I am so glad the weekend is here! My next few days are pretty full, but luckily, there are lots of nice, relaxing elements involved. My mom, sister and I are getting massages that we all got each other for Christmas and birthdays, and we have a family brunch planned for tomorrow. And I’ll be running at some point—our race is a few weeks away and I’ve only squeezed in four runs, so far! But I’m not worried. рџ‰
This week seemed to be chock full of awesome NYC photos. A few days ago I stumbled upon the one above. An Expedition 35 crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station shot it on March 23; NASA recently posted it on its site. It’s truly amazing how clearly the gridded streets are lit up. And I love how easily you can spot Central Park and the riot of lights that is Times Square.
It’s funny; I can’t recall ever seeing another shot taken from this angle before. The clarity is astounding, and I love how you can see both sides of the island from downtown all the way up to my ‘hood, near the George Washington Bridge. Plus, it’s crazy just how much higher up this building is—it’s towering so far above all the others.
New York was the magic city. New York was Oz. All I wanted to do was to get out of Brooklyn and get into Oz.
Replace “Brooklyn” with “Queens,” and that was basically my mindset throughout my tween and teen years in the ’90s. I looked forward to the day when I’d live in Manhattan and didn’t have to take a long bus ride and multiple subways to get downtown—or be beholden to the LIRR schedule. (Bayside, where I lived, is pretty far out!) I pictured myself working for a magazine in midtown and taking dance classes at Broadway Dance Center at night. I saw myself living in Williamsburg or the East Village. I imagined I’d goВ shopping in SoHo and hang out in coffee shops in the West Village on the weekends. And go clubbing until 5 a.m.—because who doesn’t dream about going clubbing until 5 a.m. when they’re 15?
Some of that stuff turned out similarly to the way I’d envisioned—though by the time I actually moved to Manhattan, I found hipster neighborhoods less appealing, SoHo to be too expensive and tourist-filled for shopping. And I really had no desire to go clubbing until 5 a.m.!
But one thing that I predicted, with 100% accuracy, was that Manhattan was where I belonged. I’m more at home here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived or visited. Even after all these years, I still feel like it’s the “magic city.” Every day, I can feel the city buzzing with the excitement and energy of endless possibilities—and I don’t think that’ll ever get old. I’m amazed that my younger self was able to pick up on that during my family’s sporadic trips to “the city”!
Did you grow up in NYC? What’s your memory of childhood here?
Back in 2009, native New Yorker Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from top to bottom. Along the way, she handed out blank maps of the borough, along with stamped envelopes bearing her address. Her request to recipients: Fill in the map with your experience of Manhattan. Tons of people obliged; weeks later, Cooper was inundated with personalized maps.
In my humble opinion,В few things are asВ quintessentially NYC as MetroCards. They’re literally your keys to the city, allowing you to travel pretty huge distances (e.g. my Washington Heights apartment to Coney Island) with a single swipe.
In this city of nearly 9 million people, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who enjoys commuting. Yet it’s something we do every day, cramming into packed subway cars and scurrying through a vast network of underground tunnels.
That’s why I’m loving this video of NYC commuters being greeted by a cheering crowd at the Times Square subway station. For years, on my way to and from work, I trudged up and down that same steep ramp connecting the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R and Q to the A, C, E. This occurred at the end of the day, but boy, would I have loved this during one of my morning commutes!
I haven’t seen any mentions of the group behind this, so if you know, please tell me—I’d like to thank them for brightening a lot of peoples’ days!
I never saw stars until I was 20 years old. As a kid in Queens, I sometimes glimpsed the occasional one or two, but never a sky filled with them. It wasn’t until I was camping in the Australian Outback, during a college semester abroad, when I saw a night sky completely lit up with countless stars. The sight both wowed and shocked me—until that night, it had never dawned on me that I’d never anything like it before.
That’s why I’m loving Thierry Cohen’sВ “Darkened Cities.”В The French photographerВ juxtaposes photos of, well, darkened cities, with the night skies of less populated areas along the same latitude. So this is NYC with stars from the Nevada desert. If we didn’t have so many bright lights, that’s what we might see, every evening. (NYTimes.com has a gorgeous gallery featuring several other cities from the project, including Paris, Rio and Hong Kong.)
And speaking of stars, check out this brilliantВ StoryCorps video—it’s sad, sweet, funny and inspiring!