NYC Creative Microadventure
The concept is that people feel they need to go on a three month expedition to a far off land to have an adventure, when in fact a single overnight in the wild of your backyard can be just as stimulating.
This is a concept I embrace and try to practice, so when my friend Clarence asked if I wanted to take a day trip to New York City with him "for walking, talking, taking photos and eating a good steak" I instantly said yes.
3:45 am and the alarm goes off.
Snooze is hit without a second thought, yet my brain is stirred as it remembers why the alarm is set knowing there is fresh coffee and a hot shower if I rise out of bed.
6:21 am the crowd hustles up to the yellow line as the Acela glides into the train station.
I've packed light with only my fleece, Kindle, NX500, Venture 30 and notebook in my GR0. We wanted to travel light and I knew we'd talk the whole ride back and forth so there was no need for distractions or laptops.
Emerging from Penn Station is always an interesting moment.
The mixed cocktail of winter and hustle slapping you in the face always takes a couple of seconds before the body and brain figures out that it isn't a threat and to embrace it.
Yet, as we emerged both of us instantly noticed a change. A bit of confusion.
"Where are all the people at?"
Clarence wondered this allowed and I nodded in agreement. There was no taxi line, no one trying to push themselves on to you and no security anywhere.
We took in a deep breath, shared our eagerness for the release of The Division and began our walk of the city.
Clarence had a craving for people and shortly we found ourselves in Times Square where you are always guaranteed to find all kinds of humanity.
We giggled as the breeze was still bringing down confetti from the 2016 celebrations. Tourists were being tourists. We had out fun with the spectacle, but moved on to better areas.
The subway hid from us, but Alice showed us the way and we emerged once more from under the city.
Walking, without much more than a loose idea of where we may end up, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of SoHo.
After the talk of axes, shirts and what makes Best Made who they are, we headed towards our steak lunch. Several suggestions had been made and The Palm won.
Far from the best steak I've ever had, but certainly done right and without any of the baggage that a good steak in New York sometimes requires.
Checking in on Path, I discovered that we were mere blocks from where the World Trade Centers stood.
To stand at the 9-11 Memorial, to read the names, look up in the blue sky and pay respect was a powerful moment that neither of us had planned for.
Emotions were raw and watching tourists with selfie sticks and families pose for photos was confusing and anger fueling. We kept walking, thinking and saying nothing.
The lack of people throughout New York City was strange. We determined it must be a combination of the first work week of the year and everyone having already taken their vacation time for the holidays.
The other trend of the day were all the Christmas trees on the street. It was sad to see some still covered in lights, but it was fun to see other people having a sense of humor with their trash.
As the sun set, we found ourselves grabbing fast-food dumplings on the NYU campus before boarding our train and heading home.
Sadly, I didn't wake up this morning a Powerball winner, but I awoke refreshed and filled with a renewed sense of purpose and a camera full of photos.
Clarence, thank you for inviting me on this creative microadventure and for taking this photo of me doing what I love to do.
New York, thank you for once again surprising me.