It has been a few months since I have gone on a journey outside of my state. On the flight there I could feel my heart racing for what was to come, the unknown adventure with endless possibilities. The times I have traveled I have realized the best way is to go with no expectations and allow the city to guide you.
There is no city that can compare to New York City. It is completely its own; a city of hustlers and doers that all cohabitate in crammed spaces trying to make their dreams come true. Numerous individuals living their lives and relentlessly moving forward.
The city makes you stronger, it teaches and challenges you. It is not an easy lifestyle. The ones that survive are a diverse spectrum of people with drive and desire. They all came to the city to follow their path, and they do so in rampant speed.
The life and energy in the city is so stimulating and continuous. A city that does not sleep does not even account for the fact that the city does not stop walking. While I was there, I realized my walking speed was not quick enough when people were passing me with the same aggression they give towards mothers with strollers.
91,100 steps in the span of 5 days, that is 44 miles!
Walking from the West Village, to the Hudson River, towards lower Manhattan by the World Trade, across the Brooklyn Bridge and to Dumbo. Gallivanting through Central Park, to Lincoln Center and to Lower East Side. Wandering through Coney Island with my old college friends and dancing upon graffiti walls. Making my way to the Cloisters in uptown Manhattan and all the way to Forrest Hills. These little legs have never felt more alive and happy to be constantly moving and grooving.
Time seems unreal because of the amount of visual stimulation and movement. You can never be bored.
The women I stayed with showed me the parts of the city they adore and the reasons for why it brings them so much joy. I got a tour of all their favorite places mixed with unexpected turns for tasty bites and coffee.
There are so many different areas in the city, with all their own charm. Each part is beautiful through its architecture and people. The city provides an area for every type of person. Bushwick was the grime, grunge and hipster area, a place made for Sonni.
For me, the most magical part would be Central Park. The only thing in my eyes that makes living in the city possible. We did yoga on Sheep Meadow upon the luscious grass as the tall buildings of the city surrounded us. Green trees encompass the meadow where we lay and the city watched from the outskirts of the park. So many movies and stories have taken place here, and as you walk through you can see it all come to life.
The city intrigues me. Metro rides brought me pure delight as I sat and stared at all the people wondering where they were going and how they got here. Accents, languages, hand gestures, the amount of diverse dialect are unaccountable.
Realizing we are all so different, and it is okay to be different, the city gives you permission to just stand out. Because being extra is never looked at as strange.
While standing out takes courage and bravery, so does performing your form of art. Art can be expressed in many ways and in all locations. From the metro ride, to Central Park, and to all the hole in the wall bars, talent is abundant.
I ended up at a show in a small bar where a girl I have only viewed in videos was performing. She told me about the event, which featured multiple artists singing. There was a band featuring a keyboardist, drummer, saxophonist, guitarist and bassist, and the singers would rotate after a few songs each. Each singer was better than the last. The entire show featured such astonishing talent, of people doing exactly what they are meant to be doing and you could feel it.
One of the girls that sang brought the room to silence. As she begun her solo, the entire bar went silent. No one moved, no one blinked. You could feel the entire bar going still to be able to hear every single note. She moved the microphone away so that she could project her voice into the room. She was singing from her soul and her voice could be felt by every person. The goose bumps washed over my entire body, and as all the hairs on my arm stood up they did not go down until I left. Camille Trust was the singer I came to see. Her voice captivated me through YouTube videos and I wanted to see her perform live. She was as saucy and energetic as I expected, but her energy in person was magnetic. When she was singing the entire room woke up and was dancing with her. The show was lively and had the whole bar dancing from their soul. It was music that makes you stop dead in your tracks and allow the groove to take over you.
Watching music is intimate; it is your connection with the band and you. When music makes you feel something, then the art was received. My entire trip was receiving different forms of art. I went to see The XX at a tennis stadium in Forrest Hills with my old college roommate. We watched the sun setting over the stadium as The XX performed. The colors of the show and the music entranced us. There was no better band and no better person for me to be experiencing this show with.
Then there were the performers in Central Park that just want you to hear or see them regardless of the venue they are at. The choose locations based on beauty and acoustics. All of the performers expressing their art and letting you receive it in anyway you feel.
Without the artists in the city, what kind of city would New York really be? The people and their passions are what make the city so enchanting.
No shoes are adequate enough for the volume of walking. And as hard as I tried, I always seemed to be so sweaty and dirty by the end of each day. My legs ached, and my feet were covered in blisters, but the drive for me to see it all and walk it all kept me going through. Personal space does not exist in such a crammed city and forces you to make connection. With the endless options of things to do, and so much going on I noticed that no one takes the time to look at their phone as much. This city is unlike anything else.
I have always liked the city when I have come to visit. But this trip I absolutely fell in love. Thank you to Suzie & Sonni for housing me and showing me all the parts of the city they love, because it allowed me to fall in love.