I hoped the primary reason for me traveling to NYC is to attend Sakamoto Ryuichi’s concert. However this time, the two reasons I would hate to admit were: 1. Eric will be there, and we probably won’t have many opportunities to meet often in the future. 2. I really found nothing to do (besides two research projects and some serious readings) in the winter break. And finally, there is a friend who can accommodate us during the stay, and we saved a ton of money just on hotels.
Eric arrived two days earlier, and he told me that NYC was raining. When I landed, the mist I saw was like no other mist I’ve ever seen. It’s a mist in NYC, not a mist in other places. NYC is often the first city to be destroyed (if not Tokyo) in disaster movies. And now I know there is a good reason for that.
Humans of Late Capitalism
Areas around SoHo and Times Square are just like typical mega cities. But in Times Square, I had a Déjà vu of Blade Runner 2049: all the big screens with all kinds of ads, seamlessly surround you 360 degrees. Especially at night, the reflections of the screens on the other side of the square keep reflecting themselves, until all the people in the middle is filled with colors.
Magically, a phone disappeared. (No I didn’t retouch this photo)
In Witney Museum, there is a special exhibition going on named Programmed.
Neon lights in the Greenwich neighborhood.
The High Line park was under some minor constructions while we walked there, so it was not an optimal time to enjoy the scenes. Anyway, we were able to enjoy some sunlight.
Harry seemed to be a big fan of Jazz, so he recommended some Jazz bars, one being Mazzrow & Smalls. Eric, Layla and I went there and it was indeed a cozy place to spend a night.
And Love and Relationships
Times Square and other places in NYC could be totally different scenarios at night. Two days later, Eric headed back to Pittsburgh. Lynn came before my last day in NYC, and we decided to explore more on the Christmas Day. In the evening, Lynn and I stumbled upon a bar, called The Duplex, which turned out to be a cute lively LGBT-friendly bar.
That wasn’t our original plan. We were planning to visit the Smalls for live jazz, or a Sake (酒, literally) bar for some good alcohol, but we were unable to get a spot there. We wandered around the neighborhood for other jazz spots. Jazz sets were inflexible, usually lasting for 2 hours non-stop. So eventually we gave up and ended up here and spent a well 2-3 hours.
I don’t know about the statistics, but I guess NYC is indeed the biggest city with the most sky-scrappers. The downtown blocks in Manhattan just seem to be endless. I lived in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, both of which are the most developed and populated cities in China. But they are still falling short as compared to NYC.
Eric was particularly unsatisfied with the aged metro. It is indeed understandably bad, but we still couldn’t excuse that it is sometimes impossible to switch lines within the station, or even switch the direction if you get off in the wrong stop. We literally waited for 15 minutes to get in the metro again, because the machine will refuse to recognize your MTA card if you attempt to re-enter the station shortly (which is the case when you need to switch direction).
But the metro in NYC was the most unique one. Needless to say, New Yorkers are proud of their underground culture.