The myth that New York is considered the big apple was busted when I along with the rest of the Elp fellows delved deep in the city’s diverse and unending cultural landscape as our first stop in the three week tour.
New York by no means is a big apple, i reckon it is a Humungous apple beckoning to have a bite taken out of it.
Before arriving, my impression of New York was that of a bustling and busy metropolis with trademark callous and cold people but to my amazement, I fortunately found people willing to help you out of the way. Every time I bumped into some one to talk or ask for directions they would stop by, talk in a congenial manner, take their smart phones out and guide me to the right destination. Even my misgivings of boarding a subway at night dwindled when I met some of the most friendly people at the station.
Time square,where our hotel was, seemed like a city within a city that had assimilated all the ethnicities in itself. The Independence Day of Israel was one highlight that drew a massive crowd to the famous square. Even in the wee hours of the night, times square gave the feel of a busy Monday morning.
The visit to the museum of art was an awe aspiring experience. The way invaluable relics of past were preserved in that art conservatory was very moving.
As James Burke once said :
“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you are.”
I believe partly why Pakistan is in a state of lost identity today because we have not preserved the rich historical archives of our past.
Another highlight was standing on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building ( building famous for the movie King kong) and seeing the panoramic view of the whole of New York. No other place in New york could match that experience .
One peculiar thing that I noticed with each American monument or historic building that each had a separate shop dedicated to sell its merchandizes. I don’t think in pakistan our monuments or buildings of historical significance are marketed in this manner. Also people in the US take pride in visiting these places often.
The team building exercise held in Chelsea Piers hogged the limelight for me in terms of our cohort’s professional activities in New York.
I was dumbfounded by the state of the art facilities at the recreational centre. We felt like celebrities seeing Jamie Fox play basket ball in the next court to ours.
Sitting next to Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen fund, during our meeting at their head quarters, was another memorable moment that i wont forget. Apart from her charisma and aura, she permeated spiritually all across while she was talking to us. her inspirational pep talk was palpable in her company’s manifesto, the gist of which is:
“it’s the radical idea of creating hope in a cynical world. Changing the way the world tackles poverty and
building a world based on dignity.”
Before leaving Jacqueline was gracious enough to gift each one of us her awe inspiring book called the “The blue sweater”!
It might sound cliché but I can’t help but say that the vibe in the city cannot be compared to any other city in the world. The High line, rich art galleries,overarching Brooklyn bridge, the grandeur of Statue of Liberty, the bustling Wall Street, the famous fountain in central park, top tier universities, broadway shows and the skyscrapers of manhattan are just a few Jewels in the crown of the great city of New York.
Walt Whitman aptly lauded New York’s vibrant landscape in these words:
“Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan! “