New York by the numbers

I could quantify my time in New York in a variety of different ways.
I could create a bar graph and plot the actual physical time I spent in the state against the number of bars I visited with a correlating set of data points denoting the number of drinks consumed in each which would invariably fade into obscurity due to my propensity to not remember anything past the third or fourth drink.
I could, theoretically, count the number of total Instagram photo likes I’ve received since landing against the number of photos and compare it to previous likes on previous photos and record how much social media cred I have gained on my travels and therefore how much cooler/more interesting I may be perceived to be since becoming a hashtag traveller. But hashtag fuck that.
I could put the number of places I’ve slept at night (or not slept) against the dollars I’ve spent on accommodation but it would come out at something like [eight beds:zero dollars] because apparently I’m a bit of a legend when it comes to convincing strangers to let me sleep in their house.
Or, more accurately, I met a few legends who felt sorry for me and let me sleep in the house.
But ultimately, what any numerical gauge of New York will do is fall short of justifying the absolutely wild time I’ve had here.
And that’s wild in the animalistic, explorational sense, as I’ve never been heavy in to the party scene, and many things I saw sober during the day were as personally confronting as those I saw (or did) buckled by night.
The number of great cafes I found doesn’t go any way to indicating the number of good conversations I had with the people in them.
The number of kilometres I walked doesn’t in any way describe the things I saw, heard and experienced as I walked them. Though it does go some way to driving home my refusal to use the imperial system to measure distance.
The subway rides and the tickets bought; the concerts seen and sing-alongs sung; the crosswalks crossed and the taxis dodged; the spare change given and the spare change not; the rooftops dancefloors and the basement clubs; the forever from the skyline and the claustrophobia of the street; the individual beauty and the collective criminal; it’s all greater than the sum of its parts.
I won’t exercise any of my considerable arrogance to try and reflect on my time in New York on a broader scale, because I’m still overwhelmed at the size of the city and any advice I could give would be fairly obscure and specific (When staying in Bushwick take the M-train from Wyckoff-Myrtle to Essex Street for the skate shop on the Lower East Side that sells Vegemite.)
But I will say that if you’re going in to New York City and you’re anything like me, ease yourself into it. Give it a week and get out.
I did two weeks straight up, and as someone who hasn’t lived in a city, a couple of times I needed to find the centre of Central Park and lie under a tree where I couldn’t see the sky scrapers and pretend the noise of the city was the crashing of waves at the beach.
I also went to the beach at Far Rockaway, and I get the feeling that may have been comparable to a New Yorker going to Adelaide to experience a city again.
I’m about to board a bus for a ten hour trip to Columbus, Ohio for the next leg of my journey, and I’m excited for a horizon that isn’t skyscrapers.

Dancer-1

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