Half a world away

I came to American when I was three-years-old. So I'm not so different from an American-born-citizen. My small family began its life here in New York, New York. And if you haven't been to the Big Apple, I suggest you go up there and take a bite.

New York, in my mind, is a city in its truest sense. The memories I have all strangely involve walking past blocks of cars crammed one behind the other orchestrating as much horn-honking as the geese in Central park. True New Yorkers know subway is the way to travel, and have a map of the life-veins of underground transit tattooed on their hearts. They dress smartly, walk quickly, and talk even faster. A New Yorker can cross a city block in just under thirty-seconds, the perfect time for the light to change. But then again, if the light hasn't changed, a true city mouse will cross anyways.

This city tells a strange story of ordered chaos. It is a story of buildings that stretch into the clouds as if they could peer into the heavens with one of their one-thousand glass-paneled eyes. It is a story of small shops sheltering under the shadow of giants, a refuge of secrets and patrons who were unafraid to explore all the nooks for the absolute best.

And when they say that this city never sleeps, they're not kidding. A city is most alive when the sun sets. It is said that if you wish upon a shooting star, your wish will be granted. But instead of waiting around for a falling rock, a city makes its own temples to the cosmos. Flashing neon lights sometimes stretch across multiple buildings, and the greatest light-show of flowers, fireworks, hearts, clovers, and fair ladies makes its nightly debut. They are joined by strange street performers, looking even more alien in glow of the epic battle between red light, blue light, and shadow.

What is there to do in such a place? What is there not to do? You can travel back in time and walk with dinosaurs, dive into the primordial seas and swim with gargantual jellyfish, explore the exotic cultures of Africa or Egypt, hunt woolly-mammoths, eat lunch next to a blue whale, travel to a Little Italy before stopping by China, stumble upon a shrink ray only to discover the strange beauty of the human body, count the number of neurons in a brain, tilt your head sideways as you realize the image reminds of an art piece from the modern museum of art, use photorecepters to view fantastic oil paintings on an endless canvas, run away to join the circus, watch a Broadway show, and so on.

The list is seemingly endless with possibilities, and that is the true confounding beauty of the world projected onto about 300 square miles or 800 square kilometers. And even though I have been here many times, my list seems to grow with possibilities with each visit.