Manhattan: First Impression

Manhattan: First Impression. A night view of Manhattan's financial district and Brooklyn Bridge.
A night view of Manhattan's financial district and Brooklyn Bridge.
Manhattan, the crown jewel of the American Empire, has exhausted all manner of portrayals many times over. Leaving aside the mistrust evoked by its behemoth corporations, it is undeniable that the this leviathan has transformed the land into an economic titan.

A titan that, like a giant Sequoia, engages in a symbiotic relationship with its surrounding districts and weaves them into a microcosm of global supremacy.

The overabundant supply of capital flows through its veins. Fear and greed orchestrate the rhythm of its heartbeat. Sidewalks frame ethnic enclaves. Ubiquitous scaffolding hastens its perpetual metamorphosis.

Lives, on overdrive, unleash energy that charges across the landscape of taxi horns, orange-white steam pipes, and the deafening beats of the latest EDM. Each neighborhood is distinct with its own stories of hope, desperation, and salvation.

Manhattan: First Impression. A street in Tribeca, Manhattan, in the Spring. Manhattan: First Impression. Streets in Lower Manhattan and its orange steam pipes. Manhattan: First Impression. West Village, Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. Trinity Church Cemetery, Manhattan. Manhattan: First Impression. Central Park, Manhattan, New York City.

Greenwich Village is a prosperous and tight-knit community with relics of a bohemian past. Inscribed on its walls are memories of the Stonewall Riot, the Beat Generation, and, menus of $15 cocktails.

There is Wall Street, the northern border of early Dutch settlement, where credit is cheaper than bottled water. Little Italy, where one finds better Chinese dumplings than spaghetti. Tribeca, where an understated coolness camouflage the lofts’ surging property tax. Chelsea, where a cornucopia of galleries and nightclubs scatter along the High Line.

Lower East Side, where immigrants scripted the tenement landscape and Horatio Alger narrative. Flatiron, incubator of New York’s Silicon Alley, where tech startups like Tumblr began their ascent to billion-dollar valuations.

Then there are the formidable cultural institutions of the Upper East and West, where even the most downhearted soul could seek refuge in the uplifting humanities. Harlem, the birthplace of 1920s Harlem Renaissance and the neighbourhood to a dwindling population of African-Americans. And of course, there is Greenwich Village, where Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs once battled for their urban vision.

It is now a wealthy community filled with relics of a bohemian past. Inscribed on its walls are memories of the Stonewall Riot, the Beat Generation, and, menus of $15 cocktails.

Manhattan: First Impression. Lower East Side neighbourhood in Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. Graffiti such as the one on the rolling shutter is a prominent feature of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Manhattan: First Impression. A Graffiti at Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. SOHO neighbourhood in Manhattan, New York City.

With the booms and the busts, the struggle of generations ages into a patina of wonder, bearing witness to its status as world’s foremost cultural and financial mecca.

Walt Whitman once said of this place: “there is no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy. It lays its hand upon a man’s bowels; he grows drunk with ecstasy; he grows young and full of glory, he feels that he can never die.” Through the booms and the busts, the struggle of generations ages into a patina of wonder, bearing witness to the world’s foremost cultural and financial mecca.
After all, in which other city can one wake up in the morning and jog along a waterfront lined with magnificent cityscape, join Joseph Stiglitz’s economics symposium at noon, grab a world-class New York slice on the sidewalk, attend Howard Shore’s live-to-projection film concert in the evening, have Lanzhou pulled noodle rivaling Asia’s best, then drop by clubs and bars opening well past 3 a.m.?

Manhattan: First Impression. Overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. A street at the boundary of Chinatown and Tribeca, Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. Financial District, Manhattan, New York City. Manhattan: First Impression. Broadway Street, Manhattan, New York City.

 

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