Manhattan, you are grand.
You streets are at places filthy, muddled with trash and spills of contents unknown. But no matter how much dirt or trash, there is a layer of glamour no amount of filth can cover. That is your aura Manhattan.
Odors permeate the air, launching an assault on the nose. A pungent gas here, a sharp smell there. Not sure if it is food or something decaying or something living.
The sounds are never subdued, never quiet, never quaint, never tiring. They construct a soundtrack for the city, with no melody. There’s aimless buzzing, the vocals of a thousands souls frantically seeking a place to walk, a place to stand. Maybe a place to eat.
People walk the streets of this city looking forward, waking at a brisk pace and taking each step forward with authority, and with flair. Just like Denver.
What is different? What separates the cultural capital of this state, the Empire State, from cities across the Unites States?
Well, that’s something that I won’t be able to answer after a single day in Manhattan.
My excursion to the Big Apple began late. I woke up at 12 p.m., excited, ready to go. I sprang out of bed, but my mind was still waking up. Then I ate. Took a shower. Ironed the clothes (yes I iron my shit. Get over it) then walked out, beginning the adventure toward a city I do not know, a city, that despite all the photos and books written about it, is foreign to me. That’s okay. It’s a good feeling.
I jumped on the train. Those trains. They are helpful but teasing. They tease you, because without them, it’s hard to access the city. Unless you have a car. But who the hell does up here.
Once I reached the island of Manhattan, my feet took control. They were anxious and excited to rise from the underground tunnels of the train system, to view the glory above. So I ascended the stair, the anticipated crux in this inevitably short trip from Queens to Manhattan.
All I saw were buildings.
Block after block of buildings. Post-modern marvels reaching for the sky but not quite touching the heavens. They stand tall and proud, like many citizens of this city.
Not a single mountain in sight. Not even a tree. This is unsettling. But only for a moment.
I spend about 5 hours in Manhattan, chilling with a fellow CBS intern named Mike. Mike from Ohio. Kent State grad. Cool kid. We walked around mid-Manhattan, discussing journalism, discussing men’s fashion, discussing 9/11, discussion dreams, hopes, aspirations. We share a dream, all the interns do, of participating in something meaningful, of one day standing as professionals, rubbing shoulders with the elite in the world of journalism in one of the profession’s grandest capital.
Visiting Manhattan is an almost ineffable experience, especially when visited for a few hours. This is a city where a million things are occurring at once. Not all of them important, but all of them a integral part of the city’s symphony of life. People. Dreams. Pigeons. Food. All in one city. All colliding and creating music.
It’s almost ecstasy. But I can’t dance to something that has no melody. Not yet.
It will take weeks to explore the city. Will you join me?