New York New York. I feel exited to be here at last. I have a hectic schedule while I’m here so I barely have time to land before I’m off to work. But how rewarding isn’t it? I meet wonderful people! And get to see amazing homes!
I’m down in the subway in no time. I discover, since it’s Sunday, that this isn’t the best of days to travel by subway, because a lot of maintenance are made on weekends and therefore some of the lines are closed. Which leads to a general confusion, not only for me, on finding the best way to get to one’s destination. And the journey back home takes forever. Oh well, all the more time to people watch then.
I people watch and people talk too, as I continue to strike up conversations with whoever I meet. This artist I observed while he was sketching some people on the train and we had a nice chat waiting for the next train. He is armed with his sketchbook, pencils and double pairs of glasses ready to go.
Oh and who was it that sneaked up and took a photo of the photographer in full action? Thanks Johnny and Franklin for a wonderful day in your amazing home! It was lovely meeting you!
My work takes me to different parts of the city. Behind the door of this graffiti painted house is a cool home with very interesting thoughts and ideas behind it, that I’m also going to feature in my book.
Another photo shoot takes me to a part of Williamsburg where a large population of Hasidic Jews live.
Having a late lunch at Marlow & Sons nearby a home I visit. It has a cool vibe and is the perfect neighbourhood restaurant. A place where you can pop in for breakfast, have lunch (oysters are on the menu for the brave) or chill out with friends till late night. Pity I have such a short time here…
I’m staying in Brooklyn because I’ve always wanted to live in a Brownstone house. Love the architecture.
New York is all about the lovely people I have been fortunate to meet here. One evening I head out to Saraghina, an Italian restaurant a few blocks away that is famed for it’s food and nice ambience. As I’m on my own I sit at the bar. When the evening is over I have become friends with Pascale, Theresa and Paul, a group of work mates and now friends that sit down next to me. So great to meet you guys!
My lovely landlady Loli invites me to a friend’s birthday party. The man who’s birthday it is, always have these huge parties where lots of musicians usually jam together the whole night. As the party also is held at his penthouse apartment in Manhattan I’m not slow to accept. And what a great experience this is! Happy Birthday!
This is Frank and his bird Red. I meet him on my way to the grocers, a block from where I stay. Frank is from Trinidad Tobago. He has had birds since he was a boy. Every day he hangs his many bird cages on the street outside his house. Sometimes he takes them for walks around the block and even to his church. The birds are constantly singing, which reminds him of home…
Even though my time here is short I get to see snippets of the city. Here is Manhattan Bridge seen from a taxi on my way to a photo session. Iconic.
The ice rink beside of Rockefeller Center is an also a well-known sight from countless movies. I pass it on my way to up to the Top of the Rock to get a view, the only really touristy thing I do on my one free day. But hey, the view is quite something up here and I do like great vistas!
A wonderful little gem of a restaurant, Okonomi, on Ainslie Street in Brooklyn.
This small restaurant seats only thirteen and only two of them are guests who are non Asian. Always a good sign.
The food here is delicious! And beautiful too. Thanks Elissa for the tip!
Street snooping. I found this very authentic barber shop next door.
Ground Zero. The icy wind and relentless rain whipping down doesn’t do anything to lighten the mood of this very grim place where the Twin Towers once stood. And the memorial site with two giant holes lined with the names of everyone who died here affect me. There is an eerie stillness here despite the bustling building work of the new transportation hub just beside it.
Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus has recently opened. If it’s a giant bird in flight or eyelashes with an eye gazing upward, is free for interpretation. Heavily criticised for being massively over budget and many years delayed, it’s still an amazing piece of architecture I think. Inside this massive transportation hub is designed like a cathedral. The thought behind it is to inspire people passing here every day on their way to and fro work and home.
I see it as a bright and white dove with an imaginative olive branch bringing peace and hope to this otherwise dark and grim place. It’s also the same architect that designed the Turning Torso in my own hometown Malmö.
No it isn’t an emergency nor a action film set, when the police cars suddenly stop and block the street outside the cafe on Bleecker Street where I am. It’s because they are going to hold a memorial service for a police officer.
New York has diversity and culture around every bend, in every nook and cranny. Here is Isabelle. Isn’t she is brilliant? She is usually found at Metropolitan Av. Station. And she is singing about going back home…It’s a bit mixed feelings for me as this last stop on my trip. But it’s time for me to pick up my pieces and go home…
I have crossed oceans. Visited many continents. I set out with destinations in my mind. Places. Cities. Houses. Homes. I have had so many great experiences on my journey. Got so much inspiration. But it’s the people I have met that have meant the most to me. It’s you who have made my journey so rewarding. So interesting. And fun. Not least, New York is a good example of the openness and the friendliness of the people I have met.
Thank all of you who have shared this experience with me! Thank all of you who have shared your homes and your stories with me! You are all in my heart!
You can read about the people and the homes I had the fortune to visit in my book that I’m in the process of writing now. I will share some of these homes with you here on my blog. So watch this space!
Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer