye, walking hastily with her head down, I assume she walks the streets daily with empty pockets, even so, she still manages to lift her head slightly to give me a weak smile as we brush shoulders.
The smell of hot salted pretzels swiftly moved beneath my nostrils as I passed a food stand, quickly reminding me that I hadn't eaten yet- naughty New York, distracting me from feeding time. I purchased a pretzel at $1- the size of my head- with chunks of salt sprinkled all over. My cholesterol raised suddenly after one bite. Though once I tasted it, I knew it was worth it. I suppose I better learn to walk and eat at the same time as long as I'm here.
Another interesting sight I've experienced while being here, is how many people-usually those dressed in smart business suits- power walk while eating out of their breakfast cereal-to-go pots. Burning it off the meal as they move-smart idea- no wonder they managed to land themselves a high corporate job.
If you've ever been lucky enough to have visited New York, you will know that when you cross the roads, you're playing a game of chicken. Starring at the walking man sign, waiting for it to light- as it does you cross- however you shouldn't expect immediate safety, those yellow taxi cabs still come swinging around the corner in a disregardful manner- just as if the vehicles speeding through New York represent the anger and aggression the city carries.
After about 20 minutes of aimlessly wondering around, I have reached Times Square. Each individual light blinds me as I scan my surroundings. Continuous flashes and dazzling colours hit you like a 1000 bolts, never had I felt so alive and energetic in one place all on my own. Though I advise you not to stand still too long in one place- unless you want to be battered back and forth like a ping pong ball- stop for no more than 5 seconds.
So at that very moment, I elected Times Square as the most inspirational place in New York City, maybe even America.
Nothing is staged, everything is authentic. The group of adolescents crowded outside of Virgin Megastores- forcing their music on to passers-by, ambition and hope twinkling in their eyes- because with that and their talent, it's all they've got. The teenage girl, who walks the streets so mean, shooting bitter looks at every male that dares to glance in her direction- heartbreak. Yes New York can be a city of big dreams that will praise you when you work hard- yet it will kick you when you're down- usually depending on which neighbourhood you wonder into.