The first few days of July of 2.001, two months after I graduated from Architecture school and two months before the terrorist attack of 9 / 11 I went, for the very first time in my life, to New York City.
I am not sure that this city is the best place to vacation, but I can say it was the best trip I have ever done in my life. A trip full of surprises and amazing discoveries, overflowing emotions and, above all things, a journey of freedom.
I remember walking through dark, narrow streets and finding, after crossing at a corner, a secret place, a small oasis of greenery and humidity where I could drink coffee and be disconnected from everything, even the warm weather.
When I decided to make this trip, the only thing that was clear to me, was that I did not want to do the typical tourist trip that people who visit New York usually make. I did not want to jump on the second floor of the very red gray line buses,
but for some strange reason, I did want to go all the way up to the terrace of the Twin Towers. So imagine my surprise when, two months later, I saw them fall on television… but that is another story. I remember the excitement I felt as I approached them from a narrow street and saw them appear in the sky as if by magic, the feeling of being at the top of the world as my eyes roamed the reticular urban landscape… One thrill after another.
That trip to New York changed my life and my way of interacting with the world. It made me realize the beauty of contrasts and differences. In that city, old meets new in the most musical and harmonious way.
I remember people, lots and lots of people, rivers of people who absorbed you and made you become a part of them, forcing you to flow through its channel. I remember being carried away on more than one occasion; coming to trust a group of people of which you knew nothing about, nor where they were going, was an incredible feeling.
That is what I remember the most about this city and that is also what makes me want to go back to visit it: the freedom I felt when walking through its streets. I was invisible, untouchable, as if I could do any thing and nobody would have cared.
I know that those are the things that are usually criticized about this city; the impersonal, the overcrowded, but, at that time of my life, that was exactly what I needed: rivers of people who did not care at all if I was there or not. Being able to get out into the street and walk through the city in pajamas without having people turned around to see me, as if that was perfectly normal (for those of you that are wondering: yes! I went out in my pajamas; it was my favorite outfit to wander the city).
I want to go back! Relive the experience of absolute freedom and become one with its inhabitants even if it is just for a couple of days…