After the slightly unpleasant arrival in pouring rain that soaked me to the bones, it was a sunny surprise to see the welcoming blue skies of New York City the following morning. Full of energy, despite the jet lag, I merged myself in the steady flow of the morning crowds of the pulsating city. The current of the crowds carried me forward towards downtown along second and third Avenues, then along Lexington, until I reached the post office, which is located right next to that curious Lipstick building by the Lex/53rd Street E-train subway stop.
It felt euphoric as I greeted the city I adore after an absence of two years, sensing its vital energy, hearing its sounds – the honking of the horns, sirens, traffic of trucks and taxis – inhaling its odors of ethnic foods, and gaping at its astounding skyscrapers that form a dramatic contrast to the adjoining lower buildings that stand as testimonies of the city’s colorful history.
There is something so attractively beautiful in the glittering skyscrapers that dominate the city scene. They seem so pure, delicate, cool, composed, and majestic. Their exquisiteness is unique.
There were some workmen starting their day up up up outside the building. Just looking at them made me feel dizzy. This definitely is not a job for those who are afraid of the heights. Solid nerves, courage and determination are the qualities needed to board that lift.
Walking towards the New York Public Library, I saw a sign of a bull facing a bear. It made me think of the woods of Finland where bears pick berries on the other side of the bushes from little old ladies. The bears and ladies are unaware of each other and are equally happy to pick their berries in the woods. It also made me think of my soccer team in Italy, Toro, the raging bull that is steadily climbing up the series and firmly holding its position at the top. Go Toro go!
Then I passed by Grand Central Market and simply had to step in. The Italian Seven Cheese Baked Macaroni looked absolutely delicious. And I have never seen anything like it in Italy.
Inside the Grand Central Station, which is a magnificent building worth seeing in itself, there was a stupendous photo exhibition in the Vanderbilt Hall. “Through my Window: Vibrancy and Serenity” are pictures of landscape and nature that vibrate serenity taken by a Korean artist Ahae. I was lucky to spot the photos before the exhibition closed on 22 October.
Stepping out from the Grand Central Terminal I noticed a cigar store with some Native American figures above the doorway. That made me think of Mark Twain, who in the Innocents Abroad boldly declares that he and his American travelling companions admired European art when they saw fit but at times they preferred the wooden Indians in front of American cigar stores to the depleted art works of the Old World.
The familiar New York Public library greeted me around the corner, on Fifth Avenue. I spent my day there looking at some nineteenth-century magazines that I had tried to track down for quite some time. Beaming with contentment, I continued my walk in the afternoon through Chelsea, heading towards Union Square.