My weekend in New York City was an adventurous whirlwind that went by in a flash. I spent less than 36 hours in the city, highlighted by the opera on Friday and a lavish tasting menu dinner on Saturday. The rest of the time I spent taking in the intricacies of New York that I love the most: the hustle and bustle of millions of people living busy lives, striking up random conversations with strangers on the street, and following desires on a whim to explore new experiences.
|Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty.|
Having only two days in a city as dense and complex as New York City is a very urgent feeling. There are so many places to go, people to connect with, emotions to feel and things to experience. Each and every moment feels fleeting at best. Am I taking in every detail, feeling every emotion in this moment? While those thoughts were on my mind, I also had to remind myself to stay right here, in this moment, and not get too concerned with what I was doing in an hour or three.
Then I realized that life is no different, it’s just that we aren’t as aware that the clock is ticking. Often I am so focused on what I’m doing tonight or in two weeks that I’m absent from the present moment. And that’s not a way to live. I need to take the philosophy of this weekend into my daily life. That means being here now, letting the minor worries that are out of my control slip my mind, and getting the most out of each moment.
|The High Line park in Chelsea.|
The weekend itself was so rewarding; much more enjoyable than I anticipated when planning it. Being alone opened the door to a lot of opportunities I would have missed had I been with a companion, even if it was just talking with people I otherwise would have ignored. Like the lady at the opera who told me that the performance would be her last after attending the opera for 45 years, back when the tickets were only $11! And the extra courses during the tasting menu at Sho, compliments of the chef after a friendly waiter offered to introduce me to him.
Or stopping to write on a bench for a half hour during a stroll on the High Line (the elevated park on an old railroad track), sparked with inspiration because there was no one there to interrupt my thoughts. And meeting a new friend on flight into the city, who later invited me out with him and his friends for sake on Saturday night. Or the conversation through broken English on the plane on the way home with the man from Siberia, who showed me pictures of his life and even gave me Russian money as a souvenir.
|The Empire State Building in the distance.|
Don’t get me wrong, there are many advantages to traveling with a buddy. Having to make all the decisions myself, while liberating, was also stressful. And when I was stressing about getting to dinner on time and the taxi overheated, I needed someone to tell me to relax. But if you can’t have fun by yourself, how can you expect to have fun with others?
Over the next few posts, I’ll share the details of the opera Manon, the multiple course dinner at Sho Shaun Hergatt, visits to some macaron shops around the city, and a little snippet of brunch at one of my favorite restaurants.
Oh and was a trip this quick worth it? Every single cent, every single second.