A Tale Of One City
First Impressions: Dickensian Charm
a story and photo from Tash Jones
A tale of one city.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
Amidst a family tragedy, a wide eyed girl found herself standing in the centre of pop culture, (the only place you’d want to be at such a sour time). Even her carefully woven British cynicism couldn’t deny that 23 degrees (73.4 Fahrenheit), a blue sky and Times Square in front of your eyes is a sight to see.
So to be a tourist in New York City: the Empire state, Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, the Dakota Buildings, Guggenheim, Rockerfeller, Times Square. She enjoyed them all immensely but what struck her the most were the personal moments, the comedian at the comedy club who made jokes bout tea-bagging as she awkwardly sat beside her mum, the group of young men who put on an outdoor show containing street dance and leap-frogging audience members to occasional ‘ohhs’ but mostly ‘wows’. Let’s be fair, they try and do these shows in Covent Garden but the audience participation seems so reserved back in the UK, that one can’t imagine it being as successful and then there was the lady from West Virginia who the girl shared some tales of joy, some of annoyance and a fast food experience together while they sat around for what felt like eternity at JFK.
There are many tourist spots she could pick to highlight here but she finds herself still thinking about the view of the Hudson River from the pier, perhaps not as iconic as the view from Staten island or overlooking central park but it was quaint. There were only a handful of tourists around and it felt like her little secret, so she’ll keep it. Everyone discusses the food or the shops or Broadway or the yellow cabs but the people were definitely the main difference from life back home. The main thing she noticed was everybody was not only friendly, welcoming and but also quite hilarious.
All in all, even in her optimistic ways, she’s not sure if she could ascertain to a constant lifestyle of positive attitude and strangers smiling at you and saying hell rather than the hurried walk of shame at accidentally brushing someone’s arm with yours. But mostly, she was impressed, impressed at the vastness of evening entertainment,impressed that out of all the people she encountered only one was grumpy, impressed that now she was feeling happy instead of sad and she realised she would lift her head more when walking in the streets and smile even if back home, that is odd.
“I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.” ~Charles Dickens, A TALE OF TWO CITIES