Monday, December 31, 2007

DAY 27 - randomly walking NYC - 27th Dec

I woke up late cause couldn't sleep, got woken up during the night by a very loud street and people coming back to the hostel very late, but that's what you get when you share a room with 8 people. The hostel was situated in mid-town, very handy with only a 2 block walk to times square, i guess which is the centre of NYC.

The day was very wet and quite cold. The rain was misty and light but just didn't stop. I didn't really have a plan for the day so I just started walking. I walked up 8th avenue through the entire theatre district all the way up to Carnegie hall, which was a tad ugly on the inside. I'm sure it's all pretty on the inside but I couldn't manage to get tickets to the last concert for the year and the only on in the period I'm in NYC.

I headed down to 8th Ave and 38th St to have lunch at the village 38, which was cheap and very filling. I kept walking along 38th through the garment district which was full of material stores with my personal favourite, Spandex World. The NY Public library was just up ahead and they are currently having an exhibition on Beat writer and pioneer Jack Kerouac. I just wish I was more well read and actually knew some beat literature. Anyhoo, the library is quite awesome, very classic design.

About 2 blocks from the library was the Grand Central Terminal, so much has been said about it but personally I was a tad disappointed. It just didn't seem as grand as I thought it would be. But it was still pretty cool.

Another few blocks up was the Rockefeller centre It's a huge collection of buildings, stores, with an ice rink and a huge Christmas tree to top it off. Pedestrian traffic here is insane. I thought Shanghai would be the only city to have that kind of pedestrian traffic, but like whoa. It was a human sea, elbow to elbow and you had to bump people out of the way to get anywhere. I absolutely loved it, just being around so many people.

Back from Rockefeller, I went through 37th street which was literally diamond alley, lined to the hilt with jewellery stores and diamond dealers. It was like a piece of Dubai stuck in the middle of Manhattan.

Times square at night is possibly brighter than it is at daytime. There is an aura of bright white light which emanates from the square it's visible many streets down. I walked into the 2 level M & Ms store, marvelled at it's level of commercial crassness and use the 2nd level windows to take pictures of the humongous Rambo billboard which was up. I seriously love this city.

I went down to 32nd St for dinner at a Korean (buffet by the pound, presumably they have a buffet, you pick your food and they weigh it $6.49/lb). I quickly realised that 32nd st was Korea town. Manhattan is funny in away, everything, every culture is condensed down to one street or a series of streets. Every avenue also has it's own flavour and culture. It's a society of amalgamation, a cultural hot pot of goodies around the world.

The streets are also covered with these steel doors on the pavement, you think they're just grills but in fact they lead to the cellar of every street store and all the deliveries are made down this front hatch every morning and every night. In crowded and competitive environments humanity invents ways of meeting its needs and economy.

I guess that's why I've totally fallen in love with this city so quickly. It doesn't bother me at all that the streets are dank, the subways filthy and funky smells come from everywhere. But it's seriously global, it's smart, hip and very cool. I'd like to think of myself as somewhat a global citizen and since I got here I've realised I've developed a NYC swagger. The minute I stepped out onto the streets, I felt like this could be home. It's FANTASTIC and London watch out cause New York could become my next fav city.

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