The history of the site needs no retelling from me. The current state of the area is somewhat odd, however. There is the sound of constant construction as workers build up what was so suddenly destroyed, the ever crush of the multi-lingual and international crowd, the fleeting business suited man or woman hurrying to Wall Street. Perhaps most striking are the hoards of men selling brochures outlining the present and future of the site. It’s an unusual mix of tragedy, rebirth, and commerce.
From there we woosh up north to the Meat Packing district to walk above the city along the recently developed High Line.
The HL is a rails to trails project that takes delapated train lines and reimagines them as an elevated walkway. The sun is sweltering and the breeze infrequent, yet we watch the bustle beneath our feet and relish the shade when it overhangs and turn our faces to the passing winds when they blow.
Afternoon creeps slowly through the heat and some train and cab rides later we find ourselves in Crown Heights enjoying a cool happy hour drink and fresh wood stove pizza. When plates are pushed away and content sighs become stifled yawns, we finish the night with hugs and goodbyes.
With another New York morning comes the need for something extra, something…very New York. So Times Square it is.
We arrive to find the crush that was expected, the neon that flashes, the sheer enormity and ostentatiousness that is the City captured here. We walk past stores pumping cool air onto the sidewalks in an attempt to lure sweaty customers in. We avoid damp and shady costumed creatures offering hugs. We crane our necks, blink in the sun and glitz. We find a side street to escape the madness.
That escape comes first in the shape of two stone lions and the city library. The air conditioned rooms, high, ornately decorated ceilings, and the rows upon rows of books cool our bodies and calm our minds. The second escape is found in the six floors of modern art at MOMA where we see tomorrow with the Futurists and reflect in and on the pool full of water lilies.
But, like all visits, this one too must end. We gather our bags and tramp along sidewalks and up train platform steps to trundle and sway to JFK, where, as the sun sets and lights the sky on fire, we board a flight to Iceland.
(Photos by Katie Riley)