Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A weekend in New York

New York: N: 40º 44.475' W: 073º 57.222'
On the way to Toronto to view GIS in Canadian schools I had to go via New York. So why not stop for the weekend! I had a great weekend just walking around Manhattan from 8am till 10pm on both days. Even then I feel like I have just seen the cursory. I caught the subway from 28th Street where I was staying to the Brooklyn Bridge, had a look around lower Manhattan and Ellis Island and then spent the next two days wandering back up to 103rd street and back to 28th Street. I have a stiff neck from taking photographs of the amazing architecture and the skyline in general. I thought it best just to describe the things which will forever be my impression of Manhattan.
* Walking over Brooklyn Bridge in the rain and considering the wonder of the structure when it was built.
* Looking back from Brooklyn Bridge, the rain and mist making the top of the buildings seem in the clouds.
* Looking at New York at night from the viewing platform on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
* The great museum at Ellis Island and just imagining the human stories.
* An old sail ship in the harbour in front of the skyscape.
* Walking through Central Park on a sunny Sunday with thousands of joggers (they still jog a lot in the US), walkers, musicians, rowers, painters, frisbee throwers and soccer players all enjoying nature.
* Grand Central Railway station being everything I imagined.
* Broadway at night, all abuzz.
Two days in New York just wet my appetite to go back one day. Naturally I have the same geographical questions I had in Hong Kong about how to sustain such a megalopolis but it all seems to work well for the moment. Compared to Hong Kong, New York is ordered, safe, clean, little air pollution and relatively calm (with the exception of sirens and bibbing taxis). Maybe if I got out to the Bronx and Queens it could be a different story but I am sure it would not compare to the smells, pollution and buzz, as are the streets of Hong Kong. Toronto feels very different to the US cities I have been in. Ice Hockey is in the bars instead of gridiron and baseball for starters! However it seems that Canada has the Halloween tradition with the US. People are dressed up in all sorts of costumes and even houses/units decked out in cobwebs. Any excuse to go a little crazy! I think the big night is on Wednesday just before I leave for London.
Now back to work and see what is happening with GIS in Canada. Tomorrow I meet with Jean Tong from ESRI Canada and a few other people she has organised for me to meet.

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