Apple of My Eye

Apple of My Eye subway

Times Square-42nd Street subway stop. Mural by Roy Lichtenstein.

 

Every trip I take to New York is different.  Yet each visit is a condensed, exhilarating and enriching experience.  Whenever I step foot into NYC I have a “the world is your oyster” moment accompanied by a surge of energy.  I navigate the streets and the subway system, often with a fixed plan, sometimes with a loose idea of an area to explore, always with camera at hand and expectation in my soul.

 

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Driving down the I87

 

I recently drove to New York with my friends.  To be more accurate, I was driven to New York by Tom, my friend Gelin’s husband.  I was well accompanied in their spacious van, with Gelin, her five-year old twin sons, her two-year old son, her husband and mother.  I have traveled to the Big Apple by bus, train, plane and behind the wheel.  The best way to go is “chauffeur” driven, door to door, with good company to boot!

 

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Great Hill, Central Park

 

New York feels like my backyard playground, and at 532 kilometers south of Montreal, straight down the I87, it’s a breeze to get there.  The complicated piece of trip logistics, barring visa issues, is lodging. My friends and I rented an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a hop away from Central Park and the subway.  We had four comfy bedrooms, two closet-sized bathrooms with cereal box-sized sinks, an infinitely long hall that begged for a skate board, a brick walled living room and a kitchen where we churned out delectable meals concocted from ingredients bought from China City in Chinatown.

 

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China City, Chinatown

 

This was Tom and Gelin’s mother’s first visit to New York.  It was a sunny Saturday.  New Yorkers and Columbus Day weekend visitors flocked the streets in short sleeves.  The itinerary started with the inevitable Times Square, a stroll down Fifth avenue to Rockefeller Center, in and out Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, past Bergdorf Goodman, down to the subway, up the Canal Street stop, through Chinatown to a table at the back of a bustling Cantonese restaurant, which my friends chose for the shiny roasted ducks hanging in the front window. You haven’t tasted lobster until you try their ginger shallot lobster.

 

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Times Square

 

Now imagine doing this hike with our party of seven. Tom, with laptop in tow, often carried a twin on his shoulders while pushing his toddler in the stroller.  By 5:00 my friends were ready to go home.  I wasn’t.  I gave Gelin a rendezvous at 7:00 p.m. in Times Square. Yes, this can be done successfully.  I met my friend on the imposing red glass stairs, where I was able to witness a young man kneeling down and proposing to his girlfriend while a crowd of strangers cheered him on.

 

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The Phantom of the Opera

 

Gelin, a theatre fanatic, invited me to The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. The show was spectacular, powerful and moving.  During standing ovation, the man next to me had tears rolling down his cheeks. A couple of nights later we went to see Evita, despite the fact that it was Ricky Martin’s night off! It was entertaining but the Phantom stole my heart.

I spent Sunday afternoon in Newark, New Jersey, an experience that deserves its own blog.  Stay tuned!

 

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“Tumors Personified," part of the survey show of Alina Szapocznikow’s work at MoMA.

 

On my last day in New York, my dear friend, Hasmig, invited me to the Museum of  Modern Art.  The highlight of that visit was the Alina Szapocznikow exhibit.  At first I did not realized we had stumbled onto a solo exhibit of this accomplished Polish artist’s work.  When I saw her first piece, I was captivated.  As I advanced through rooms and was treated to more of her work I fell under her spell.  The show ends with her “Tumor “ sculptures made with resin, gauze, crumpled newspapers and photographs.  Through these powerful pieces Szapocznikow wanted to preserve the impermanence of the body.

 

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Strand Book Store

 

What is a trip to NYC without a visit to Strand Book Store?  This is a veritable Ali Baba’s cavern brimming with new, old and rare books.  In the 1970s, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist George F. Will wrote, « the eight miles worth saving in this city are at the corner of Broadway and 12th Street. They are the crammed shelves of the Strand Book Store. »  For a good hour I lost myself in page after page.  I loved the section of New York books and always cherish reading true stories of people’s first impressions of New York.

 

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Manhattan skyline

 

In 1950 Truman Capote wrote in his essay, The Diamond Iceberg:

“It is a myth, the city, the rooms and windows, the steam-spitting streets; for anyone, everyone, a different myth, an idol-head with traffic-light eyes winking a tender green, a cynical red. This island, floating in river water like a diamond iceberg, call it New York, name it whatever you like; the name hardly matters because, entering from the greater reality of elsewhere, one is only in search of a city, a place to hide, to lose or discover oneself, to make a dream wherein you prove that perhaps after all you are not an ugly duckling, but wonderful, and worthy of love, as you thought sitting on the stoop where the Fords went by; as you thought planning your search for a city.”

I call it New York, the apple of my eye, the place I like to hide and seek myself, time after time, always new, exquisite, exhilarating and exhausting!

 

Talleen Hacikyan

Photos by Talleen Hacikyan, except for Phantom of the Opera.

1 Réponse à “Apple of My Eye”


  • Oh Talleen! I am so jealous!! Sounds like a great trip! I’ve added the bookstore to the list of places to visit next time I’m there… Can’t wait!

    How did you take that beautiful skyline picture?!?!

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