A spontaneous pedicab ride through Central Park – the highlight of a short trip to Manhattan.
The Tajikistani driver made the ride entertaining. Facts and silliness – he pointed to the lake in the park.
I asked, ‘what’s the name of the lake?’
‘The lake.’ He pulled out a map showing proof of the non-name.
The first person I ever met from the small Central Asian country of Tajikistan. Funny – knowledgeable – he rattled off a never-ending list of movies filmed in the park.
‘Over there – the rocks where ‘Elf’ had a snowball fight,’ he pedaled faster through the park, ‘and here’s the fountain from ‘Friends’.’
It was only a 20-minute ride, but it felt like we had taken a ‘vacation’ from the chaos of the city.
What is it to travel? Why go to a hot, crowded city – and stay in a 50-story hotel with only 2 crowded elevators – to be stimulated or frustrated?
Back in traffic – hot and sticky – but it’s New York in July – what do you expect?
Walking along Broadway, we peer into a church graveyard and see tombstones from the 1700s – history forgotten by the hurrying hoards.
Fearless Girl statue on Broad Street, in front of the NY Stock Exchange – they moved her a few blocks away from the Bull of Wall Street – the poor bull got scared!
Guggenheim – take elevator to top floor, then glide our way along the exhibits – down the spiral ramp. Kandinsky and Celia Vicuna (artist inspired by him) are on display. Soak up shapes and colours and lines and think about – what? Will I remember the name of any of the paintings? Nope.
Matisse’s Red Studio at MOMA – staring, wondering what was in his mind when he painted the entire contents of his studio – will never know.
High security to enter the United Nations building. I make my way to Chagall’s blue stained-glass Peace Window. 2 panels missing – too depressing to take a photo. But the council chambers were impressive – I could sense the residue of discussions and votes that had taken place in the space that morning.
Hike up the stairs of the Met – wander around an Egyptian temple, down the grand halls to absorb the effort of many. I scan hundreds of objects and artifacts and, if asked, I couldn’t name any of them. Except, the choir screen of the Cathedral of Valladolid. The only reason it has stuck with me is that I was told it was the Brandenburg Gate? I scratch my head – I’ll never forget this unique relic.
Choir Screen of the Cathedral of Valladolid
Making our way back to the hotel, we stop at the 9/11 Memorial – flowing fountains – sad but beautiful. People stand quietly, remembering. I wipe the sweat off my face – I’ve soaked up plenty of Manhattan, for now…