It often happens, when people want to celebrate some special jubilee or occasion in their life, they wish to go and celebrate on some special place, some destination which represents symbolism of that which they celebrate. Having that exact idea on my mind, I decided to celebrate my 40th birthday, my coming into middle age, in New York.
Although I have travelled a lot up to that moment, going “over big water” and visiting “the youngest continent” was something that I constantly delayed, consciously or unconsciously, for that special occasion. Great Apple, with everything that it has to offer, seemed like the right choice to celebrate coming into that special age of adultness. All those wondrous stories about New York attracted me, because I was anxiously looking for wonders. During my stay in that city, for only nine days, they were indeed happening to me, every day.
Sometimes it is hard even to assume that in such a gigantic city you can feel warm acceptance and welcome, like you never felt before. In New York, you simply feel as if you came back home, because there , people are not divided on strangers and domestic, tourists and fellow citizens, and there is strange compound of freedom and safety that overwhelms you completely and draws you to come back again into environment of affectionate and attentive people.
And no matter how unattractive and frightful all those skyscrapers might look sometimes, making impression on some places as if you are in some canyon or ravine, cramped and depressed from all sides. No matter how swift river of people drags you and you walk swiftly yourself although you are not in a hurry, you feel as if you are in the middle of everything, in the middle of the world.
Oasis in the middle of concrete
And when that river “throws you out”, on some place like beautiful and unique Central Park or magic Bryant park, when you feel that lightness of being, greenness instead of grayness, relaxation instead of bustle, when you can connect with ground just by lying on the green grass, you understand that this city can give you everything.
Phantom of the opera-birthday present
I decided to celebrate my special day, birthday, on Broadway. I bought the tickets for famous “Phantom of the opera” with enormous excitement. Not only the theme and symbolism of the opera, the most often performed opera of all times, held secret message and symbolism for me, but also the ticket itself. I enjoyed for three full hours in the splendid performance of the master opera actors. The theatre did have a somewhat shabby look, but the atmosphere held clearly the real spirit of this place, and brought us back in the past, in the time of the happening of the opera, which was a complete contrast to what was happening outside, only couple of streets away, on main square-Times Square.
“Don’t let your music die with you”
Although young, this city gathered art of all generations, centuries back, and you can enjoy it in numerous museums like Metropolitan, MoM, or Guggenheim. Whole lifetime wouldn’t be enough to see all the beauty which they contain, encouraging you at the same time, to express yourself and not “let your music die with you”, as it is written on a board in Central Park, the line made up by famous Beetles musician John Lennon. I let his advice guide me and accepted to take part in experiment in famous MoM museum of modern art and that is where one of the wonders happened. My artistic soul, my passion for painting, “had its five minutes”, literally, because we were offered to paint or draw something, whatever we want, in five minutes. I painted Rose from novel The little Prince, and it got its place in MoM museum-hanging, side by side, with pictures of great modern artists –Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, Monet..and it was only second day of my stay in New York.
Wall street and the bull
Downtown Manhattan and famous Wall Street are something you can’t avoid if you visit New York. You should expect that the center of world financial power looks grand; at least those were my expectations. But when you walk down that short cobbled street, you can’t help wondering-is that really it? You believe that it really is, only when you pass by numerous yuppies in the street. They look as if they are in a hurry, although they don’t look exactly like in the movies, their clothes are not so businesslike. Only serious, severe and worried looks on their faces give away that they maybe just lost couple of millions on stock exchange or that the price of shares of their client are drastically going down. I tried my luck, of course, with the Charging Bull. The story says that you should not caress him between his horns, but between his hind legs. That, they claim, will bring you welfare. Well, what has to be done, has to be done, it remains to be seen what will be the effect of it. My experience is to think very carefully what welfare means for you. For me, it was not money; I guess that is why I still did not get it. Be careful what you wish for, it will surely come true.
The Statue of Liberty, two rivers and ocean, remind us on basic human values. I decided to cruise around Manhattan and Ellis Island instead to visit the place itself, the place where ancestors of most Americans disembarked from first transatlantic ships. Weary, drawn, but full of hope, enthusiasm and faith in new life in New Land, where they headed leaving poverty and misery behind, leaving their homes in Europe. To many of them, this island was, unfortunately, also the last destination. I left the visit to the island and climbing to the Statue of Liberty for some other time, it is something that it has to be booked months in advance. Still, as a person who enjoys sailing and loves to feel the wind in my hair, as well as view from the water to the land and photographing everything that eyes can see and camera can record, I would recommend this tour.
Symbolic, numerous bridges and especially fascinating Brooklyn Bridge, reminds you on linking, bonding, and everything that we have forgotten with time. I was magically attracted to the Brooklyn Bridge over East River which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I crossed it on foot twice, once during the day, and another time in the evening. Incredible strength and inspiration possessed me, new ideas were born and I felt complete bonding and I felt as if I belong exactly there, as if I, myself, am the bridge.
When I was crossing the bridge for the first time, I saw on Brooklyn side absolutely wonderful place, roof terrace, one of those rooftops, for which New York is famous for. It is already well-known how fascinated I am with roof terraces, but I have heard from many different sources that it is very difficult, almost impossible, to procure entrance to a place like this, without reservation in advance and very “fat” wallet or” heavy” credit card. In spite of that, my passion and faith in miracles brought me there, in front of that building, after I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge for the second time. There was also security in front of the building, which controls entrance into the famous club. Although inadequately dressed, (but still, with my” lucky” red shoes on), with camera and backpack, ID card from Serbia, but also with attitude and will and wide smile, my dream came true and I found myself on rooftop with the most beautiful view over Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge at night. Grateful for the opportunity to make fantastic photographs and very happy to be witness of yet another wonder. Because in New York, everything is possible.
(It) Never stop(s) shining
New York is the city that never sleeps, that shines day and night and in that way emphasizes the importance of light in our lives and inspires us that, no matter what is happening in our lives, we should never stop shining. That’s why it is the city of unlimited possibilities and it gives us the chance to show our own light to others, to the world around us. Because, in New York wonders happen on every step of the way. Maybe it is the time for you to check that yourself.