March 22, 2011

touring the city, writing the story.

I love being a tourist. Love it.

Double decker bus tours? My favorite. Audio guided tours? A close second. Cheesy pictures, piles of brochures, souvenir cups? Check, check, and check--all my cup of tea. I mean, in Europe, I even debated rocking a fanny pack once or twice... (Luckily, though, I found a tiny messenger bag that did the trick. Phew.)

Truth is, though, I find I'm most in my element when I'm walking the unfamiliar streets, when I'm meandering the tucked-away alleys of a new city, when I'm sitting on quiet corners usually reserved for locals. Here, my favorite moments have been those spent in tiny cafes and little bookshops that are off the beaten path--far, far away from Times Square and Central Park and all the crowds.

As I do during most of my trips, I like to pretend that I live here. I like to envision how I'd spend my days if I actually were a New Yorker, so I pick out which coffee shop I'd frequent and which parks I'd run through and which Greenwich Village brownstone I'd call home. Or, let's get real here, which Greenwich Village brownstone I wouldn't call home.

And then, at night, I write it all down--every single detail I can remember from all my most-loved places: the smells and the sounds and the people that were there. It becomes material, specifics to pen into a story someday... Because yes, I'll have the pictures and yes, I'll have the memories--but my favorite way to remember a place, to really etch it into my mind and my heart? Put it in a story. Write the life I'd live there, the one that most fascinates me. 

And this trip, I must say, promises a very good story.

P.S. Do you recognize the man walking away in the bottom photo? He passed by so quickly that I couldn't snap a picture straight-on, so I was forced to turn and catch him from behind...

(Photos: My Flickr)


sammie, sam said... [Reply to comment]

Is that Mathew Brodrick? Sounds like so much fun!

Ana* said... [Reply to comment]

New York is so dreamy.

Jennifer Rod said... [Reply to comment]

You are making me miss New York! I'll probably head there in the fall, but there's nothing more beautiful then New York in the Spring. Have fun!

becky said... [Reply to comment]

Etching it into a story, as you say, is the best preservation. You write so beautifully---it will always do your memories justice. Whenever I go somewhere new, I never like the tourism---the haunts that are always, always frequented or caught on camera. My favourite places are always those little cafes, those little independant bookshops and those little parks that promise the delicacy of tiny, singing birds. (The latter welcomed me in Paris, climbing over my hands to reach the crumbs of a croissant---clearly I don't like the touristic haunts but always, always the food). So glad you are having a good time. Posts like these always make me want to fly the Atlantic just to catch a glimpse of a passing, yellow taxi.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Ah love your photos!!

cait said... [Reply to comment]

Hope you enjoy your time in New York!


Rachael said... [Reply to comment]

Cool celebrity sighting! Of his back! hehe.
I saw that first picture and thought, 'Is she on a tourist bus?..' I guess you were!
Great photos! That's one big Macy's building!

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

This makes me want to go to NYC like NOW.

I don't know whether to say Bueller or starting singing songs from The Producers!

Heidiopia said... [Reply to comment]

One of my favorite things about NYC is that you never know who you're going to see, just going about their everyday lives. Looks like beautiful weather for taking it all in... write away, sweetie!

Laura Marie said... [Reply to comment]

Yep, it was Matthew Broderick alright... if only SJP were there, too!

Briel79 said... [Reply to comment]

Matthew Broderick! Nice. :)

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Love Matthew Broderick!

That is such a great way to remember a place!