I often tell people that I’m not a big fan of New York. I know many people whoa re just in love with the city and all it has to offer but I can’t say I stand on the same ground. Maybe it’s that I’ve never really experience the city in its entirety. Usually my trips are very short and I never see much apart from the places I specifically go to, to do what needs to be done and I’m normally driven to these places.
This trip was slightly different. Actually, it was different in many ways. I had no car to move about in so I utilised the yellow cab, subway and my feet, discovering a part of New York that I never got a chance to learn about. For once, I got the chance to see and experience New York beyond the windows of the car. This time I travelled alone and, for the first time, flew on jetBlue Airways. This trip has had quite a few firsts for me, making it drastically different from all the rest.
I had the luxury of walking through the streets and properly experiencing the sights and scents of the city. I had the opportunity to walk through a little street fair on my way to the hairdresser. I walked among the large masses that crowd the sidewalks trying to remain aware of myself. It’s not the first time that I’ve had to walk along the sidewalk with so many people but I was never particularly bothered by it in Hong Kong like I was here in New York. Somehow, crowds seem more organised in Hong Kong, or maybe it’s just my imagination. I think, though, the crazy crowds along with all the strange scents and dirt of the city was what bothered me. In comparison, Hong Kong is a lot cleaner and not filled with so many different scents to tickle my nostrils so walking among the crowd never was much of a bother. Not to mention, that sense of belonging I have when I’m in Hong Kong, no matter how many people surround me, makes me comfortable.
If there’s anything I like doing, it’s people-watching. No matter where I am, it will always be remotely entertaining to watch people go about their business. I got a good chance for that while on the subway to and from the house. I saw a couple who were each on their phones while still remaining in a cuddled position; a man wearing a white T-shirt, bright yellow shorts, sneakers and a backpack (it was about 14°C outside); a woman reading a magazine and her neighbour taking a peek at the pages; a man in a pink shirt holding only his phone and a notebook and pen…fiddling with the pages of his notebook; a guy listening to music while falling asleep; a man playing the accordion while his wife and young daughter walked about the train car for tips (it was the last thing I expected but at least it sounded nice). The list goes on and on.
I saw so many different people with so many distinct personalities and I thought to myself, I could neither stand out nor blend in with a city like this. This city filled with so many cultures and personalities somehow manages to give me this feeling of suppression. As such, all I’ve said before about how I don’t really like New York still stands. I’m rather uncomfortable here and, honestly, without even a small sense of belonging (which this city is completely void of, even after years of visiting), I could never feel any satisfaction about living here if I had to. In fact, I’d be sure to avoid it at all costs.