The City of Cities - Stills That Move

The City of Cities

New York City

- Jan 2014 -

Intense, raw, iconic. The city of cities.

New York City put me in a state of wonder and awe, a surprise throwback to my Yosemite experience. Yosemite, that place that nearly broke my neck urging me to look up ever higher and ever farther.

But: This is a modern city. How can buildings be so tall, and how are there so many of them? What's with the retro look? Who decided to put more buildings on top of the tall ones? These questions fostered in my head and I repeatedly reminded myself that all this was in fact human-made. My eyes began to water.

National pride had always been a mystery to me and I always wondered if that was because I grew up in Germany. If Germans do something well, they satisfy their own expectations. No need to applaud second nature. Americans tip the other end of the celebration scale. They know they do amazing things and they happily give each other validation.

New York City is where the pieces finally fell into place for me. Surrounded by such a rich amalgamation of recent and historic achievements, I developed a sense of pride for what humans were capable of. This sensation completely swept me off my feet. I found myself repeating "This is the real thing."

I imagined "What if I lived here now? What if I had even grown up here?" Of course I would wave the American flag and shout "Anything is possible! Follow your dreams!" Because, well, look around you. This city personifies "We've overcome the odds and so can you." It oozes enthusiasm and wants to take you under its wing.

The immigrants who arrived here from the Old World over the past few centuries, laden with hope for a better future, have since contributed to and in fact shaped this can-do spirit. It is these reverberations that I could still feel and that I thought must be the American Dream.

It's sadly ironic that the community spirit of the New World has been built on the dark side of capitalism, which America has become so synonymous with. Still, what we have in NYC now is the world's biggest melting pot with over 800 spoken languages (how many do you speak?), a global cultural and the world's financial centre.

Coming back to my beloved impressive retro-looking skyscrapers: New York City is where they were invented, even where the very term was coined, well over a hundred years ago. These buildings were constructed at a time when engineering was by far not as advanced as today and only made possible by the vertigo-free indigenous people of America. These oldest of skyscrapers reminded me of trying to reach for the stars and in their midst I couldn't help but feel elevated.

Powered by SmugMug Log In