I started the first day in New York City fairly late, courtesy of a flight that landed after 10 pm, a terminal remodelling project that had relocated cars a bus-ride across the airport (and into a hell of gridlock), and the usual 24-hour New York traffic. And yet, somehow, despite all the people yelling into phones in ten different languages, the sirens and the honking (wow, the Olympic sport honking!) this city manages to be exciting. Perhaps anxciting, but still.
I remember reading once about why cities are such dynamic places, and important for innovation and change. Putting a huge number of people together in one place facilitates exchange of ideas and cooperation. The outcome is not only diversity of citizens, but of the ideas and businesses and inventions they produce. It's the cliché of opportunity. New York feels like the kind of place that long ago crossed the critical mass for being dynamic and now sits, with the few other super cities of the world, in a class all of its own.
Being up late, I figured I would start the day with brunch at Katz's deli. If you don't know about that, all you probably need to know is that the famous fake orgasm scene was filmed there. I saw Katz's on the foot network last year. Think sandwiches with stacks of sliced meat, delicate corned beef and pastrami, served with pickles and condiments. The walls are covered with photos of the famous. So it wasn't a surprise when I walked in to find a film crew working for Food Nation. It was a surprise when they asked if I'd be on camera. My mission: bite the sandwich, say "mmmm".
Haha, it was great fun, and got chatting to food writer David Rosengarten, who was helping out with the crew. David is obviously a passionate New Yorker, I left with tips for a great dinner venue and some insider neighbourhood information for my research.
From there, I went walking. All the way downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge, through Two Bridges and Tribeca, before catching the subway to Central Park.
Central Park is where New York excels itself. Where else could you do so much within the body of the city itself? I watched a baseball game (I know nothing about baseball, but it was exciting), climbed rocky outcrops, listened to a jazz band and found a zoo, and that was barely a quarter of the distance up the park. It's a necessary counterpoint in what is a mega metropolis, with all the pressure that brings.
It's coming up to dinner time now, but I'm not hungry (I shouldn't think so after the half a cow Katz put on my brunch sandwich) so I'm going to head up to Times Square, and then one last research item to check off. Tomorrow morning, I'm meeting my publisher downtown, which is super exciting. The only thing more exciting is the lovely feeling of soon going home.