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Some things NYC September 11, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation, image, sport.
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My visit to New York City over the weekend was rather different from my previous 3 visits ( excluding transit ) where were mostly about ‘checking out’ the various landmarks, either by myself during vacation or taking parents around. This was a single point agenda – The US open. Although I would have preferred to watch the men’s final, I managed to get the tickets for the women’s final – Henin Vs Kuznetsova. Quite an experience, especially given that it was my first time being present to watch a live sporting performance of any significance.

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Each time you visit NYC, you see new things and you hear new sounds (to sound like a foreigner who is speaking about India :p) . Like this time two short Mexican guys who just walked into the train, played some really cool latino music ( so Goan actually ) and made good bucks in between train stops, when its time to hop onto another coach. Much like previous visits, I walked around a lot – but this time looking for used book shops, lying down in the parks reading something, feeding on peaches, cherries and apples from the farmer’s market at Union square. All those green places, the so many parks in Manhattan – just lie down somewhere in Central Park and you are completely oblivious to all that chaos out there – hats off to the New Yorkers. I remember reading about some part of the newly released textile mill land in Bombay which some citizens want turned into urban spaces – I am absolutely for such an idea.

Then there are some weird things like coming out of an underground subway station to find yourself completely disoriented about the four directions. Of course, this likely happens elsewhere but identical (to an untrained eye) square blocks of Manhattan take it to the extremes. And then finding thousands of boards with notices that sign off as “By order from Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City” …I wonder if all those boards have to be repainted when the mayor changes ! Most places just mention the designation.

Like many people I know, I love visiting NYC, but don’t see myself living there. People talk of big cities/urban centers as modern, fast, lot of privacy that the countryside does not bring. I am not sure, for I think NYC has more anonymity, but less privacy. Those little spaces, many of which are really carved out of what used to be just one big house, sharing kitchens and bathrooms with several random folks. Its okay as part of the single, young, college-going chaotic bunch, but not later in life. I know its more about personal preferences and upbringing, much like some of the Mumbaites would give anything to get out of Bombay and several outsiders would only consider short visits.

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