Fly like paper, get high like planes

I didn’t think it was possible to love a city more than I loved Sydney. But maybe it is.

I am still working that one out.

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Mark was a visiting academic at New York University this past semester, and spent most of September to December living in Brooklyn. I managed to get over to see him for a couple of weeks in November, my first trip to New York City.

About half way through my stay, Mark asked me what I thought of the city. I said that it feels like the centre of the world. And it really does.

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After New York, nowhere else feels like it really matters.

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It is immense and multi-dimensional. Everything everywhere is loud and moving and bright and fast. But if you get tired of that you can find peace and quiet: you can go to Greenpoint and sit on the wharf and look across the water to a gleaming view of Manhattan, you can go to a dark little bar in Bed-Stuy and drink bourbon, you can find a bench in Central Park and watch the squirrels rummage through the carpet of red leaves, you can wander the industrial streets of Bushwick admiring the huge graffiti murals, you can go to the Frick collection and find the little Vermeers, hung unassumingly in the hallway, opposite an eye-catching Renoir.

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There is always a surprise in New York. Even when you think you know what you are getting into, there is always a surprise. Brooklyn’s beautiful brownstones, strolling unexpectedly across that iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge, rye whisky flavoured with rosemary in a Williamsburg bar, Hans Holbein’s portraits of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, hung staring across at each other on either side of the fireplace at the Frick collection, looking back part way across the Brooklyn Bridge to the stunning Manhattan skyline, a singalong to Hey Jude at the Imagine mosaic at Strawberry Fields, the memorial garden Yoko Ono created for John Lennon after his death, the incredible beauty and grandeur of Grand Central, and, perhaps best of all, the moment in the MOMA when we came around the corner to find Van Gogh’s The Starry Night hanging before us, brighter and more glorious than anything else in the room (I might have cried just a little bit).

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