A New York Moment

visiting new york

Last week in New York, I took the N train back to Brooklyn, and turned around as the train made its way over the Manhattan Bridge. The city was painted orange and red, streaks of colour streaming away from Manhattan as the sun began to set. I tapped the tall guy sitting next to next to me.

“Hey, look at that sunset!”

At first he thought I was trying to get him to move, so he ducked forward.

“No,” I said, “turn around. It’s beautiful.”

He let out a low whistle as he twisted around in his seat, shaking his head slowly. “That IS beautiful.”

Turning back to me, he cocked his head and asked, “Hey, I don’t suppose you’ve ever been to Colorado?”

“Uh, yes — a few times, why?”

“I used to live there, pretty recently. Do you know that if you get up early enough, you can see what looks like the Northern Lights? But it’s NOT the Northern Lights. It’s the reflection of the snow on the horizon at dawn.”

He stared out at the city again. “It was so nice to see.”

I asked him if he had seen the Northern Lights in person, and when he had moved back from Colorado to NYC. (He hadn’t, nor have I — one day!)

He asked where I lived.

“Well, nowhere but mostly Vietnam, if I can help it.”

“Wait, what? Vietnam? Why?”

“Oh, it’s really delicious.”

His eyes lit up.

“Are you in the food and beverage industry? I am too!”

And there we were, exchanging business cards on the N train to the confusion and mild suspicion of the people sitting across from us. We talked food the rest of the trip.

Ah, a New York Summer…

visiting new york in the summer

Years after I wrote about an impromptu life discussion on the Q train, I find myself back in New York every summer, comparing the city that was against the “me” that is, trying to fit in meetings and time with friends I love, wandering around and under the bridges and into the leafy green parts of a concrete city.

The summer visits are a pleasure but never feel like enough time. I know the city so well but it is remains in a state of permanent flux, shapeshifting into something new during my absence. I usually leave my camera in my bag and roam the streets with an iPhone and a roving head. With cousins living in town and friends from university happily settled in Brooklyn, I always feel extremely grateful to get these weeks of fierce, strengthening hugs, of playtime in the park, of writing and reading on long subway rides. And, of course, impromptu conversations with strangers.

Next to San Francisco — not the city itself, but to Corte Madera, where I’ll spend my birthday presenting about digital media at Book Passage, alongside colleagues and friends.

Oh, and for those following along, from earlier in my travels or the most recent Birdcrap Counter update: IT HAPPENED AGAIN. Now up to 14 birdcraps and 1 batcrap. The vendetta continues. (To all of you saying it’s good luck: a few times might be good luck, but let’s be honest, isn’t it just a way to make people feel better about being crapped on? Either way, 14 times is a battle, not good luck. It’s on birds. It’s ON.)

I hope everyone is having a good (birdcrap free) summer!

A few photos below from my iPhone during my brief NY summer visit.


Fire vine, 4th avenue Looking up, 5th avenue, NYC Oasis of quiet inside the Met.

28 thoughts on “A New York Moment”

  1. Looks like a fun-filled (outside of the crap) visit to NYC! That ginger tea – did you try it? I mean, that’s a lot of ginger packed in there. It must have been spicy!!

  2. I love how you just start a conversation with someone and discover you have so much in common. Isn’t that the best feeling? Meeting random people is so amazing.

  3. I’m surprised to find a post about NYC has made me want to go to Colorado! The sunset on the snow sounds amazing. Your time in NYC looks like time well spent :)

  4. Hi Jodi! My name is Lani, and I have been following your blog for about a year now. I, like you, am a tax attorney, but have the travel itch. I thought I would post here and let you know that I live in Denver, and if you ever make it out here any time soon, please let me know! I’d love to show you around! Our sunsets are incredible! I end up taking photos of them against the backdrop of the city almost every night. Plus, we are a pretty foodie friendly city (Gluten Free Choices Galore!) :) Take care on your travels! LaniAlisa@gmail.com

  5. Jodi,

    Thank you for showing me NY through your eyes… As a big fan of ginger tea, I loved that picture the most!

    BTW, yes, in NY everyone has to know how to parallel park :-). It’s a part of the road test.

  6. I’ve lived a mere 100 miles south of New York City in Philadelphia for most of my life, but I’m still intimidated by it. Your photos are making me want to give it another chance—minus the bird poop, of course.

  7. I just love all your photos – especially the unique beer caps on the manhole cover! The only one that wasn’t pleasant was the bird poo :( Poor you! I don’t think I could have taken a moment to snap a pick of it the way you did – I would have been so grossed out it would have been wiped off within a split second. LOL

    1. With 14 of them in the last few years, I’ve gotten considerably less squeamish ;) Thanks for the compliments about the photo – that’s my favourite one too. (The Met a close second.)

  8. That ginger tea! I need it in my life! Sorry about the poop, getting pooped on is definitely not good luck. It’s happened to me twice, but 14 is just not even right.

  9. I love those impromptu conversations with strangers…makes me always think about the book The Celestine Prophecy. Not the best read but the underlying messaging in everything happens for a reason is great. Enjoy your summer and hopefully no more “crap”.

  10. It’s a blissful time you spending in NY. Good you share summer photos in NYC and a story of sunset and meeting strangers. For your info – To see northern lights: Before people use to go to Greenland. But now it is seen more clearly and beautiful from Norway..

  11. Love to see another perspective on NYC – I’ve only been there a couple of times and it was fairly generic touristy both times. Love your photos!

  12. I love your description of the city: “the city that was against the ‘me’ that is.” I grew up in Colorado and lived in Manhattan for about 7 years. That’s how I felt – in the flow of the people, but not really with the people. Never alone, but lonely. It was a strange time. But I’m also drawn back – every few months, just like clockwork. I can never get too far away.

  13. I grew up in New York and for years I’ve felt that the city I grew up in had disappeared. But, starting with the photo of the N train, I begin to think it’s still there, under all the layers of change. Right down to the unpredictable conversations with strangers–the ones that people think don’t happen in New York but do. I live in Cornwall now, and I love it and blog about it and it’s endlessly fascinating, but New York? Always a part of me, right at the core. Thanks for this.

  14. Hi Jodi!

    Your photos are all awesome and exciting! I enjoyed every single one of them. They made me smile and laugh (birdcrap photo). They are memories to last you a lifetime. The places you have been to and are going to see need not be forgotten.

  15. Jodi, I haven’t been to NYC quite as often as you, but it does shapeshift. Every time I go there’s something new to discover. I love it! Have fun on your boat trip!

  16. Jodi, I loved this post! And just so you know, I’ve got a knack for being a birdcrap target, also. I’m going to count myself lucky that I’ve never been crapped on my a bat now! Happy travels!

  17. I loved this post. This is my first time here. You did something I have always wanted to do but I have no guts to do the same. The fact you left your job s a lawyer to embrace what would be just one year away traveling was amazing. I really liked the photos, the description, the everything really.

    Have you ever been to Brazil before? Have you ever tried Brazilian food? I supposed it is a bit challenging as it varies so drastically from region to region.

  18. New York is the third most crowded state in the United States after California and Texas. Of its populace of 19 million, a little more than 8 million live in New York City alone. Indeed, around 1 in every 38 individuals in the U.S. lives in New York City, and a larger number of individuals live in New York City than in Australia and Switzerland consolidated.

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