Round the world - city #1: New York

Some of you may already know, but a few weeks ago was Google IO, a big developer conference run by my employer, and this year I happened to be working on something which I could talk about. The other nice thing was that it was held it San Francisco, and as I had a few people to talk to in NY, I ended up taking an entire round-the-world tour also through Spain and England. I'll be covering each city in turn, but today's post is about my first trip to New York, the big apple.

My first day was mostly work-filled, meeting up with coworkers in the Google office but I had organised a visit at night to the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn where they were holding a 'geek nite', including quiz and some interesting talks on perception, diet & lifespan, and a powerpoint karaoke on pearls. After the talks, I took a bit of a walk around a park on the southern side of the Hudson, with a nice night view of Manhattan including the shot above of the Brooklyn bridge.

Saturday was the most sight-seeing-y day, starting with a visit to Dag Hammarskjold place due to the references in the Dark Tower Series. I was impressed by how well it worked in with the story (esp. the Turtle Bay protection society outside), and also the feel of Katharine Hepburn park next door. Later that day was the final of Eurovision 2011, so I headed down to a nice Irish pub who were showing the live stream. Really good atmosphere, completely packed, with most of the supporters cheering on Ireland and England (both of whom had actually OK songs this year...).

Having also gone up the Rockerfeller building (the scene for the first picture in this post) plus taking in a night comedy/art show including Reggie Watts, the Sunday (also my last day) was more for taking in the city aesthetics - mixing the subways (live music at most stations) with times square, cheesecake, bagels and roadside hotdogs, and most impressive of all, Central Park. Having seen it on maps, and in plenty of cutural TV/movie references, I must say that the sheer size, layout and trees/greenery blew me away - to think that it lies in the middle of one of the largest, most densely populated cities in the world (and that New Yorkers have easy access to this place). My impression of the city itself changed quite a bit depending on area, but although it smelt a bit and was quite messy / american in places, there were lots of good things. For one, just so much stuff happening everywhere, I think I'd need more than 3 days next time to take everything - but also the subway was really nice for getting around, random people I bumped into in the hotel/shops were friendly, and there's something about New York architecture that makes parts of it feel very... accommodating and live-able. I know it's just a person bias, but I love places that look like this:

But alas, 3 days is a short time - next on the trip...stay tuned for Barcelona!


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