I had an amazing time and I felt like the subway was the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would descend into a tunnel and emerge into the light in a very different neighbourhood than the one I had just left.
The scale of such a densely packed city as Manhattan was a bit mind blowing. I have been to big cities before, but it was quite different than some of the bigger ones I have been. For one thing, a city like New Delhi really lives inside out. Poverty and lavish wealth sit side by side. The same is true in NY but both the wealth and poverty are more concealed in NYC. It was hard to conceptualize that above our heads at any given moment, there were thousands of people living in apartments (some closet sized, some house sized). There was a lot going on, so much so, I will never get to see it all, but it made me think about how I live in my tame, quiet city. I live indoors a lot of the time. I sit behind a computer and less frequently than I should , venture outside to play or relax or walk to visit. The first morning back to work after my trip, I was struck at how empty the streets were. Even on busy days, the scale of traffic is not comparable.
In NYC, I got the sense that a lot of the living room was outside--in parks, in restaurants, in libraries and schools and workplaces, even the street. Apartments , even nice ones are small , and the living gets done outside of them, no matter how "Friends" has misled us about the scale of apartments in the West Village.
As I approach summer, I relish the chance to be comfortable living outside again for a while. There is so much room, even more than I thought, to live in. I will try to find living room more outside than in.