What I learned:
As soon as I touched down in New York, we hit the ground running. My plane had been delayed 3 hours and we were more than eager to get moving. Laura and I hadn’t seen each other in 3.5 years! It’s incredible how solid relationships stand the test of time and distance. Reuniting with my bestie was amazing!
Part one = the documented portions of my guided bestie time with Laura. Part Two = the day I took on the city by myself, sightseeing while Laura went to work. (She’s a boss and works on Broadway. I think I failed to mention that)
I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep, or what but at first New York City completely overwhelmed me. Ground Zero was no exception. I was like that dog in ‘Up’ who can never focus and darts off after squirrels. Even the way the light acts in a big city was distracting me. So many lovely natural reflectors all in one place. I was geeking out. One World Trade was gorgeous and it’s adjacent white porcupine friend was quite curious.
As I stood at ground zero, I soaked in the physical dimension of the void, I was thinking about how many paces it might take to cross from one side of what used to be a tower, to the other. If you haven’t been to ground zero, the footprints of the Twin Towers are each framed in black granite slabs with a smooth water feature that falls into the seemingly depthless black hole. At waist height, there is a metal ledge with names laser cut onto its surface.
I think as a tourist, especially, it’s easy to marvel at the physical structure and the urban space created at memorial sites. They’re normally architecturally distinct from their surroundings and conveniently situated within their city. Tuning into the soul of them takes a moment of repose.
It wasn’t until Laura said ‘isn’t this crazy? People stop by over lunch and leave things for ‘the names” I couldn’t believe I (of all people) had failed to emotionally connect. These names were people. RECENT people. People who are still missed. Daily. The voids in the ground I was so pragmatically analyzing are synonymous with the voids in the hearts of locals. Normal people walk by these memorials, and feel loss remembering their loved ones and leave tokens for ‘the names’
^^ Laura looking all natural, reflecting.
After a super long day, we woke up refreshed and ready for round two and brunched at one of Laura’s neighborhood faves.
An interesting food fact about New York: because most people walk everywhere, the portions are actually reasonable because most don’t take leftovers. It made me more attuned to the craziness in KC where more is more, and portions could feed small countries.
After brunch we headed to see the Brooklyn Bridge! I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t have perfect weather, but the gloom actually added some drama to my photos. 🙂
Neither of us were thrilled with how these photos turned out. oh well!
aka. ‘little deliciousness’ and neighbor to copyright infringement haven aka knock-off central. Tory, Michael, Kate – the gang’s all there. This was a day packed full of shopping (in Soho too).
Yes, I made Laura trade me seats so I could have a ‘candid’ in the good light too.
The bruschetta didn’t last long, and I apologize for not having a photo of the actual meal, but food comes first and I was too focused on the deliciousness.
Chelsea Market was a lovely little hodge-podge of classy randomness. Much to see and do. This was our solve when a thunderstorm erupted during the time we planned to walk on the high line. The gelato made me forget about the high line. 🙂
This part is a peek inside of my brain – full of introspection and random tid bits. You’ve been warned. I went to all of the below in one day. On foot. According to my watch I walked 12.5 miles this day. Yikes.. except wow was it worth it!
I’ll be 100% honest with you, I’m not quite sure if this is ‘the’ Times Square view… For some reason I thought there were supposed to be red bistro tables but I told myself they were missing because of the construction going on.
This is the part where I imagined the ball drops. How odd that I was in this iconic place, telling myself what things were – pretending like i knew. In all honesty, I realized it doesn’t really matter. There’s something jarring about realizing the vastness of New York City. It’s not remotely possible to take it all in anyway, so who cares what someone else wants you to think of a certain space. I loved this – whatever it was I found myself looking at, whether it was the right city block or not.
Below might be my favorite shot from Times Square. I love the colors and lines and that the crazy is invisible. It helps me take in the beauty of the city without the static of the chaos.
I kept telling myself I’d go to the top of the Empire State Building; then I realized if you go to the top of the Empire State Building, you can’t actually see the Empire State Building because you’re on it… Top of the Rock was perfect and the chandelier in the lobby wasn’t too bad either- Swarovski Crystal, if you were wondering.
I couldn’t miss taking this picture or posting it, for that matter. New York City was my first trip to a big city flying solo. Obviously I was with Laura in the days leading up to my sight seeing but traveling alone is extremely liberating, but you’re always aware of the isolation. Isolation seems like the wrong word– society has made ‘alone’ a negative word. I was alone, and could tell I was alone, but I wasn’t lonely. Seeing these couples together made me laugh mostly, but it also made me a little bit dreamy. What kinds of memories will I make with my ‘someone’? What unforeseen adventures await me? That kind of unknown is exciting! (this photo is also not square because I was afraid they would move, and they did so this was all I could manage)
Oh Central Park, I’d be seeing your green cloak of familiar comfort in a few short hours several miles later.
I took about 20 too many photos of those little quarter-eaters. There’s something iconic about them, or maybe it’s just that their art deco shape fits so nicely with much of what I was feasting my eyes upon.
You’d think with Cathedrals once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. It’s so not the case. I was a little surprised at how French this one was — Two words: breathtaking and gargantuan.
Ohhhh the MOMA… *heart eyes*
For some reason I forgot the word ‘modern’ was in the name of the place I was going and was so elated to find myself in such bright, clean, contrast-y, and careful design. (This is probably a very insulting summary to the architect, but I’m out of practice when it comes to intelligent architectural commentary).
I think you could conduct an entire study of human behavior from this very building. It is a master at the push and pull, controlling it’s inhabitants without their knowing.
Note: **none of these images are square because there are GOBS of humans. You basically do a drive by when it’s your turn for an unobstructed photo
Below: Seurat. This frame is particularly unique- he did not always continue the pointillism beyond the canvas.
I felt rushed until I walked into Monet’s room of Water Lilies. I actually sat in repose and felt really cool that I had been commanded by a painting to do so. It felt as if someone pressed the mute button. This room was silent, no doubt because these soothing, pastel monstrosities had stolen everyone’s breath. The paintings are unreal, not only due to their size but because of their complexity. I was unexpectedly pleased. From afar you think, ‘oh fabulous. molten blobs that resemble a pond in please tones.’ Hah! These paintings represent years if not decades of work. The amount of paint on them is absurd. The audio clip on them (yes I was the nerd who rented the ipod with the descriptions of famous works) referred to their surface as a skin… It was oddly accurate.
The scale of the Water Lilies exemplifies the genius. The marks of paint are intensely calculated across three planes. He’s layering, and spanning enormous amounts of square feet. The human eye has to back away to focus the scene, yet he painted them up close with his hands. It’s fascinating.
After the Water Lilies I made my way to the cafe, and found it to be par for the course. Bright. Clean. Intentional. It was a photographer’s dream with reflection from every angle. I should have snapped selfies here but it felt irreverent; I’m not sure if you can tell, but I caught some fierce side eye from sister in the yellow top.
Humus and pickled veggies. Plus coffee, but you already knew that.
The next series is devoted to MOMA – the architecture.
This is The Mall – the part of Central Park you see in every New York based movie or TV show. Iconic. Wouldn’t have missed it. In comparison to the entire park, it’s actually just a small section.
City Girls on their lunch break… hair flip emoji.
I spotted a bride and goom shooting a ‘Day After’ session. I broke photog code and shot his setup… BUT I’m not claiming them to be my clients, and certainly not broadcasting it across a zillion platforms so it’s fine, right?
These kids were playing catch over the road as I walked through one of the Central Park tunnels that makes you feel like you’re Kevin McCallister. If you don’t know Kevin, we might not be able to be friends. :/ By the way, this throw made it over, but hit a tree, so the guy on the other side didn’t complete the pass.
Unfortunately I didn’t go into The Met, but I’d be betraying good ole Blair if I didn’t have lunch on The Met steps.
The street performers here were inspiring. They treated the steps as their own personal amphitheater, directed the crowd for ideal seating, and began their act. If anything ever screamed, ‘hustle’ or ‘life’s what you make of it’ it was this moment, watching these kids make something of ‘nothing’. What Macgyvers!
I’m guessing this is ‘old New York’? I didn’t have a buddy to tell me, but whatever it was, I appreciated the Chateau vibes amidst the city.
This trip helped me to appreciate where I am. I think I kind of like living in this peaceful place, with a super low cost of living that allows me to feed my wanderlust!