On my left, a 40-inch television with 600 cable channels has been drilled into the wall. On my right, the cold remains of a sandwich, with still enough sliced meat stuffed in it to open a deli. Outside in the heat, traffic snakes and shoots through walls of sunlight, sounding their horns and shouting out to the world: “I’m alive! I’m alive in New York!”
If Paris is a city for walking, then the Big Apple is one for skipping: mainly because you get around faster and, at the same time, you can display that air of optimism (while hiding deep-seeded depression) that you can only pull off in the USA.
Fortunately you don’t have to skip everywhere. Thanks to the subway and grid system of Manhattan streets, getting around New York is
piece of a generous serving of your favourite cake (which, by the way, you can get on every corner along with a bucket of watery coffee). The only hassle is trying to not get sidetracked by the mayhem: there are traffic cops screaming at cars, cars tooting at other cars, blinking signs, crazy people in bare feet, diners brandishing “All day burritos and jugs of beer”, flocks of garbage trucks and of course, the thousands of residents and tourists from everywhere and, judging by the mixture of fashion, every when.
New York could be described as London pushed into a tube and stood upright, sprayed with essence of extrovert. But it’s best not to make comparisons. This city is exciting in its own skin and I’m just about to walk out the door of my west mid-town apartment right into the thick of it.