The city looms from the tiny plane window. Like a lego town gone rogue, New York City sprawls it’s seemingly block like self for as far as we can see. We descend over Brooklyn, catch sight of the city across the East River and we touch down in Queens. Stepping into the summer of the city and the New York heat assaults us, sweat beads on foreheads, oppressive, hot fingers press down on our bodies. We’ve arrived. We’ve only just begun.
A cab picks us up and drops us off in Park Slope, a section of Brooklyn. The vibe is NYC, but lacks the frantic need for identity that seems to embody so much of the City. We walk and stop for a bite to eat and a good and cold beer. The whole time the sidewalks are busy with people; people with strong accents, people speaking a myriad of languages and wearing a myriad of styles. It is our jumping off point, our home base, and we already begin to recognize places: Cafe Regular with the pictures of rock stars of the 70s or the 4th Ave/9th St train stop. Like all travelers we begin to center in, remaining eager for the bold and new yet yearning for a sense of the familiar.
That evening we head into a tunnel full of a still and sweltering heat. As trains not our own brush past we are reminded of the breeze above, but find those moments of respite only too brief. At last, our train arrives and we board to be trundled and swayed to the St. Marks neighborhood of Manhattan.
We walk and wait for the personality of the area to reveal itself to us. Bar windows open to the streets, smoke shops send lazy fingers of incense smoke onto the sidewalk and we walk through and breath deep and watch the city breath along with along with us.
(Photos by Katie Riley)