It became clear to me today that I’m just getting to know New York… thank goodness! This morning I felt a bit afraid, under a strange sort of vertigo, that everything is going too fast, that every day is unstoppable and that every new night brings a new adventure to my computer, as to my new best friend: Word. Since I got here I’ve had quite intense days, really fast paced and without pauses, without having been here a week.
Just 4 days in this crazy city, and after my last subway experience yesterday, that made me walk more than 40 inspiring blocks, I decided that before going out I should study the streets I’ll be walking on, as well as the map of the “underworld”. My spoken English keeps being an obstacle for relating with other human beings, separating me from the birth of interesting dialogues and making excessive questions to the New York community. The previous made me go out more prepared for today’s excursion: Williamsburg. I got lost anyway, but my other best friend – the map – was very loyal, helping me find the right coordinates. I believe Julia became to trust me excessively and her references stopped being as punctual as they used to be, but well: it’s part of the journey implied in being here.
After a fun walk through Bowery to Kenmare, I became aware of the crazy change of language in the signs and papers on the street; from English to Chinese. That must be the way to Chinatown, or that popular neighborhood’s marginal area which I refused to visit, for I wish to discover it profoundly, and I really wanted to get to Brooklyn. I then crossed Williamsburg Bridge and got to the most important Jewish area in this part of the territory, a hallucinatory place very different from all I had seen. With the company of an i-Pod Shuffle and a seductive male voice in English, I was told the story of the place, the creation of the community and the present lifestyle of the neighborhood. As expected, I understood only part of what I was hearing, and moving extremely fast I could establish the coordinates, as to go on through the tour on a more personal rhythm that I had ever experimented. I’d sometimes pause it to take photos, to look at the numerous Jewish families and their customs: men among men and scared women sharing only among themselves, not publicly sharing with their men, though in their intimacy they must share a lot… well, hence the “numerous families”. A thing that had caught my attention in New York was the lack of children on the street, and I then I thought: they’re all in Williamsburg! And Jewish! This city still has a chance for salvation. It all depends on if the political powers want this community to reign in the future, for if not: only Obama’s daughters could do something.
After the personalized tour I followed Julia’s proposal for this excursion. With the help of my map it wasn’t very difficult to get to Bedford, the hip street in Williamsburg: full of bars, bookstores, record stores, a few small but good art galleries and lots of people full of style (pleasure for my eyes). To talk about the art spaces I’d like to see a bit more of them. Galleries like Like de Spice and the Pierogi Gallery had extremely different showings: one very figurative, modern but figurative anyway, while the other had drawings and maps that marked the route towards an undetermined point, playing with political and the different powers in this country; both interesting but not too much. I think this city has been such an impact on me that not seeing strong powerful work is not provoking strong powerful sensations in me, nor leading my eyes towards them… This city is the big artwork for me right now.
New York is imposible to escape from. Every reality and every new image make an big impression on me, move me, inspire me, making me feel that the world is moving, that everything that happens is something new, independent from the day before, independent form the reality of my own world: and I like it. It distracts me without making me fly, landing on every corner, every step, every subway station, in the eyes on each and every inhabitant of this city.