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New York, New York

At last, something to write about. Its not that life Prague does not offer anything to write about, its just that my inspiration can’t extend to anything other than the slow progress of the Czechs to grasp the concept of not having to make it hard for themselves and everyone else.

This week I get to go to New York, the city that never sleeps, given the fact that my jet lag has quickly kicked in I am grateful that the ubiquitous green and black Starbucks signs tell me hat they are not sleeping and are waiting for me to enter their special world. There’s one on every block that surrounds my hotel and beyond, they seem to stretch off in all directions like a carpet of green algae clogging a lake during a hot summer. I start to awake when the caffeine of my 5 dollar coffee kicks in. To start the day off well, I figure that it takes me 30mins of work (after tax) to be able to pay for this. I make a point of taking exactly the same time to drink it.

DSC01362The day is cold but bright. The information screens outside kindly tell me it is 3 degrees celcius, I can’t get my head round the farenheit scale this time of the morning. Despite this being the city that never sleeps, it is still three hours before any of the shops open so I am forced to make the most of the time I have before the tourist shoppers emerge and fill my, otherwise, perfectly acceptable photos of the city. The fact that I can’t sleep helps, and its time to get some air, or at least what passes for air. The drains emit a strange steam that fills the streets with an odour best not left to the imagination.

Whilst I am used to seeing the homeless and abandoned members of society in Prague, American cities always manage to evolve stranger beings. At this time in the morning they are still to be found, clinging to the whisps of warmth that are seeping from around abandoned doorways and air vents. These strange, haunting beings are surely not human. Maybe, at one time, they dreamed of being like the images that fill the advertising that surrounds them, living the American dream. Now they barely seem to exist at all, the deformed corpes float on the street like ghosts in a deformed shell. I quickly move on.

DSC01346Another Starbucks lures me in with the promise of hot breakfast rolls and a chance to watch the world go by for at least the 30 more minutes before the stores open. I order tea which I am, for some unknown reason, amazed they sell. Starbucks and tea just doesn’t see to go. This time tea and something to eat comes to less than 5 dollars. So an hour of work last week has managed to feed me this morning, is this what they mean about job satisfaction. At one time it would have taken me 20 minutes to achieve the same thing. I dwell on this thought as I look across to an authentic Irish pub and consider whether it is authentically built in Dublin like all other Irish pubs seem to be. America exports burgers, coffee chains and questionable foreign policies. Ireland exports pubs and Guinness. Maybe this is why people seem to like the Irish.

DSC01361Times square is filling up. All cities have one, the place where every tourist gravitates towards. Its the main place, the “center” of the city, even if it isn’t. More often than not, this collecting point of tourists has just happened, it was never really planned, hence why there cars, taxis, buses, trucks and just about every other form of transport clogging it up also. In actual fact I’d never like to think that someone might have created it like this, that the concept that this was someone’s idea, a brainchild. Get a place for thousands of tourists to visit and fill it with cars, buses, taxis and any other wheeled transport that is almost guaranteed to clog the area with noise and sheer volume. Amsterdam was once like this, so too was Prague. They just got rid of the vehicles and did an amazing transformation. But in New York it wold just seem wrong to remove the taxis and buses, replace the roads and cement block sidewalks with cobbles and leave it for the tourists. Yes, it would look fabulous, but it just wouldn’t be New York. Sooner or later someone else would want to get rid of the neon signs because it was using up too much electricity and giving off too much light pollution. That would miss the whole point, New York is all about this, its a mad, crazy, smelly mix of just about anything and everything. This is New York, New York and I like it that way.

Categories: Flickr, Journal, Photography
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