I’ve always wondered if anyone could just like the concrete jungle. Chances are high that New York’s energy will either lift you up or take you down.
To me it’s always felt like a charger, refueling my batteries with inspiration and joy. I’ve lived in New York and have been back a trillion times by now. And my feeling about the energy has never changed.
So let’s take a closer look. Welcome to the jungle.
I instantly feel the city’s vibes as I’m getting closer.
Constant, like an echo of my every footprint left on the streets.
I find myself on Fifth Avenue in a cloud of smoke. It vanishes within seconds revealing a street food cart. Surrounded by the scent of fresh hot dogs I’m taking a closer look at the so-called millionaire’s row.
People are rushing by, women in flats shopping designer heels and men in suits taking home kids from preschool. I notice the writer in the café across the street. He doesn’t see me.
A tall boy nearly forgets his coffee, as he’s lost in thoughts about his basketball scholarship.
Everybody is moving fast. It’s like a river, a crowd that flows and you already know that the scene will never be the same.
The question is: do you flow or do you drown?
The river changes and the moment passes as fast as it appeared. I’m taking a big breath.
The sun is shining in my eyes while a bunch of rainbow bubbles are flying by. I’ve made it up to Central Park, and it’s an instant change of scene.
Birds are singing their songs, an artist arranges her fashion drawings, and horse- drawn carriages are passing by. An Asian looking girl is taking pictures of her bestie. Kids are trying to catch the soap bubbles floating by. Meanwhile another kind of bubble pops on Wall Street and some investor’s charming place in the Hamptons is back up for sale.
Walking Greene Street I instantly think of the shooting scene in the movie “Ghost”.
It almost seems surreal on a day like this in Soho, New York. Well, these shady streets have changed a lot since the 80s.
What would Sam and Molly do today? Probably walk those cobble stone streets hand in hand, after having breakfast at Le pain quotidien, stopping by the wonderful galleries. Sam would go grab a cronut and head home. Molly would step into Free People saying “I’ll be coming home, wait for me”.
You on the other hand would have headed to Greenwich instead and left your footprints in those streets walked by Bob Dylan, Woody Allen and Jimmy Hendix.
Just like the dog walker passing you on Bleecker Street, who will later on turn into a night hawk at Café Wha.
You would have sat on the door steps of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment – yes, it is actually located in Soho – and grabbed banana pudding at the Magnolia bakery before heading to a Jazz bar.
It’s dark and I’m blinded by Broadway lights. Yellow cabs are driving by as I’m starting to forget where I wanted to go in the first place.
They say not all those who wander are lost. When it comes to wandering the streets of New York, you will get lost.
Lost in thoughts and lost in dreams you will wonder: Can you ever stand tall in the concrete jungle? How do you learn to swim in the melting pot? It’s the city that never sleeps.
You need to be a hard as steel, like the immigrants that once built the Brooklyn Bridge. And you will need to chase your dream like that Broadway singer with the fake lashes singing her heart out every night.
The penthouse doesn’t come for free and neither does the coffee at the Ritz.
Good morning jetlag! I’m up early catching the F train to York Street in Dumbo, grab a fresh smoothie at the Archway Café and watch Jane’s carousel, the shimmering skyline right behind it.
Walking by the brick houses in Brooklyn Heights I can only imagine why Marilyn chose this part of the city to live in back in the days.
Time is flying by and I wish I could stay longer. The concrete jungle doesn’t need you, that is for sure. But maybe we all need some concrete jungle vibes every now and then.
We could shine as bright as Broadway lights and stand as proud and confident as the Statue of Liberty. Maybe we would walk tall with an imaginary crown on our head.
I allow myself one last look back and Lady Liberty blinks her eye at me.
“Believe and work hard and all your dreams will come true”. Her words get carried away by the waves of the bay.
Mr. cab driver smiles at me in the back mirror. As I walk into JFK airport, he finished his shift and rushes back to Harlem. His family is already waiting with a basketball- shaped cake covered in way too much frosting. His son got the scholarship.
Dreams do come true after all.
My plane takes off, just as I’m about to finish this love letter.
Farewell, beautiful city of New York.
I’ll be back in the concrete jungle, that’s for sure.