Wednesday, November 08, 2006

First Impressions

Running around these last few days I just couldn’t find time to sit down and organize my thoughts. It is a rainy midday in New York City and here’s a, hopefully, short recap the first few DKNY days.
I really love it here. I somehow knew I would. On Friday coming back from work, I stepped of a stranded trolleybus in the middle of Slavija circle. The first snow caused Belgrade’s traffic system to collapse, but as I headed home on foot, cold and wet, past angry, cursing drivers I nevertheless had a huge grin on my face. I just couldn’t wait to come.
Appropriately for traveling to the city that never sleeps, we didn't get any rest in the 30 hour day that took us from Belgrade to New York. After finishing packing very late and only a few hours of restless sleeping, we got up before dawn to get a cab to the airport. Appropriately, the Scissor Sisters were playing happily on the radio. A short delay, one aerial view of the Eiffel tower in the mist, several plastic-wrapped meals and an ocean later, we landed. Oh, again appropriately, the in-flight movie was the Devil wears Prada.
First impressions were a bit strange, though. After the architectural splendor of Charles De Gaulle, JFK seemed gray and drab. The long line of tired and nervous travelers waiting to give their fingerprints didn’t really improve the atmosphere. Our friend was waiting, fortunately, so we got in the car immediately and hit the roads. I knew America was the land of cars but I was still a bit shocked. First of all, the cars are huge, and they are everywhere. As we drove, for what seemed like hours in the awful traffic along this and that expressway, motorway, highway or parkway I wasn't all that impressed, but as we passed by the East River and saw the lights of Manhattan in all their glory I was bought.

We got off the highway into a whole different world. Brooklyn is lovely. Carroll Gardens is a nice quiet neighborhood with beautiful brick buildings, small shops, good restaurants, and friendly people who say hi in the streets. Walking around the city these last few days, I realized New York was like a series of small cozy towns hiding between the streets of the huge metropolis.
Not everything was great though. I managed to get my wallet stolen. I was terribly upset. I didn’t have too much money, but with no money and no Metro Card we had to walk for hours in the weak rain, through some not very representative neighborhoods to get home.
Despite that, I’m very happy that we’re here. We decided to first handle all the formalities and then let go and enjoy ourselves. So far, we finished all of Ivan’s paperwork, and visited most of the schools I’m interested in. Today we’ll brave the rain and finish the rest of the work.
Although we’ve been busy with other things, in the process we still got to walk around Manhattan’s avenues, see the Marathon runners in Central Park, and the flags fluttering at the UN, and go to Williamsburg where walking along one street you move back through time, from the hip artsy neighborhood to the orthodox Jewish community. We sat in Washington square park where a hard core band played and little girls in pink coats happily jumped around. There’s so much to feel and see and do and everywhere it is just bursting with life.
I think I could get used to this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Marko,
I knew you and NY would hit it off. Had no doubts whatsoever...Over here, Grimgrad is as grim as ever, so enjoy every moment big Mac...
Love to you and Ivan