Today, as we made our way home from our first and very short visit to the Bronx and also from our first and not so very short visit to lovely Harlem, we made a point of doing what we seem to be doing best: walking for hours in New York.
We walked through Harlem. We walked through Central Park (North – South). We walked to Times Square. It was getting dark. Loads of people. So many people that people had no other option but to invade this private section of the street that we prefer to have to ourselves.
People got close.
The streetsmart section of my brain sprang to full alert and shoutet: „Beware of pick pockets“ at the top of its lungs. But there were no pick pockets to be seen. Nobody around seemed to be evaluating the net worth of my purse. New York was – exactly like the days before – all smiles and helpfulness.
On Times Square (not in the picture), it was hard to ignore the 20 or more screens displaying someone in pursuit of celebrities and of the city cultural spokes person, whose name I will google as soon as I can be bothered. They were discussing a free show at the Metropolitan opera, they have installed one hell of a soundsystem on Times Square, sound quality was pristine, the interview was hard to miss.
Anyway. Said spokesperson thanked all uniformed personell for making New York „clean, safe and fun“. And she was right on all counts: As far as I am concerned New York is sort of clean, lots of fun and a lot safer than I expected it to be.
I am not a fan of surveillance measures. I am not a fan of CCTV. I am not a fan of gentrification, though in Vienna I am part of that nasty little money-making sucker of a problem. Still, I have to admit that it feels good to walk around New York being unafraid of brandishing my camera. I am not a fan of somebody being beaten up or taken advantage of or being threatened or being shot. Security is a fine thing, but it is ususally – that is my firm belief – bought too dearly.
However, legends are not created during „clean safe and fun“ times. So here’s to a time where you did not dare walking the alphabet city, to the times, when poets an musicians had themselves some not so healthy fun at legendary Chelsea Hotel.
I, maybe, would not have wanted to be part of it. But it’s all about crossing boundaries, innit?
Well, some suggested reading. I haven’t yet. I wanted to have visited New York prior to reading it. But I love the cover. And I love the publishers 🙂 Follow the link, order the book and support a struggling art-supporting and industrious enterprise.
Have a night!