May 27, 2007. We weren’t in New York City for very long. Just a day and a half, actually, to do the tourist essentials. It was quite surreal to be in New York for the first time. You know how one has never set foot in the place and yet his subconscious is saturated with its images from all the American entertainment and other such products he has consumed– from Spider-man to Superman to Friends to many many other American sitcoms, films and literature. It can make one feel artificially enthralled and fulfilled.
After having a hearty Italian fast food lunch at Sbarro’s in Times Square, we crossed the street and lined up for the quintessential double decker bus tours.
We took the downtown loop tour which took us on a few-hour tour around Manhattan’s famed downtown from Times Square to The Empire State Building to the Flatiron building and Union Square shopping districts, to Soho, to Chinatown, to Lower East Side, to East Village, to Greenwich Village to Rockefeller Center, boy I don’t remember everything.
You know that weird feeling of artificial fulfillment persists. You’ve never been here before but you’ve seen and read these places so many times in your books, in your TV, in your theaters that they have long become familiar before you set foot and they become surreal once you do. It’s like your whole entertainment world has conspired to saturate you with images of New York City to make you feel special when you actually get there–when really, if not for all the mention in thousands of literature, what makes New York City that much different from other world megacities?