New York

New York Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
What impresses one upon entering the United States is the sheer abundance of US flags, used to strengthen the sense of identity among its population (to the extent that even immigrants feel like they are from there). Symbolism appears to be a significant part of US culture; indeed, the 'Statue of Liberty' [with which New York is conventionally associated] in itself is a big symbol full of other symbols. Another element of US society that strikes one immediately is hyper-consumerism; there is so much choice in the shops that one is compelled to buy something, even if it is completely unnecessary. But before entering into a sociological or anthropological analysis, let me illustrate my first impressions of the city. The first major building (apart from the airport, houses and the like) that I saw was the Department of Homeland Security: indicative of fear and the need for high securitisation.

I consider New York an interesting city, although not a fascinating one. The tall skyscrapers make one feel repressed. One knows that there is sunlight somewhere up there, but it just does not reach the ground as it would normally. The intricate pattern of buildings, however, does create a unique effect as wind passes through the rushed streets. This, then, brings me to the next point. All streets in Manhattan are parallel or perpendicular to each other so that it is impossible to get lost. This not only makes sense, but facilitates many administrative issues. In fact, the reason why the city was planned in this manner was to facilitate charging the owners of a given plot.

The metro, claimed by many of my friends as one of the best in the world, was actually very disappointing-dirty, full of drug-addicts (during the evening, too!) and not very efficient.
[The best metro, for me, is the Delhi one: it is very modern, clean, efficient and intelligently managed. For example, instead of the common paper tickets, you are supplied with plastic tokens which are returned at the end of a journey. Not only is this incredibly ingenious, it also is environmentalli viable.]

As you can imagine, my experience was overall negative [partly due to the fact that I was sick, and partly due to the fact that my guitar was not accompanying me in this travel :-(...] I had a very surreal experience over there as well. The first it was sunny (and warmer than London); by the second day, it was already very cold; the third night it rained; and by the fourth day we had a snow storm... I am sure this change in weather patterns had to do with the condition of my health.

However, there was one very positive aspect of this trip: Carnegie Hall, by far my best memory of New York. Not to my surprise, the building (and the concert hall) were full of flags. The orchestra was not the best I have heard [and the director had a very stale style of conducting], but the acoustics and the architecture were genuinely amazing. I recommend this place warmly to anyone who is interested in classical music.

The United Nations building is also a place to visit. Although it is an ugly building constructed in the modernist fashion of the 1960s and 1970s, the inside is worth a visit. During my visit, the events listed related to (i) gender equality and (ii) environmental degradation. It is encouraging to note that international organisations foster dynamism, according to ever-changing global conditions.

In any case, New York is amazing in that no one ever expected it to build the cosmopolitan environment it now enjoys. The city grew in the midst of the Second World War, and during the period after the War, when rich businessmen competed against each other to build the tallest buildings, thus fostering economic growth in this city. This coupled with the immigration that has been experienced in the city make it unique.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Sponsored Links
New York
photo by: herman_munster