Reminiscing: New York City

One of my favourite memories from my time spent in New York was the day I wondered around markets and walked along the High Line.

The High Line is an old railway line that runs along part of the city. On one side you have city life and on the other are views of the Hudson River. I remember finding a bar along the way that served drinks out of jam jars. I was very excited by this so we bought a couple of drinks and sat out in the beer garden.

It was fascinating seeing the old rail tracks amongst newly planted trees.

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The lift up to the top of the Rockerfella was very fast. The views of New York from way up there were incredible. I looked over the busy city and couldn’t quite believe where I was standing. The lights of all the surrounding buildings glistened and the sound of the traffic hummed below us.

We chose to go up the Rockerfella as opposed to the iconic Empire Estate Building because we had heard that you could see more of New York. It certainly did not disappoint and I am glad I was able to view such a lively city from above.

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To explore Central Park we rented bikes and Siobhan and I thought it would be funny to rent a tandem. Weaving in between the numbers of people on other bikes and on foot was a difficult task and we did get the odd frustrated bystander yell words of abuse at us. This did not stop us from laughing along, screaming apologises as we wobbled our way around the cycle paths. We saw the Alice in Wanderland statue, ducks swimming in the ponds and turtles lying on the rocks.

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Whilst I was in New York I also went to a Yankees game. I am no baseball follower so I had no real understanding of the rules but just the atmosphere and the view of the pitch itself was great. I remember walking into the stadium all wide eyed and excited.

I think our excitement was what gained us free ticket entry to the VIP area and a chance to appear on the big screen. My face got on the big screen at a Yankee’s game – still cannot believe that!

I ate buttery popcorn and cheered as though I was some supportive Yankee fan.

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I went to many museums but the one I enjoyed the most was the International Center of Photography. One of my favourite installations was a collaboration between photographers Michael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse.

The piece was a photographic investigation into the lives of people living in the iconic 54 story Ponte City residential tower in Johannesburg. The photographers had gone into everyone’s homes in the 54 story building and taken a photograph of their television screen, the residents within their homes and their doors. Each project was displayed within a tall light box which complimented the images due to the many silhouetted figures that were featured in the Windows, Ponte City, 2009 piece. It also worked well with the Televisions, Ponte City, 2008 piece because it made the images feel more like mini television screens. The Doors, Ponte City, 2009 piece didn’t necessarily need the light box but as a set it worked well.

Another great piece was by a man named Sohei Nishino. He produces huge diorama maps of his exploration of different cities using a 35mm film camera, yes FILM! He shoots up to 10,000 pictures during his month long journey on foot throughout entire cities. It was absolutely amazing and I aspire to one day produce something as spectacular as that.

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On entering the site to the 9/11 memorial I was immediately overwhelmed. The huge waterfalls that mapped out the foundations of where the buildings used to stand allowed you to reflect on what happened.

Even the sound of the waterfalls made you feel detached from the city. It was as though they drowned out the hustle and bustle of city life, allowing you to really think about the people who lost their lives that day.

I was also shocked to discover that a tree had managed to survive such a disaster. The stump of the tree was found by workers amongst the wreckage. They removed it and New York City park nursed it back to health. In March 2010, the tree was uprooted by severe storms and still managed to pull through yet again. Then in December 2010, the tree returned to the World Trade Centre plot. As the guide pointed out, the tree really does embody the story of survival and resilience.

Sorrow – is what I felt.

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I also remember eating mango from a stick as I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. That was some delicious mango.

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New York is a fabulous place.

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