Now entering the last few months of her New York adventure, Claire Jackson opens her eyes to all that NYC has to offer for the last few times…Here is Notes from New York part nine,
One thing I’ve noticed since leaving New Zealand is that the months go by at a phenomenal rate. True, no faster than the rest of the world, but when time is of the essence, there never seems to be enough of it.
It certainly doesn’t seem like a whole month ago that I was in Philadelphia at Made in America festival. Unlike the festivals we see in New Zealand, namely Big Day Out and Rhythm and Vines, Made in America had seemingly been laid out with the intention that there would be no space between the crowds of each stage. Somehow, the sounds from each stage managed not to disrupt the others but it was certainly an experience attending an event that saw 120 thousand people over the two days, take place in the middle of a city. Despite the lack of space, standing in the sun listening to live music felt just how summer is supposed to feel. On top of round two of Phoenix for the year and a personal favourite of mine, Kendrick Lamar, Beyonce was certainly the highlight; impressive for both her talent, countless costume changes and super-human level of fitness!
It only took 72 hours to realise I was missing New York. The street crowds, the constant hum; it’s somewhat worrying to think that in a little over a month I will be leaving this metropolis for the peace of New Zealand summer (okay, so not all bad).
Knowing that my time here is drawing to an end, has forced me to explore the city and all its lesser-known treasures. While I still have a ton of tourist attractions on my to-do list, I have managed to tick off a couple of local gems. Somewhat by accident, as I was strolling to a late meeting at work, I found myself surrounded by the crowds of NYU students all leaving their classes for the day. The balmy evening sun kept a lot of them from hurrying to catch their various trains home. Following the flurries of people into Washington Square Park (somewhere I now place high on my must-see list), I park up on a grassy knoll watching the hubbub of students, skateboarders and squirrels, all enjoy this tucked away sanctuary.
Although such spots might be considered hidden gems for ignorant fellows such as myself, the crowds of people suggest otherwise. And there are more. The Williamsburg Flea Market, cleverly placed on the Brooklyn waterfront, is one of these. A treat only to be enjoyed on a Sunday off work (ideally in the sun), this market combines ethnic foods, vintage clothing and independent jewelers and designers. As I enjoy “mango on a stick”, looking out over East River at Manhattan, both my roommate and I concede that this city really is the shit. Even after 11 months, it takes your breath away.
For thousands of New Yorkers, September means one thing: Fashion Week. While the extent of my involvement only went as far as waiting behind queues of models for my lunch and concurring with all the wisdom of Bill Cunningham (yes Bill, I too am excited for the plaid fad!), I understand the importance of all this frivolity. I think now that if New York didn’t have fashion week, it would be the economic equivalent of New Zealand missing out on the America’s Cup (we’ll get it next time boys). I was however, fortunate enough to attend a wrap party for the week, complete with free alcohol and a performance by Hot Chip.
Now, as the leaves begin to turn, the time pressure for my various lists becomes increasingly pressing on my mind. Among other things, I look forward to bike rides through Central Park under a canopy of autumn, the madness of Halloween and (fingers crossed), one final go at ice-skating before I leave this grand and mighty apple.
What I wouldn’t learn as a tourist…
– Matinee sessions at the movies: Go to the movies before 11 and tickets are half price! Just like when I was a youngster…
– The weekend is the worst time to shop
– Queues are normal: Having walked past the campers outside the Apple store for the past week now, I have given up guessing what they are waiting for. The iPhone came out already didn’t it?
– You will often have a better time in a dive bar than at a roof-top club.
– The Drawing Room: Shout out to my mum here as I was only there picking up a catalogue for her. Just a block down from my work, the Drawing Centre is the perfect exhibition space for anyone in the city struggling to find some quiet and solitude. Who would’ve thought that all it takes is a clean, quiet, empty room – which even without the art is beautiful – to find some solace amid the madness