Manhattan Magic

24 October, 2016 Manhattan, New York, USA

Growing up it's safe to say our generation was heavily influenced by America. It seemed every second movie or TV show I turned on New York shone, a glittering enigma back at me. Right through my twenties it stood there on my travel list until one day I couldn't hold off any longer and with Frank Sinatra's voice echoing in my head "these vagabond shoes are longing to stray, right through the very heart of it", I booked my solo trip to the city that never sleeps.

New York not only lived up to, but defied my expectations. From the time I learned how to use my camera this was the city I dreamed of getting to capture, and I was not disappointed. From architecture, parks, people and street activity I was surrounded by photographic gems. The sheer energy pumping through the streets is infectious and spurred me on from early morning to well beyond nightfall.

Moments of profound depth are to be found standing powerfully strong amid those bustling streets.

Prior to this trip it had always been my impression that America’s history is not as rich as that of Europe’s. I came away from this trip with a changed attitude. A very rich history does indeed lie on the island of Manhattan, it is just one that is compressed into a smaller time frame, and many of us have encountered some of it in our lifetimes. Moments of profound depth are to be found standing powerfully strong amid those bustling streets. I defy anyone to round the corner at 9/11 and not find themselves utterly lost for words.

New York is a city inhabited by a rich tapestry of people. Any I encountered were incredibly friendly and despite the speed the city moves at were always ready to chat and give a helping hand regarding directions and advice. The diversity of cultures, backgrounds and nationalities to be found here makes New York what it is. Its identity is stronger due to the juxtapositions of its citizens.

Despite being a city where money is evident whatever corner you turn I found a lot of the greatest things to do there were free. Jumping aboard the Staten Island ferry gives the perfect vantage point for a wonderful view of the Lower Manhattan skyline, a walk along the 2 miles of the converted High Line park gives an insight into one of the greatest modern urban renewal interventions and the opportunity to take in some unique views of the city as you meander through buildings. Central Park is a complete delight, as is a leisurely stroll through the districts of Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca and Little Italy. All of these are a treasure trove of photographic opportunities….the shutter never stops! For me the highlight was crossing the iconic Brooklyn Bridge to spend an evening in Brooklyn Bridge park, my camera and tripod propped in front of me, watching as the sun set over the Manhattan skyline. The sky turned from dusky hues to night time blues. I gazed transfixed as the city lit up light by light until it sparkled. Goosebumps ran through me as I witnessed the iconic scene so familiar to me from television screens happen right in front of me. It was a sight I had to tear myself away from at the end of the night, a grin spread across my face and a deep sense of contentment inside me.

From the dizzying tops of skyscrapers to the rumbling depths of the subway, swaying ferry boats to coasting bike rides, miles of walking to iconic yellow taxis. New York is a city to be explored by every means possible during day and night. The real joy of travelling there solo was the sense that I had that stunning city entirely to myself for a full week. After wandering the length and breadth of it and being whisked away by it a little part of it will always feel like mine.