MANHATTAN’S streets I saunter’d, pondering,
On time, space, reality—on such as these, and abreast with them, prudence.
If there's any city in the world that can make you feel the full force of the it-ness of life, it's New York. While it may not be so different from Delhi; where several million people are also piled into a pocket and roam the streets every day looking to make a living, or Paris, where one can walk through a history of achievements of civilisation, not only in its museums and galleries but in the architecture on its streets too. Or London, with its hipsters and bankers and builders sitting on park benches together and where the quickest way to travel is underground.
But what makes New York so different is the people; Here are 8 million of them all on top of one another on a tiny island, filled with hotdog stands and big yellow taxis (as if there isn't enough space already) and it's often freezing cold, or sweating hot and not unusually, smelly. But unlike in so many other cities, New Yorkers can't hide behind big gated driveways or in their cars; there is no such thing as privacy, they're out in the open, and might as well embrace it. And they do. If you're looking good on the street, a stranger will say so. If the lady serving in Smiley's deli loves your shoes, she'll tell you, and if a Brooklyn queen on the subway is worried about the visibility of his 'stress zit', he'll ask you. If you jog someone on a corner they might say "sorry!" or "watch out asshole!", but at least it's a response. If you catch eyes with someone on the subway, you're likely to get a smile. Some people are happy and some people are grumpy, but everyone has integrity. And there are so many fights! I saw several fights a day; cab drivers and valets, mothers and children, buskers and bankers, lovers, friends, sisters ... all yelling and arguing and getting it out. It was amazing. I could happily have sat on any street corner for hours and just watched the human zoo parade forth.
And often, I did.
Most of my time in New York was spent in continuous awe, so here's a shot of me in the Met, looking suitably awe-stricken.
I've got so many photos to sort through, I don't know where to begin. But no more words from now on, just pictures,