Saturday, 19 September 2015

New York, New York

First morning awakening in New York. Out our window is the start of the Williamsburg Bridge, so close it obscures the view of anything bar the people/cyclists/cars and trains crossing it below our room. And yet surprisingly quiet, so I've slept well.

We flew into JFK, on a journey that was beautifully sunny, reaching the American coastline somewhere around New England and following it south. As we came down to land the individual houses below, set apart from each other and constructed of wooden timbers painted white and so different from the bunched up houses and streets of the UK, immediately set the scene. Stepping off the plane we were greater with warm air, and as we got our cab into the city the colours in the late day Sun seemed a little brighter, the air cleaner, the colours brighter. I have my honeymoon head on, I know, but it was lovely to be greater by such good weather.

As we finally approached the city the iconic skyline was backed by an incredible sunset. Photos taken on my phone from a moving taxi didn't do it a great deal of justice and, to be honest, I think by the time I considered taking a photo after just soaking up the visual effect I'd maybe have missed the best opportunity. I figure people know what the skyline of New York looks like, or can at least identify the Empire State and Chrystler buildings, but seeing the icons in real life, lit up against a darkening orange and pink dusk, there was no way I'd capture that moment so gave up trying to line up a blurry image through my camera phone and enjoyed the view unobscured.

Crossing over the water into the city proper, the sky now a deep blue, we sat in traffic for another 10-20 minutes, stll afforded glimpses of a much closer skyline and potential photo opportunities as we crept along the bridge. Although the city felt much more like London than the general American landscape represents the British one, the soundtrack of passing radio stations, most noteably the sounds of US radio hosts, immediately reminded we were in this strange fascinating world I've only really witnessed in film, TV and games like GTA before. It didn't take long to aclimbatise, but it's impossible to escape the sensation of being in a world I've spent 40 years only witnessing on a screen, a world that's pretty much been peopled by fictional characters. In many ways it's like stepping into a modern day fairy tale, allowing for the fact I always knew these tales had a real world grounding.

After watching Neil Patrick Harris presenting a show modelled so much on Saturday Night Takeaway that Ant and Dec appeared in it (but so much better because, hell, Neil Patrick Harris) we spent the evening wandering, trying to keep awake in order to better. Carol showed me the area she used to work in, and walked us up Wall Street, then after a quick bite to eat in a TGI Friday (suspicially quiet for a Friday Night) we headed back to the waterfront from where could see the Statue of Liberty. We walked around a bit more - it's greener and feels more open than I was expecting, with the sounds of crickets coming from every bush or shrub - and then got a taxi back with a driver with no idea where we were going. One thing that I noticed, something I've read about, and seen depicted in New York inspired art and photography, is the constant desire to just look upwards at the building. Apparently looking upward is a really touristy thing to do, but it's difficult not to constantly look up in awe.

Having a lazy morning so far. I have to say, American ads are pretty damn cool.

Will try to upload some pictures today. We forgot to pick up plug adaptors at the airport, so had to buy some whilst we were out in order to recharge our phones (we didn't get the chance on the plane). I imagine we'll look super touristy.

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