In New York, there’s a constant ether of unity. You can meet an African-American for 10 minutes and greet him every morning like he’s your newfound friend as you exit your hotel. Or, chat with a waitress about her scary subway experiences. Perhaps you’d rather chat with strangers in an Irish pub and trade cultural differences.
There are over eight million New Yorkers distributed around the city working in harmony to welcome shy tourists like myself, partner, and her mum. It’s these people and their knowledge, stories and charisma which leaves an imprint of NYC in your heart – not just the monumental buildings and tasty boneless chicken wings.
You Can’t Capture NYC On Your Phone
It’s Christmas time and there’s honestly no other place I’d rather spend the run up to December 25 than New York. Aboard the NYC Sightseeing Bus, we pass by remarkable sceneries such as the momentous Macys and its iconic Christmas window display. The Rockefeller tree illuminates the street and down below it are newbie ice skaters, flooding the rink with festive joy.
Hop off the bus and you’re amongst the jovial spirit of tourists and hasty workers sipping Starbucks and on the phone, sharing their personal stories to passers-by; some eye-brow raising. As we head downtown to explore Greenwich Village and sightsee the homely apartment buildings, narrow roads and plethora of trees, it hits me that I can’t capture this feeling of bliss on camera. Or the blanket of snow on the benches in Central Park.
There’s always a disappointment when what you see and feel in real life doesn’t translate to a photo.
NYC And Its Raw Beauty
For me, the most beautiful parts of the city aren’t the Empire State Building, Ground Zero or Fifth Avenue, but the simpler things like the forgotten leaves on the pavements downtown to remind you that it’s almost Christmas time. It’s those special moments where you’re completely enthralled by the mood and environment that snapping it would mean you’d miss something.
Down the street, you’ll see tourists pointing their lenses up towards the phenomenal Radio City – twisting their arms and manoeuvring for Facebook’s approval. I watch as the travellers gather around these leading tourist spots, absorbing the views through a screen and not with their eyes.
But after your travels when you’re home, you’ll forget about these pictures and won’t have any recollection of how the blinding lights made you feel, or how breathtaking the view of the Empire State Building was from a rooftop bar (check out 230 Fifth Bar on Fifth Avenue). When I think about these attractions, my heart overflows with gratitude and disbelief that I got to experience in. It’s the feeling of being somewhere that creates an amazing experience.
Statue Of Liberty
Taking a ferry to the Statue of Liberty was unbelievable. The magnificent sculpture made us feel like a child on Christmas day; each inch closer was like ripping the paper from your main present. But fellow passengers were so focused on how their hair looked on the distant selfie with Her that they didn’t take in the fact that the elusive figurine was right there in front of them. Don’t get me wrong, I took some pictures, but 10 for the duration of the ferry was enough to prove my being there and soak it all in.
In today’s social world, there’s so much pressure to verify your visit with filtered pictures for other people’s approval. But doing so means taking your eyes off the very views you want to brag about. Why not escape the swarm of crowds taking pictures and live in the moment? Who knows, you may create more memories with your eyes than with your iPhone.