Hello, my fans!
When I came to NYC the first time in 2009 I was blown away by how friendly everybody was (on my first day I was struggling my suitcase up the stairs at the subway station. A man hurried up the stairs past me- stopped at the top- turned around- came down and carried my suitcase up for me. What a gentleman!). Now, during my months in the Midwest people there kept on telling me how rude people on the east coast are- especially compared to themselves (Midwestners are pretty friendly, I’ll give them that. Remember my best friend the Bank Lady?). I could not really understand this, as it did not match my impression: all I remembered was smiling faces all around. So I thought I’d pay a little extra attention to that now, to see who was right. I hate to admit that there was a small detail I overlooked in my first-time-NYC-euphoria in 2009: Almost without exception, the only strangers being nice to me in this city (if so), are men. That leads me to believe that it is not an east-coast-thing, but rather a biological thing, somehow more rooted in American east coast men than women. My bad.
Believe it or not, but people here keep on asking me for directions. I can hardly think of a greater compliment! Sometimes I even know the answer. That rocks. An even bigger compliment is to be asked about subway connections (knowing the subway map by heart takes a decent while of being here, like living here for reals), preferably without even having had eye-contact first. People seem to simply feel the need to adress me out of the blue because they seem to sense that I just must know everything about NY. Well, what can I say. Sometimes I even know the answer.
Today that happened again- and I had to smile to myself. Stupid tourists, it would have been so easy to recognize me as being one of them:
To cite Andy Dufresne: …But who does ever really pay attention to a (wo)man’s shoes.
I do hold the strong belief that pretty much no New Yorker would be seen walking around Manhattan in running shoes. From my discrete observations, 97% of the people in running shoes I’ve seen here are tourists. How I know? They will pull out a map at some point, lean over other people to check out the map on the wall, or simply ask me for directions (needless to say that I only steal short glances of my own map when I am positive no one is watching).
Besides walking around feeling like Tim Robbins on the loose, I also went to see the 9/11 memorial. That was something worth a visit.
Two pools where the WTC towers used to be.
The names just went on and on. They were arranged in such way that the people’s names related to each other, and/or who died close to another, were put next to each other.
New towers are built.
In the middle of it all, a beautiful and quiet park.
That was a weird feeling- so nice and calm surroundings, yet the underlaying knowledge that this is where thousands of people died. Gripping.
The Survivor Tree- I stood originally right here, and was crippled during the 9/11 attack. However, it was dug out, and it rebloomed. Now it has been brought back here, still growing.
As the child of nature that I am (at least sometimes), this moved me, too.
The admission to the memorial is for free. I do like the feeling though that the humble donation I made will contribute to rebuild the new WTC. Maybe paying for a door knob, or something.
Now it’s time to leave this city for a tiny while. Dad, I will do my best to not make a pit stop at Guantanamo on my way back.
Toronto tomorrow it is. Greyhound busses rock!!