Before I travelled to Canada, an Aussie friend and I planned that she would come up and we would go to New York together. After all, isn’t New York the centre of everything and how could we NOT go to New York if we were so close? So we agreed to do it.
The time came, and after I’d been travelling in Canada alone for a while, my friend came up to join me. We travelled across to Toronto and bought our plane tickets to go to New York, a 4 week return ticket. We figured that would give us plenty of time to play and explore. We also booked a groovy place to stay in the heart of Greenwhich Village, Manhattan, which we were excited about.
When our plane descended into New York, I looked out the window and could see nothing but horizon to horizon of grey buildings. It was confronting and overwhelming. So fucking ugly. No nature anywhere. Just grey grey grey. I had never seen such monstrosity before. I felt sick…
We found our place to stay and dropped off our bags in excitement to explore the city. Because of the high rise buildings everywhere, everything was in the shade. We were looking forward to some interesting ‘people watching’ but all along the streets were people dressed in grey/black and walking with tunnel vision like robots. WE were the ones dressed in colours, and a few people complemented us on our outfits. Were we in opposite-land?
From potholes in the roads and sidewalks, a stenchy steam arose from the subway beneath, and it smelt like garbage. It was really gross. We kept gagging on the smells while all around us people were walking along unaffected. Could they not smell this??
The subways seemed creepy… so we went everywhere on foot. From one side of the city to the next, here, there and everywhere. Keep in mind the Aussie dollar was worth half the American dollar at the time, so everything cost us double. We decided to walk through town to see the Statue of Liberty because, well, why not hey? On the way through the commercial district we went into the Twin Towers, downstairs and I bought a pair of fishnet tights, the style with super large fishnet holes all over, not fine mesh. We continued and eventually got to the Statue of Liberty. We looked out across the ocean and there were all oil wells, or some sort of ugly structures around it at the base. So wierd. We didn’t see that in the pictures. Sort of destroyed the vision…
All of a sudden we didn’t want to be there anymore. We got back to our hostel, and felt an urgency to leave. We’d had enough of all the ugliness, the greyness, the shadows and the stench. We’d had enough of everything costing double and being a rip-off anyway… sure, we’d found some amazing shops and I saw this incredible pair of red boots I fell in love with but I wasn’t willing to part with the $600 they would have cost me…
This sense of urgency to leave, after only a week, cut our trip short. We were so desperate to leave that we decided we would not even bother trying to change our plane tickets, but we would just forfeit the return ticket, and get a bus ticket back to Toronto. Tomorrow.
So, with this decision made, we felt relieved. The next morning we packed our stuff, went to the Bus Station and got on a bus back to Toronto.
A few days later the Twin Towers came crashing down.
Thank you Universe xxx
UPDATE: At any other time, being in New York might have been a different experience, but at the time we were tapping into a sense of impending doom… which all made sense in retrospect.