Ah, New York- thanks for revitalizing my love for you. We go way back. New York holds lots of my fondest childhood memories. My sister lived in Manhattan from 2006 to 2011. My mom and I would make several trips a year to hang out with my sister and in that time, I am pretty sure we covered the whole island. It was awesome and truly what I always believe has made me an adventurer. When I was 10 years old, I flew there alone. The support I have always received from my sister as a role model and the trust, love, and encouragement my mom has always shown me formed these needs to move, travel, and see at a super early age. 2011, the year Harper was born, I lived in the city for a couple weeks. I packed a Razor Scooter and explored Manhattan on my own daily. That was the summer that liberated me and really brought me into obsessing over the hippy movements before me and where I could fit in from then on. I spent many days scooting around NoHo, Greenwich Village, and the West Village, visiting street markets and buying cheap peace sign bracelets, listening to talented musicians in Washington Square Park, and talking to homeless people as if I was some kind of interviewer looking for answers. I met people advocating for their beliefs, loudly and proudly and even at 14, that sparked something in me. I have always been curious, intrigued, and ready to test my ability at human connection in all ways possible. As a kid roaming the concrete jungle, it was inexpensive, inspiring, and taught me how to navigate a city, something, I, a small town kid from EKY, had never really done. From there, I knew to learn, you had to jump in, and just experience things. Learn from those experiences and keep moving, perfecting mistakes and learning more. I am thankful for my bravery in adolescence. The photos below are hilarious and it's as if I can close my eyes and remember each of these moments- I believe the effect is everlasting on me.
I always thought of my cool sister as the New Yorker. She had a kickass job, knew all of the coolest spots, and taught me how to talk with less of a twang. I was inspired by New York, but decided since that was her thing, I must've been a California girl. Our different energies just seemed to fit those personas and I never really let that image go. Of course, looking up to her the way I always have, there was no question that I would be big city, too.
Fast Forward to 2016, I spent a week in the city as a young adult. I interned at Perkins + Will, a pretty huge national design firm, and kind of got a taste for the city through the eyes of what I thought was an adult at the time. It was during a monumentally terrible blizzard which is NOT my tempo. Walking in the cold=me doing anything but that. During that trip, I was fully in love with hot yoga and that was the ONLY thing that persuaded me to leave my AirBnb. I left that spring absolutely knowing, this is not for me.
Whew, what an intro, now we're here. My adventures have went global, I am experiencing all of my passions and dreams colliding and paving a really eclectic, wild path for myself. I have grown a lot since every time I have been in Manhattan before. This time, getting to enjoy the walkable city in perfect fall weather and feeling more "pro-traveller" with a backpack, and making to-do lists of really cool shit. I mean, you can literally do anything in New York City, anything.
DAY 1: Solo Adventures + Burning Man Rekindling
In my earlier post I shared my experience of showing up to the city with my stay arrangements battered. It always kind of exhilarates my inner son archetype when plans fall through because I am fascinated with figuring things out on the fly, in a time crunch. So, woke up day one from staying in my shared space AirBnb, super rested and ready to explore the city alone. I hit Central Park in the morning, with a little ritual of breath in Strawberry Fields. I have visited the memorial before, but this time, I realized how special the concept of memorials truly are. As I was approaching the tiled "Imagine" ode, I was hearing story telling amongst countless groups of people, different accents, ages, etc., sharing their own individual knowledge of John and the Beatles. It was really cool to see people learning or even sharing information I found contrary to the things I know or had never heard before. But in this huge city, having a vessel to flock to that sparks the conversation and holds space for remembrance is truly a special concept. To me, this is a sure way to show that legacies can live on. I love eye contact and smiling. Sitting on the benches here for about an hour playing in those magnificent forms of communication set the tone for my day of being receptive to whatever way the wind decided to carry me.
I straight-lined across the park to see the Alice in Wonderland brass sculpture for the first time. My experience here was somehow nostalgic. Although I do not remember ever seeing this piece before, I felt a sense of missing my family and being led around the city by my sister. During one family's long attempt to get the perfect shot with the sculpture, an elderly man which I believe to have Alzheimers ventured right into the middle of the shot. His daughter was super nervous and embarrassed and trying to get him back to understand what was going on. This made me cry. Alzheimers is a staple in my family and in my moments of reflecting on so much, this was the exhale of the universe speaking to me, reminding me, again, of that cool kid I once knew (me).
I followed this moment in the greenery with a trip down to the Flat Iron District. There, I found some super yummy, quiet expensive vegan eats at ABCv. Something I look forward to doing in future trips is being a little more meticulous with meal planning, to be aware of the money I'm spending because food is most always the biggest expense I undergo.
After lunch, I made it to a meditation haven that I used as a case study for one of my own design projects a couple of years ago. Inscape is an awesome movement in modern meditation and a staple for me now, every time I visit the city. It inspires me to see such amazing design implemented into spaces and to know we are moving towards a future of mindful habitats, even in the rush of a crazy city.
Sunset called for dinner with my long lost desert friend I call Gaybl. He showed up to help with the temple on the day I was beginning to lead the fence build and helped me tremendously. In my fuck up of unboxing and tangling 500 feet of rope, he dove into fixing my mistake, literally finding peace and a meditative state in what I saw to be the most frustrating thing I could have possibly done. With the power to laugh it all off, I knew we'd be friends. We had some awesome tacos, Mezcal, and conversations. Being our weirdest selves in the desert and reconciling in default world a couple months later is refreshing. We caught a mysterious ballet later in the night and explored the city. My first real night going out in New York and I could not have picked or found a better mate to explore with.
DAY 2: Brooklyn + Queens + More Friends That Are Good For The Soul
I woke up to a text from my beautiful yoga soul sister, Audrey, finally getting to connect in New York. She is the most glowing presence and a piece of my yoga summer that makes my heart so happy. We had yummy veg eats at a cute restaurant called Sweet Chick in BKLYN- I had the most real chicken vegan chickn and waffles, ever. Great now I'm hungry again. We dashed then, to Queens, to visit Turrell at MoMaPS1. Thank goodness for bag checks at museums because between switching from places to stay, packing a heavy winter coat and backpack around the city can really wear you down. Seeing the James Turrell exhibit was something I have always longed to do. He is one of Kanye's collaborators on lighting the spaces for "Sunday Service." His attention to simplicity and emphasis on natural light and open air creates compelling space that I honestly would live and breath in everyday if I could. The rest of the art in PS1 was, uhm, interesting to say the least. Nothing very monumental in my mind, but time with my friends and Turrell made the trip worth it.
Later in the evening, I returned to the city to meet another temple friend, Maxy-Max. What a kid. He just finished high school and Burning Man was the kick off to his gap-year. His first festival or really anything close to the Burn, it was such a fucking blast to explore and see the magic through his eyes. We share an obsession with the Grey's vision and made a pact somewhere deep in the dust that we would travel to CoSM together, and here we are. We spent the night Halloween shopping and seeing art. We went to a gallery where his high school art teacher had some work on display and ended up at his high school's alumni reunion at some bar near the Flat Iron. Feeling tired, we didn't know how much more walking we could do and by the end of the night, we had walked 6 miles in 3 hours. I was able to connect with so many friends in this time, late night we met up with my friend Abi to people watch and talk about the world in Times Square. It was an awesome feeling to share space with friends in the heart of such a crazy fucking place.
DAY 3: Bye Bye Manhattan!
Early start to the morning, this day we visited Artechouse and then escaped the city for some serenity at CoSM (see later post about allllllllllll that). Artechouse was a dream. My colleague had suggested seeing the exhibition a few weeks prior, and inhabiting the space was above all, inspiring. I am heavily influenced to design with projection, sound, and color on a very personal scale, so seeing a huge room with the technologies and visionary work to make this happen larger was outta this world. If you're in NYC soon, GO!!!!
Wow, what a trip. Constant go and art and food and friends. What more could a girl ask for? I relished in the mysteries of so many places that felt familiar. I believe the power of memory from my childhood would return and remind me of past experiences. I am thankful for New York City. It's such a magnificent place full of visions and dreams. After this visit, I'm wondering if a summer in the city would suit me? I am drawn to return (in the warmer months) to participate in some 5rhythms workshops and dive into the new age spiritual culture. Every trip and every connection just lines the stars up a little more perfectly, so I am eager to what is to come.
So to answer my own question, I am who the fuck backpacks Manhattan. You can go there with a small agenda and only what you can carry on your back, walk miles, and make memories for forever. I can't wait to go back, but not until warm weather. Sorry not sorry.