“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
― Tom Wolfe
When you google New York Minute this is what comes up in Urban Dictionary:
“A New York minute is an instant. Or as Johnny Carson once said, it’s the interval between a Manhattan traffic light turning green and the guy behind you honking his horn.
It appears to have originated in Texas around 1967. It is a reference to the frenzied and hectic pace of New Yorkers’ lives. A New Yorker does in an instant what a Texan would take a minute to do.”
These are the words associated with it,
With all of these definitions, associations and descriptions, there is no better way to describe our visit than the commonly termed NEW YORK MINUTE. We flew through, it was quick, fast, a blink of an eye, felt like a split second and was certainly brief. I am not educated enough on American Culture, to know what the reference between New York Minute and The Olsen Twins, Haverford School or Delaware country have in common, but I would love to return to The Big Apple to find out.
We had 24 hours, exactly. And so we landed, raced through customs, questioned a couple of locals to find the quickest route to our accommodation and then got going. We were relieved to have rid of some of our luggage in Cape Town and be traveling slightly lighter. Bryce, more than me! We jumped on to the Skytrain and once again got excited by the notion of public transport- of sitting back and letting the organisation of a first world country wow us into contentment. On the second leg of our trip, we had managed to get some seats, with our luggage closely tucked between our legs. The train, running through “the Bronx”, filling up with some interesting characters, and then just like those movies, you know the “Save The Last Dance” types, two guys, with pants hanging low and a boombox attached to their arms, walked onto the train and started performing. I caught Bryce’s eye and grinned, he had never been to America before, this was a great welcome!
One of our biggest couple issues (beare with me!) is our disagreement on directions. I am notoriously bad with directions but stubbornly hold onto the notion that sometimes I must be right and therefore, dearest Bryce, sometimes kindly shuts his mouth, drags all of our belongings and entertains me going the wrong way until he can’t do it anymore. He gently tries to get me to turn around and although it drives me nuts, I eventually have to give in. And this is how we found our accomodation. New York was freezing, we weren’t dressed properly and dragging our bags around Harlem was no longer fun. So, we had to stop, take a moment and use google maps. Our place was, luckily, not far from where we were, but it was the other direction to where I had initially dragged us. Boyfriends before have not dealt with this as well as Bryce 🙂
Neither of us wanted to waste a minute, as we only had 1440 of them and they needed to be used wisely. So, we got dressed as warmly as we could and made our way down to Times Square. It was busy, it was filled with lights, it was bustling and it was exactly what we had seen in the movies. The high rise buildings, the NY Police, the dressed up cartoon characters and the hot dog street vendors all shouting, all moving. Not one person still, not one person quiet. It was so NEW YORK. We decided to carry on walking down towards SOHO, taking in the different streets and characters we walked past.
Not sure, if I have mentioned this, but it was FREEZING.
Hunger visited. As it often does. And so we stopped off at a great noodle bar. Shocked by the prices, but loving the warmth. We nestled into a little corner stall and soaked up the goodness of the food.
Post-dinner had a mad desire to try and find some live music. All though we were underdressed and turning into icicles, we walked the streets, following the sounds of a saxophone, a piano or guitar. The one beautiful place we found, with a pianist and saxophonist ooz-ing out, was filled to the brim and so we settled into a deliciously warm wine bar around the corner, parted with many of our South African rands for a drink and chatted away in the heart of Soho. Happy to be there.
Our apartment was right next to central park and the following morning, our run took us around the icy park. Again, directions leading us separate ways, as they often do. But eventually, on Bryce’s directions, we found our way wrapping around the beautiful park, the skyline opening itself up to us in the glory of the morning sunshine. The bustle of people walking to work, their icey breaths contrasting their warm coffees. Everyone busy, again, everyone moving. We found a gorgeous coffee shop, Bluestone Lane. It was in the arch of a stone church. It really was beautiful, with high ceilings and creative lighting. The smell of freshly roasted coffee drawing you in. The prices, typically New York, but the menu a true delight. Because, we were mid-run, we only sampled their lattes, but I really do think you should try them for a breakfast!
Like true South Africans, who haven’t seen much snow, we got so excited by the iced over rivers. We even found ourselves having to prove that they really were iced over, Bryce like a naughty school kid was digging up rocks, throwing them overhead and geting so excited by the fact that they were stopping dead in the lake. No sinking, no plopping, just stuck, caked in ice. It was funny.
We didn’t have too much more time, so we packed up our bags and headed further downtown to grab some breakfast. In true New York style, Bryce grabbed a bagel and coffee, while I sipped on a smoothie. We were in a corner store, sushi at the back, New York Times reading patrons all around us. It was fun. The city had drawn us in and we have to come back.
Not enough time and not enough rands to do all the things we wanted to do.
Give us another minute, we’ll be back!