something has happened to new york since i was last here. the flaming heat and steam-room-like humidity have disappeared. maybe i imagined it all before. maybe i brought a bit of the west coast here with me. maybe, i’m just luckier now.
whatever it is, it’s making me wake up feeling completely relaxed but also too comfortable to want to spend the day exploring. but it’s in me. in my nature to want to walk through new streets and alleyways, to start and stop new conversations. and to feel that each day has given me something more.
and so i find myself walking. my intention was to head towards central park. where else could i go on a day when the sun is so inviting, so gentle in its rays? i can think of nothing better than to throw a towel on the grass, and bask in the afternoon light with a magazine and a panini; i could waste the day away in a tiny corner of the giant park.
but somehow, i find myself on the other side of town. i didn’t decide to walk to the lower east side this morning, as i have on many other days. i didn’t head towards anything specific.
there’s nothing i particularly love about this area, except the food. i’ve had the most fantastic french toast and pancakes, and a phenomenal burger with a deep fried bun. naturally, then, i continue my walk straight to the corner of avenue a and houston street waiting to get my hands on the famed pastrami sandwiches of katz’ deli.
even with my intense love of food, i know this won’t be enough today. the thick cuts of meat smoked with mustard seeds are phenomenal, almost melting the instant i bite into the sandwich, but within minutes the affair is over and i need to move on to something else.
and so i find myself walking, again. my eyes catch a glimpse of a sign directing me to the manhattan bridge and i blindly follow it like a pilgrim heading towards plymouth. confused on how to ascend the pedestrian path, i turn to a street vendor that looks like he’s been selling squashed avocados and mangos for a lifetime, but he has no idea where to send me. he is oblivious to what is around him; he only cares about how many oranges his neighboring cart sells.
finally, my phone helps me figure it out. thinking this might be the most glamourous of the three bridges connecting manhattan and brooklyn, i soon realize the name is deceiving. the bridge itself is littered with unattractive graffiti on the small pathways. there’s nothing artistic in the spray painted works, they look more like visual noise than creative bursts.
but then the view from atop the bridge forces me to come to a stop. an uninterrupted horizon reaches out to the magnificent manhattan skyline. on this clear day, with only a couple vanilla colored cotton candy like clouds passing above, the east river is glittering as if the kohi noor and the cullinan diamond are fighting for attention at the bottom of the banks. steel structures are bursting into the sky. they were built to be appreciated on days like this.
and so i ignore the single dirty sock in the corner and for the rest of the two mile walk, all i can see is blue, sharp and piercing silver hughes, and traces of green parks reflecting into the water and sky. my eyes are feasting on this sight as i try desperately to capture it in my memory. words don’t do it justice, and neither does the lens of a camera. the apex of nature converging with someone’s imagination brings to life a new kind of beauty that i haven’t felt before.
i walk into the streets of brooklyn and leave it all behind me. i blink my eyes shut for a brief moment, to realize the feeling lingering is forever inside me now. i need to make this serenity last longer and so i continue the rest of my day on foot, walking, finding myself in new areas, and finding… myself.