Our daughter has been living in New York for most of the last decade, and though a native of Melbourne, Australia, her singing career took her there originally with just a backpack and a determination to make it in the ‘Big Apple’. Within a year, she had written enough songs to compile an album and went straight to the top of the Sony Building and the C.E.O approved her work. She went on a whirlwind trip, actually recording the music in Nashville, Los Angeles, where she worked with the legendary Paul Fox (Ziggy Marley 10,000 maniacs. See Chloe. My Space.) and New York. She had traveled most of the States in an earlier job with George v records and she sent us a photo of coming back into JFK airport looking down on Manhattan and titled it, ‘coming home to my favorite city.’
In 2006, she convinced us to come and see her in July, which although our winter here in Melbourne, was summer in NYC. We have two other children overseas, a daughter in Capetown, South Africa and a son in Namibia, West Africa on the Atlantic coast at Swakopmund,Namibia so a round the world ticket was the order of the day.We took in Hawaii,Texas, N.Y.C., London, Egypt, Capetown, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Namibia and Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. But our fortnight in New York City was unforgettable!
We jetted in from Honolulu and passed Albuquerque and area 51 over New Mexico(seen any aliens lately !), before sliding down the Texas Panhandle into the world’s largest and most modern airport ar Dallas/ Fort Worth. On to New York over some beautiful cumulus clouds, that later produced the biggest rain and lightning storm N.Y.C. had seen in quite a few years. The anticipation of seeing our first view of this legendary city did not go unrewarded. Soon our pilot was winging in so low over the Battery Point /Wall St end of Manhattan. I was clicking my camera fast. Amazingly, when I looked at the results later, I had captured one shot with a gaping hole in the landscape. Ground Zero.
After some hectic chasing of luggage at La Guardia Airport from where we could make out the city skyline, we came out to a famous New York yellow cab with Jerome as our driver. He was a native of Nigeria who reckoned they needed a big tribal meeting to get the money thing right in the city. Was he a prophet, for only last year the world economic recession came out of that very place? La Guardia airport is like a 1960s movie set with old silver curved Nissan huts and you expect to see a DC-3 landing. Soon we were sweeping by the Hudson River and a few bridges and our excitement grew. We had told our cabbie, ‘St Marks place, East Village’ where our daughter had an apartment. No worries he knew and we gave him our fare in US dollars and hoped it would help with his six children.
East Village is ‘hip’ to say the least, so we felt comfortable here amongst the artists and musos. Dropped at the entrance to one of those buildings we had seen in films with the iron fire escapes all down one wall, we made our way up goodness knows how many flights of stairs, very steep to the sixth floor. We found a nice two bedroom apartment, scarce as hen’s teeth and costly. She gave us a whirlwind tour of this city and it was wonderful, for it seems the ‘pulse’ gets to you and there is always something happening.
We picked a great day to go up the Empire State Building. Clear skies and great views of the Hudson River, Brooklyn, Madison Square Garden and the United Nations Building. Far in the distance, we saw the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island and the gap where the twin towers were. Back down to Central Park, whose ten acres or so look so green from the top of the E.S.B., and we found ourselves in a subterranean forest of dripping green after that big thunderstorm. By the way we ran down the street enjoying getting drenched while all the New Yorkers were sheltering under umbrellas. We are both used to tropical downpours from Vanuatu, New Guinea and far north Queensland in Oz. Central Park is amazing in that you seem to be down another level and the busy city is somewhere up there while you walk in peace. Talking of peace, we stopped at the ‘Imagine Memorial’ to John Lennon. It is simply done with inlaid tiles in a circle. Go John, saw you and Beatles in 1964 in Melbourne, Australia, and remember your tapping Beatle boot! R.I.P.
Times Square has to be seen to be believed. ‘Neon City’ with colors everywhere and our own Keith Urban showing his face. Broadway next on the agenda with a superb performance of Tarzan in the Richard Roger’s Theater. The subway, home and another night on the roof top watching a New York sunset with the Empire State Building in the foreground changing colors every few minutes. Over the famous Brooklyn Bridge and out to JFK airport where we had one final reminder of American hospitality and laid back attitude like us Aussies.
It was just on sunset and the pilot announces over the intercom,”Well folks we are experiencing the usual traffic jam at this time. We have 25 planes in front to us but should be out in 15 minutes or so”.. Amazingly he was true to his word and we were looking down for one last time at the city of fun and friendly people. I believe that is why they call it the Big Apple-everyone can have a bite. Well we certainly did and now that our daughter has a green card and is making it home for a while, we’ll be back. Definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been there, even if just to experience the constant gushing and belching of steam and what ever else comes out of the grates in the streets. Oh, the streets of New York are very walkable, because if it is not a funky shop spilling out all over them or a street vendor selling watches it is just the people who are from all races and seem to like Aussies. The land down under fascinates them and even though we liked New York, we would not swap,our island home. Actually the smallest continent or the biggest island Australia is known as.
‘Se ya mate, hey true blue what’s up with you? Got some chaff there for breakfast so I can put some of this ere cow on it and eat it before that cockatoo flies in with the magpie and also the kookaburra. She’ll be right mate, no worries. Don’t come the raw prawn with me cobber. Chuck another sanga on the barbie and sink some more of that light ale, pal. Hey where’s the bloody plane tickets to New York Mabel? Don’t tell me they’re under the table, we’ll have to swim over there to see them Yankee doodles. see ya!’