After arriving to NY at night I woke up at 5 AM. I was obviously jetlagged (which lasted a couple more days). I went to the closest subway station and went to the very end of Manhattan, South Ferrz station. The exit from subwaz led me straight to the wonderful Batterz Park, beautifuly located by the water. Ferries were to be seen everywhere on calm waters surrounding Manhattan, the biggest ones being the ones that go to Staten Island (I knew where they were going and how it looked from one of a kind source of information about NY, Sex and the city series, that I used to watch as a teenager and still enjoyed it nowadays). Afar, there was Elis Island and the iconic Statue of Liberty to be seen.
The park was empty except a few homeless sleeping on benches, which are often to be seen everywhere in the US. I walked to Castle Clinton, now a national monument, a former place where the immigrants arrived to America. Only in the end of XIX century there were over 8 milion people to arrive there. Not much later the immigration point was moved to the isolated Ellis Island, to avoid crowds, mess and epidemies (cholera mailny) which were inevitable in all newcomers camps. After the end of XIX century Castle Clinton began to be a place of entertainment, with beergardens, concerts and restaurants being located inside.
From the fort I took myway towards a wall of buildings which was the beggining of Manhattan. I imagined that after seing London, Paris or Berlin New York shoudn’t be making such and impression on me. I was wrong. I was overwhelmed. Buildings are just bigger then everywhere else I have seen before and imagined. Standing there, gigantic, closely one nest to another. One of those things, that you’ve seen in movies, tv, on postcards and photos in the internet, but still, when you see it live it’s hard not to be stunned. It’s hard to describe what you feel standing for the first time in an ocean of people and buildings. All the metaphores of beehives or anthills seem to be useless and not enough. You can just raise your head and eyes and look/stare (not to be standing in the middle of the sidewalk, crowds moving there in all directions). The ocean of people is hard to describe too. It’s the morning rush hour, Im walking towards Wall Street. Passing by I can see the National Archive and the National Museum of Native Americans. Just next to it there’s the statue of the charging bull, one of Wall Street’s sybols. As I get closer to it crowds are gettimg even more dense. Once again, stories about people pushing and bumping each other on the streets of Ne York seem to be not true at all, everybody is being nice and courteous. Even if people bump to each other both parties are apologizing. The suits are now to be seen everywhere. The most popular is fair-gray colour, a summer stylish kind. Despite of the heat outside people are wearing whole suits, elegant (most often brown) shoes and perfectly fitting belts and bags. Half of men are walking without a tie, ptobablyI zz they will put one when they’ll get to the office. I have to admit, those banksters look really good. No short-sleeved shirts, no tacky colourful shirts or the ones with cuffs and collars different colour than the shirt (which is unfortunatly so popular in Europe), no big cufflinks, no wide pants. Darker coloured suits are only being worn by a group of Chinese bisnesmen led by an elegant lady wearing flawless Chanel costume. Woman are wearing modest and classy things, grey or navy, white shirts, simple haircuts. They all look like straight from the book “how to dress to impress on a job interview”. Most are wearing flats, maybe the’re going to put on high heels when they enter the office.
I finally get to the very middle of Wall Street. This view makes me think of Rage Against the Machine’s video directed by Michael Moore. He had a clearance to film in a closeby federal building, but instead he decided that the video will be shot on the stairs in front of the New York Stock Market building. The musicians and the crew ignored the police orders, Moore got arrested, but they somehow managed to shot the video and play a concert just in front of the monumental door to the Stock Market. Whole video has a very strong message and the place where it was shot makes the content and lyrics even more powerful. Interesting fact, video is being shot in 1999 and Michael Moore must have had found it very funny to place in the music video a man holding a banner saying “Donald Trump for President”. Somehow, 17 years later that doesn’t seem so funny any more. A joke became reality. Reality become a mockery.
The song is worth listening, it’s really nice to watch this riot on Wall Street. The band and the director were always openly declaring their anticapitalist, leftist and alterglobalist views as well as their aversion to the financial world and institutions.
Just next to the Stock Market building stands the Federal Building (which served to American nation as the first Capitol and being a place of innauguration of George Washington, the first president of the United States). Almost next to it stands Trump Tower. Not a beautiful building being owned by not a nice guy.
Not far away, just a block away stands just like that a small (it seems small comparing to other buildings, actually its 86 meters high) neogothic Holy Trinity church, being a temple of Episcopal Church of the USA. It was build in 1846 and it’s surrounded by a garden and an old cementary full of beautiful old tombstobnes. Most of them dating to the firs hald of XVIII century. One of the famous people burried in there is Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers called the father of the american dollar. As one of the contributors to the creation of the US Constitution he set down the first monetary act which designated the weight of first dollar coins (using a reference to the spanish dollar).
As I continiue walking I pass by a mural being a tribute to NYC fireman who lost their lives and health in 9/11 attacks. I reach the place where Two Towers were located.
Two large holes in the ground inlaid with black basalt, water flowing on it gently and quietly, disapearing in the holes. Around the adges pf holes (yes, holes where WTC towers were standing) are engraved the names of victims. A lot of names. Towering above it stands One World Trade Center, beautifully reflecting the clouds. The tallest biulding on the western hemisphere is jaw-dropping beautiful. Whole place is surrounded with modes trees, simple granite benches. No street musicians, no salesmen shouting. It’s hard not to feel the weight of this place commemorating 2,606 victims of the attacks taking place on September 11th 2001.
As you can see, I continied walking to Brooklyn from there. To be continued.