India lost four of the five matches played in the first leg of the league in Bhubaneswar .
New York is not just a city. Like Kolkata, it is a state of mind. Or even like Istanbul or Paris, it stays with you much after you have physically left it. Much has been written about New York; many songs composed and films shot in the city’s busy avenues or in iconic buildings like the Empire State Building.
NYC almost becomes a character in Taxi Driver or even West Side Story or in films by Nora Ephron who breathed and lived New York. Woody Allen’s Manhattan and other films are his love letters to his beloved city which we all are privileged to share. If you are in the vast country, which is no less than any continent, called the United States of America, you must do New York.
New York represents everything that is so American yet not so. No tedious highways, no Taco Bells, KFC stopovers – instead you get in and out of the subways, teeming with people from all parts of the world, drink coffee and Italian sandwiches at roadside cafes and give the ubiquitous insipid Big Mac a big miss. You can travel by bus or simply walk the streets. In addition to Little Italy, there is Chinatown almost overlapping not to talk of other ethnic localities like the Jewish quarters in the Lower East Side.
Of course this is just an impressionist trek through a layered city in which I spent a few days many years back. It’s changed, people say. But certain abiding sights continue through time, like memories of soft rain blurred through glass window panes. If planned well, you can zip in and out of some famous landmarks, eat at some quaint bistros in The Village once known for its bohemianism and music; admire the glitter on Fashion Street when not clucking at Wall Street.
The streets of New York are a tourist’s paradise. Dynamic, vibrant, throbbing with life and pulsating with everything King size, yet you do not need to have lots of dollars in your pocket to have a good time. Of course it really helps if you have someone with you who can read maps well, can negotiate the subways, and treat you to museum tickets. New York is where the fun is in a seamless kind of way. It is a city that never sleeps.
An afternoon spent at Washington Square can keep you mesmerized at amateur acrobats with enough tricks up their sleeves and observe NYU students catch up on their sleep on the sun dappled benches. As the day progresses you can visit the museums but believe me, a day is not enough for even one floor of The Metropolitan. I started with the Egyptian section and was so lost in its treasures that I realised it would take a few more days to complete it and perhaps a whole month to do the whole museum! And I am not even talking of MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) or G u g g e n h e i m Museum.
On a summer day, it is a tourist paradise but if the sky gets cloudy and there is a spell of rain, it is still charming. You can ride the tourist bus and take in all the i m p o r t a n t sights from the top deck. Like a typical tourist you may want to see the Statue of Liberty located on Ellis Island but quickly realise that NY is a clutch of three islands so those trips need to be organised separately. And you do come away admiring the resilience of the city as photographed through the ages; expressing the immigrant, the neurotic and other views.
Let just the city spirit soak you as you watch the Rockefeller Center gradually lit up against a twilight sky as dusk gives way to night. Ah New York at night with the neon lights start blazing down upon the city in all its hues is another time, another place but brightest and sharpest at Times Square.
The New York Times beams the latest news bulletins on those large, if I’m not mistaken, L E D screens. Broadway beckons through the huge hoardings and banners and you feel lucky to have crossed it while doing Manhattan and luckier to have been to one of the shows. And after you have done the fine dining, the Italian desserts and ogling at the top brands on Fifth Avenue, there is ample scope to wind down the next day. You walk through the various avenues and recall a leaf out of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, when you cross Lexington Avenue.
You cannot traverse the vast Central Park in a day but just-about experience the soothing well-laid out emerald greenery, which is a perfect foil to the high rises. The ‘to do’ list is endless. Each to his own in a city that will forever remain associated with certain sights, sounds but for me it is a paradox as in the song that sums up the city: “New York I love you but you are bringing me down….. But you’re still the one pool where I’d happily drown.”