New York in April is a city on the verge of spring, but not quite there yet.
While it was undeniably beautiful there was also this bleak atmosphere in a city devoid of the lush trees I've seen so often in the insta snaps of New Yorker's. It was like walking through a city littered with skeletons instead of leaves.
There was a lot of walking involved in this trip — I'm glad I brought my trainers — but the streets were so easy to navigate and that horizon so tempting that the miles passed in moments instead of hours, and Manhattan quickly felt like home.
I thought I might feel out-of-place in a city as sprawling and busy as New York, especially after the quiet evenings and lingering sunsets of Grand Cayman. In fact, I felt quite the opposite. I can see why people flock to the metropolis year on year, in search of something they don't quite have a word for yet. The city is so big that it can welcome everyone — anything you want, you got it — and right in the middle of Manhattan island rests that idyllic park. You can wander the paths for only a moment before diving right back into the bustle of the streets, or you can linger for a while, watch a baseball team practice and count the number of bicycles.
What I loved the most about New York (and arguably what other people probably hate) was the noise. Sure, it took a while to get use to the sirens and the horns. But I came to love the almost random honks as cars battled it out to overtake on another before slamming on the brakes before a crosswalk. I came to love that people would have everything out on the streets — emotions and all — because NYC is mostly streets after all and that's where life happens.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Met while I was in the city too. I happened to know that the portrait gallery was where I wanted to languish for a while so I made a beeline for it. The Met isn't necessarily that cheap, but if you're looking for a rainy day activity you can't go wrong.
Another activity I can't recommend enough is the Streetwise Walking Tour. This was organized by my hotel at no extra cost, but I liked it so much I considered asking to book another one while I was there. In the end there just wasn't enough time, but I know if I'm ever in New York with friends I'll insist we go on a tour.
On the crisp morning in question, Dan led our group out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn on the subway — a daring feat that few tour companies attempt. Looking at other walking tours, often you're made to complete an initial intelligence test by way of finding your own way to a suburb or area in New York. This was not the case with Dan and Streetwise. And may I just say, thank you because I'm not sure I would have passed. My navigation skills are somewhat lacking pre-9am in the morning.
I could wax lyrical about it but, basically, the tour was great. Plus, Dan felt real in a town where so many things can feel unreal and untouchable and that really grounded the whole experience for me.