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Big Apple Unpeeled 8th October - 8th November 2010

Friday, 28 January 2011

Who needs friends when you've got New York City

I'm not sure if I heard this some where but I had this thought a lot whilst I was in New York.

In a city vibrating with so much energy, it felt like that was company enough at times. I thrived on that energy.

I'm often asked about what I love about the city.

I love the pride New Yorkers have in their town.

Big Apple Unpeeled blog New York City by Karen Strunks

I love the IN YOUR FACE, no holds barred, here I am attitude.

Hanging out with Ricky aka @dynamicimage

I love the diversity of it's residents

Disgraceland Family, Halloween, NYC by Karen Strunks

I love it's choices

Big Apple Unpeeled blog New York City by Karen Strunks

I love it's industriousness

Street Photography New York City by Karen Strunks

I love it's size and the feeling of anonymity

Big Apple Unpeeled blog New York City by Karen Strunks

I love that it's easy to make friends

New York Graffiti Artists in Queens, NYC

I love the feeling that you really can do and be anything you want to be!

Naked Cowboy, Times Square, NYC by Karen Strunks

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Time Lapse Video of Sunset in Central Park, NYC

The day after arriving in Manhattan, I ventured to Central Park which was only a 30 minute walk away.

Before I left for NYC I'd been scouring the internet and had seen some amazing videos of sunset over the city and I set myself a mini project of capturing the sunset over Central Park.

The sun set at around 6.30 and I got there an hour earlier and set up my cameras.

I was over looking Sheep Meadow, on the south end of the park. I set my cameras rolling and people watched for the next hour. The office workers taking time to enjoy the park after a long day in the office, the kids playing, dog walkers and those just strolling and taking in the evening. I stayed there until the sun had set and a park warden came along, he walked into Sheep Meadow and shouted out that the gates were closing and everyone had to leave. I had secured my cameras to the actual gate that need to be locked so it was time to move on.

I stayed in the park a little longer and took a seat nearby two New York old timers and eavesdropped on the conversation. They were talking about how times have changed, old friends, their failing health, and good times too. Thank you to those two gentleman who let a tourist have an insight into their lives.

I hope you enjoy the video!

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Sunday, 2 January 2011

My first New York friend

Just hours after arriving in Manhattan I made my first friend. A true New Yorker to boot!

After arriving at my apartment and checking it out, pretty much the next thing I did, before I even unpacked, was to get myself hooked up online. I'll write more about staying online in New York later.

Everything in New York just seems so convenient. There doesn't seem to be much you can't get without having to travel too far at any time. The store for my mifi device was about 5 blocks away.

This was my first time stepping out onto the streets and meeting my neighbourhood. It was later afternoon, the sun was shining and despite a long journey I was fully of energy!

I picked up my device and started to wander back to my apartment and a small shop front caught my eye. It looked a bit new age-y, and I thought I might pick up a few incense sticks (I'm not sure why I took this notion as I never used them at home).

It was small inside and heavily scented with many candles burning and lots of curiosities housed on shelves. The guy behind the counter was speaking with a woman in Spanish. I continued my nose around and selected some incense and waited to be served.

The woman left the shop and the guy said "Hi. How are you doing?"

"I'm great! I've just arrived in New York!!" I was in NEW YORK! I was having my first proper conversation!! This was exciting!!

He introduced himself at Ezo, and we continued our chat. I told him about my plans for my stay and he told me about his art and his love of graffiti.

"Let's meet up for a drink later."

"Hmm, I'll think about it", I replied. A new girl in a new town. I was a little hesitant and said I would think about it and meet him back at the shop around 9pm if I wanted to go for a drink.

Now, believe me, I really don't make a habit of going out for a drink with any man that asks me. And I know appearances can be deceptive, but Ezo seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and I WAS IN NEW YORK! Let's celebrate that with a drink with a new friend.

So I met him later and we went to a bar at a bar at the end of my street. It was a warm evening and we sat outside, the heavy Manhattan traffic just feet away. Music was blaring from bars and cars, impatient drivers were sounding their horns, I was looking up at some of the biggest buildings I've ever seen and surrounded by New York accents from pedestrians walking buy. I couldn't take it all in fast enough.

And I had a friend! We chatted over our drinks and talked about NY. Ezo loves his city and really appreciates it too.

He offered to sketch me. Sure! So I struck a pose and stayed as still as I could for 10 minutes or so, making sure I could still see everything that was going on around me and thinking to myself, "I'm in New York, I'm in New York, how did this happen? You did it! You are here!".

Ezo had finished my sketch. I loved it! He wasn't so keen, saying he didn't get my eyes or chin right, but it looked pretty good to me. What do you think?

It was getting a bit late and my long day and all the excitement was finally catching up with me, so I bid Ezo goodnight, and we said we would keep in touch. And we did. I spent a day with Ezo in Queens with his graffiti friends and we went to the Halloween parade together. I'll write about those events later.

I made quite a few friends during my stay in NYC. I found it really easy. Maybe that was partly due to me not working and being out and about everyday. Maybe because I was more open to conversations with people. Maybe people are more forward in NY and will just strike up a conversation with strangers. As the days went on, I certainly noticed I was more forward and less hesitant in saying hello to people. I guess my English reserve didn't hang about for too long in Manhattan! :)

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