UNITED STATES – Waking up nice and early to promising weather on my second day, I thought I’d go and have a brief look at the neighbourhood I was staying in before I headed for NYC.
As I told you in the last post, my friend’s Airbnb was in Weehawken, on the other side of the Hudson river from Manhattan, in the state of New Jersey. Weehwaken is part of the conurbation of over four million on the east bank of the Hudson, around the cities of Newark, Jersey City and Paterson.
Weehawken itself is not very big. Go 300 meters one way, and you’re on one of Lincoln Tunnel’s access roads. Walk 300 meters the other way, and you’re on Bergenline Avenue, the main street of Union City.
Though the winter temperatures suggest otherwise, New York is on the same latitude as Madrid. But it wasn’t only the clear light that reminded me of Spain on this bright winter Monday morning. It was also the fact that everyone was speaking Spanish. That’s because this area – which is also know as ‘Little Havana’ – is mostly inhabited by Cuban-Americans.
I went shopping at the local City Fresh supermarket every day (for my friend who was sick), and my rudimentary Spanish came in useful. Even the south Asian attendant at a dollar store spoke to me in Spanish, and I don’t look at all Latin American. The Korean lady from whom I bought my 1 dollar bucket of coffee every morning was surprised at how well I spoke English.
That was the furthest I got into New Jersey. I’d have been content to look around a bit longer had I been anywhere else. But I still had a whole island full of gigantic buildings to explore on the other side of the river, just a short bus ride away.
Sadly, the sky clouded over before the morning was over, making the conditions very boring for pictures. Which is why I’m not going to show you any more I made that day. But I did enjoy myself exploring classic parts of New York (5th Avenue, Greenwich Village, Central Park etc).
Weatherwise, Tuesday (my third day) was as dull as Monday. I arrived at Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) again, which means that I can continue not very far from where I left off.
I don’t have much to show for it here, but PABT is where a lot of the bad things about New York come together. Noise, congestion, lack of greenery, homelessness and inequality are just a few things that you notice right away. And then there’s the thought that you probably still have to pay $3,000 per week to live there.
But the worst in New York also brings out the best in New York. The musicians happily jamming 24/7 in the underground parts of Penn Station seem to want to make everyone feel welcome. People waiting for buses to New Jersey wait patiently in endless lines (and are often open for a little chat). Even beggars are polite and greet you with a smile. An African-American street sweeper (who spoke to me when I was making a picture) assured me that New York is the best place in the world.
I took the Q line from Brighton Beach, from which I enjoyed the view of other parts of Brooklyn, and got of at Church Avenue. This is in a part of Flatbush that is home to many people from Africa and the Caribbean, and where I heard some people speak French. It started to rain, and I noticed my feet weren’t tired, so I started to walk. The last picture I’ll show you for today is are of Gowanus Creek seen from 9th Street Bridge:
That was all for my second and third day in New York, so stay tuned for my remaining three days, on which the sun was shining for most of the time.This entry was posted in New Jersey, New York, United States of America