I'm not sure if Tom Wolfe's words ring true for the majority but it certainly felt that way for me. When Nic was studying in the beautiful little town of Carlsbad, the opportunity came up for me to fly to New York City and stay with my beautiful friend Poody Pidgeon for ten days! Poody had been living in Manhattan, Greenwich Villige for 4 months now, studying at SVA (school of visual arts) and with open arms and a full heart took me in.
We both coincidently met at JFK airport as she was flying in from LA. We laughed as her suitcase was big enough for a round the world trip for a five day stint. On the Subway home Poody's eyes were alive as she told me all that she loved about this city that never sleeps.
In all honesty the main thing exciting me about New York was the galleries. You were spoiled for choice there were too many to explore! As far as the city itself was concerned i expected it to be overated by the many movies and people i had seen preaching its magic!
We climbed out from the subway at one in the morning, this was my first sight of New York. It surprised me, i said to Poody "its so small!" she instantly laughed saying "just wait till tomorrow". The sweet old brick apartment blocks and low rise early skyscrapers felt cosy and warm as we passed many flamboyant characters. Transvestites strutting, teens giggeling and others speeding past with boom boxes tied to their bicycles blasting beats into the night.
My mind wandered to the great's that had lived and walked these streets. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jim Morrison, Andy Warhol and of course Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. That was all it took, imagining this place in the 60s and 70s. When i left San Diego i hadnt given a thought to the fame and how much history this city held home to and in that moment i instantly fell in love with this unpolished, raw, filthy, energetic and electric big juicy apple.
With Poody attending her studies most days, I would head off witnessing one gallery at a time. I devoured the MOMA, The Natural History Museum, The MET, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Sex. I was hungry for art! Each viewing I felt re-charged, inspired and purposeful. This was my education, an obsession I would spend hours in these galleries. Forgetting to have lunch and emerging from the buildings blown away with new favourite artworks. Artworks that I had not appreciated in the past, their beauty was exposed seeing them in the flesh!
It was as much the journey en route as it was the experience when i arrived. In my stubborn-ness to technology and an ode to the old world of poets and musicians that had walked these streets, i decided against buying an american sim card and instead bought a map for $7 at the book store. Mustafa we called it. Poody would laugh and roll her eyes as i would open up this huge parchment twisting and turning it to find my position.
I saw my experience here with rose coloured glasses the christmas trees lined the streets for sale, picking sprigs crushing and smelling it as we walked. Steam vents billowed the buildings grew taller and taller but never lost their charm. Manhattan was massive and tiny at the same time. I had never felt such a contradiction.
What I really enjoyed about my experience was the freedom of personal expression that i saw in people. A gothic chick best friends with a prim and proper office girl, a curvaceous woman in the tightest dress iv ever seen and Poody in all red head to toe looking like a mnm chocolate drop. My opinions are merely observations but it felt liberating being amongst such larger than life characters that seemed hungry for life and not afraid to make friends with strangers on the sidewalks.
I felt like i had just started art school again, except this time inside my mind. Coming up with personal ideals and values of what "art" and creative expression is to me. This feeling of expansiveness and possibility that lived not only in this beautiful city but also within ourselves. A reminder to keep searching past my comfort zone and living a life full of expression!