It was our first visit to the most enthralling cities of them all, New York. It was a dream come true. To visit that most magical of big cities, we had seen it in countless movies, tv shows and on album covers. The home of the skyscraper, CBGBs, the Ramones, Taxi Driver, the Godfather, Seinfeld, and Chelsea Hotel. It is hard to differentiate between our first visit and our subsequent visits over the years, we have been back around 20 times. Sleeping under the watchful eye of the Empire State Building and the lulling sounds of Police sirens whooping and fire engines hollering has put us in that light uneasy slightly jetlagged sleep many nights.
The reason for this slight throwback post is that we found some old slide photos in a box, and we decided to digitize them just for fun. Ørjan brought his manual Olympus camera with positive slide film, and as all of you who had those old school film cameras remember, you never knew what you had until those photos were developed after you came home.
There are a few things that we still remember vividly from that first visit. And we thought we would share some of those moments, just for fun.
The hotel we chose was just beneath the Empire State Building and in the middle of Koreatown, so we had quite the exotic first impression when we stepped out of the taxi from the airport.
We just had to visit Empire State Building, the daddy of all skyscrapers, where the great ape hung and swatted at the planes. The queue was long, and the hallway was small and hot. Tanja felt the jet lag, a slight dehydration and eventually passed out just before the security metal detectors. The amount of people that sprung into action when they found out what had happened was astounding. Security guards, medics, supervisors, and other officials made sure that she was OK, and that she had her feet high and got some water. After a rest, we had to sign those “we will not sue you forms” and we got our own lift with an attendant all the way to the top. They did not even take our tickets, and we sold those once we got back to street level. The view from the top was just epic, looking down Manhattan towards the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and up towards Central Park. And seeing our favourite skyscraper up close, the Chrysler Building.
We took a hop on-hop off sightseeing bus around Manhattan. It had a stop where we had to change buses and right next to the stop there was a pizza parlour! Just like in the movies! Huge slices sold over the counter; we could not believe the size of one slice! And while we sat down eating the most delish NY pizza a police car stopped outside and two officers came in for their lunch. And they also looked like in the movies! Slightly tubby with slightly too tight blue shirts with their guns slung by their hips. The whole respatex interior made the whole scene into something from a dozen different movie scenes, and it was awesome!
The bus took us through parts of Harlem, we drove past the mythical Lennox Lounge, felt the groove from James Brown as we passed the Apollo theatre and saw many soul food restaurants. We did not dare to venture off the bus, we had heard that Harlem was still not as safe as it should be.
We found our future favourite shopping area in lower Broadway; it was much grittier than it is now, but the Yellow Rat Bastard shop was nothing like we had ever seen before. Soho was not yet the shopping mecca it is today, and we were told to stay away from the Bowery and especially alphabet city at night.
We took the free Staten Island ferry past the Statue of Liberty, still a great and not least free way to see that most iconic of statues. With the cityscape of Manhattan in the background it was a popular culture overload for us.
We stood between the two towers at the World Trade Centre and took pictures, it was a spectacular sight. Two pillars against the blue sky. 10 months later those two towers would be no more, and the world would not be the same again.
This first visit started our love affair with New York. It has changed a lot during those 20 plus years since we first came. It has been a while now, but we feel that New York will be high on our list of cities we need to visit soon, when all things are back to normal. Thank you, New York, you have always been epic! Read more New York related posts from shopping to hotels, walks, Central Park, Meatpacking District and Bleecker Street.