Travels

New York movie

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Written by Alfonso Ramírez de Arellano Espadero.


The amazing thing about the city is that, despite everything, its topics do not disappoint. An example of this are fire hydrants. Although we have all seen them in the movies, I can't help watching how they multiply in regular spaces throughout the city. They look like small urban bronze sculptures. I am surprised not to find them among the classic souvenirs: taxis, statue of liberty, baseball…, I would buy a key ring. These fire hydrants are also a sign of the firm determination of the city not to burn again. Of course it will not be due to lack of water or firefighters, which are another of the emblems of New York. Firefighters are very present in the life of the city. Just as in others they are only seen when they pass at high speed with the sirens lit to put out a fire, in Manhattan there is always a fire engine parked on a sidewalk or passing quietly down the street. They don't cut a hair. It shows that they like to be seen. They are the heroes of the city.

Everything is bigger: the avenues have more lanes, the trucks are bigger and much longer, the sidewalks are wider and the buildings, as everyone knows, taller. But they are not only very tall, they also compete in uniqueness. Some of them get it well and have their own names such as Chrysler or Flatiron, and their portals are interesting design works or public spaces open to citizens such as the Rockefeller Center. Of course, what happens to others happens to perfumes when they compete to stand out, the result is a pasty aroma that - irony of competitiveness - equals them all. That also happens in some avenues of New York. In them it is preferable to concentrate on the life that takes place at street level: shop windows, people of all races, clothing variety, food and refreshment kiosks, flower and fruit stalls, anorexic pits that walk dogs with family trees purer than yours and nails.

Nails or manicures are the most abundant establishment in NY. Don't ask me why, but on each street in each neighborhood there is one or more of these establishments. Some also offer services such as foot, hand, shoulder or head massage and call themselves nails & spa, others are more humble, but all have a great showcase from which you can see inside. Clients do not seem bothered to see them delivered to the care of massage or pedicure. Dog kindergartens also have a showcase to the street. In NY everything is more exposed.

Finally it rained!

The large sidewalks and the Cartesian distribution of its streets and avenues allow you to walk through Manhattan without fear of getting lost. Of course, more than walking, we should talk about walking if you want to walk on foot its most lighter neighborhoods. Logically we can also travel by subway, bus or bike. But to the voyeristas who enjoy the march, the city offers kilometers and kilometers of pleasure between the neighborhoods of Uptown (Harlem, Upper West and East Side ...) to those of Downtown (Chinatown, Tribeca, Battery Park ...), passing through the from Midtown (Times Square, Chelsea ...). Another incentive for the walk is how surprisingly little noisy the city is.

The topic of haste is true only to a certain extent. They run only in Madrid, for example. Those who seem to be in a hurry are those who respond to the cliché of New York executive: white, Caucasian, thin, designer dress (although perhaps with a sports shoe) with a piece of fruit in his hand or a coffee in a covered plastic cup, but it is a minority in demographic recession. The places where we find the highest concentration of these types are the financial district and Sunday in the Catholic cathedral. When we visited the church the mass was over and a large elongated table with tea, cakes and pastries stretches along the central nave. I do not know if it is a special day or it is a customary habit. In any case, around the table there are older white ladies and gentlemen with a very Irish appearance; they with sunday dresses and they with bow tie. But, as I say, what most abounds in the city, scrupulously following Mendel's laws, are the different varieties of chestnut, brown, toasted, chocolate, mahogany gold and yellow that color the skins of its residents. To our delight, they also speak Spanish.

Wow with the rain!

Well, rainy day museum day. The MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan, etc. Many of them are located on the same street that borders Central Park: The museum mile. In addition to the extraordinary collections of modern art they contain, the Guggenheim is very interesting because of the building that houses it and the MOMA because its collections have not stopped at the forefront of the twentieth century.

Central Park resembles the large English lawn parks like High Park, but it also has landscaped areas reminiscent of the French and the very park of Maria Luisa in Seville, only much larger.

In Greenwich Village there are restaurants and taverns from many places in the world, Spanish restaurants serve Mexican food.

The weather is explosive, at least in spring. From one day to another we pass from a suffocating heat to the showers with considerable temperature drops.

Today clouds and clearings.

There are many people working in service jobs (propaganda distributors, entertainers at the entrance of the theaters, Metro informants, bar and restaurant accommodators, private security) that are not usually seen in Europe, either because they have been dispensed with or because they have been replaced by machines.

We are fortunate to be invited to the celebration of a religious ceremony in Harlem. It is a neighborhood church located on the first floor that looks more like an assembly hall than a church. They are baptists and, naturally, blacks. From the beginning to the end they behave like friendly hosts. I can not help comparing the experience with the last Catholic mass I attended in Spain, in which the priest implied that we were left over by all the friends and family who, being non-believers, were there only to accompany the children who made their first communion .

Having seen some number of godspell in the cinema or television does not detract from the interest and excitement of the live show. What is most impressive are not the songs and music but the staging of the sermon by the "preacher" accompanied in the most dramatic moments by the organ or the drums. In the end all the faithful surround him by standing up, answering with shouts of alleluia and love each of his phrases. The sermon is also written in the form of a dialogue between the pastor and the faithful, and is distributed in leaflets at the beginning of the ceremony. They ask for a comment about the sermon. The spirit of community and neighborhood is perfectly appreciated throughout the entire time. I would say that the atmosphere is more informal than in our ceremonies, but it would be more correct to speak that its forms are different. In fact they are very formal in the use of clothing, in the distribution of roles, in hierarchies, etc. but that does not prevent them from singing, dancing, greeting and hugging. Those who seem more boring, as in our country, are children dressed on Sunday.

When we head to the JFK to return to our country, we discuss with the Dominican taxi driver how extraordinarily friendly everyone has been in the city with us. This is a bit strange to our interlocutor who answers: “The kindness has been going on since the economic crisis began. Before each one went to his own. Something good must have ”

At the airport, we do not suffer special inconveniences due to the threat of swine flu that the world is going through at that time, nor because of the oldest threat of terrorist attacks. And since, despite being Latino, we do not look like traffickers (although just in case I put on the glasses that give me a more respectable look), both on the way out and on the way back, they let us cross customs without mediating word.

We circled the airport runways before taking off under a fine shower of farewell.

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