Photo courtesy of PacHD
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to New York. I’m not even sure exactly why, but I’ll try to explain.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and I lived in Japan for two years. I’ve had the opportunity to see and do some amazing things, from visiting the Great Wall of China to hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, to marveling at Niagara Falls. I’m always interested in the travel stories of others, whether from Scunthorpe or Stockholm, Rugby or Riga, Luton or Lima. But when someone tells me that they have been to New York I am always so much more interested than I am in hearing about anywhere else and intensely jealous at the same time.
I’ve been to the States three times but have never been to New York. When I tell people about my desperate desire to go they generally enthuse about how great it is and encourage me to hop on a plane as soon as possible. But a trip there is something I’d need to plan properly because there is so much I want to see. I haven’t even met that many people from New York: once through work I met someone who was actually born in Manhattan and I wanted to break into song.
One of the reasons I want to go is because there is no other place which feels so familiar to me that I have never been to. New York is in so many films, in the news so much, in so many songs, that it feels like I have already been. I suppose the other reason is that my passion for it means that I have read so many guidebooks about it. I even once watched a programme on the construction of the New York subway, so I must be quite a fan! Another reason is that I think that in my mind along with London, New York is the other truly world city. Not the biggest by a long chalk, and not even indisputably the best (I come from Brighton so need to stick up for it). But in terms of the many cultures and peoples that they contain, their outlook and their global perspective, I can’t think of anything else to match. In terms of multiculturalism the closest I have come is Toronto, which I loved but didn’t have the restless energy I feel in London and am sure I would feel in New York. I also am fascinated by New York as a safe haven for immigrants dreaming of a better life. I can’t wait to see Ellis island and imagine what it must have been like for them. My current ideas are certainly too influenced by Gangs of New York, so I think I need to do some research!
I have stored up a great many things that I want to see. Aside from the obvious ones like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Central Station and Central Park, there are others I am desperate to go to like Coney Island and the High Line park. I want to walk through all the different neighbourhoods: to go to Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy, Brooklyn.
Being a bit of a foodie there are a million things I want to try. I want to go to Katz’s Deli, Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, to eat a dirty-water dog, to have a slice of New York pizza, another slice of cheesecake, to drink egg creams (though I have done so in New York, New York hotel in Vegas).
I want to wander around for days and get lost and just soak everything up. It would also be my dream to do something useful while I am there. Perhaps to visit a few charities in New York to talk to them about young trustees and other governance issues, or supporting smaller charities. Or to attend a conference or seminar or volunteer somewhere.
One day my friends…..