I woke up as always to sirens (is it just the area I’m staying in, or are there constant sirens in New York?) and decided that as this is my last relatively appointment free day, I would simply walk and look.
I avoided the World Trade Centre Area. Although the opening of the Oculus building’s fan like roof to let the sun in, both symbolically and literally, sounded wonderful, moving and intriguing it also seemed like something to be experienced by those who were more directly affected by 9-11, which today was the anniversary of.
I walked instead along wealthy shopping areas of Manhattan. I saw incredible Brownstone and Art Deco buildings that reminded one of how much wealth flowed into America in those times.
I also saw the broken windows and soot stained walls of the old garment district buildings.
Intermingled amongst all of this, I came across far too many human beings in the most degenerate and tragic states of poverty.
I accidentally gate-crashed New York Fashion Week and saw thin fashion models being photographed, while behind them a toothless,homeless woman hurled abuse from her nest of cardboard.
I wandered through the trendy and well heeled Chelsea area, passing the legendary Chelsea Hotel and saw wonderful street art that I wasn’t sure was sponsored or spontaneous.
I also came across powerful politically orientated posters and stencils on building walls.
Once again though, the most moving and affecting art, was in the gardens and corners of housing estates; a mural that was a memorial to an 11 year old child that had been killed, a garden that mingled plants, flags and the urge to vote, and an area in a housing project built to offer family activity ‘where dreams and wishes are planted’.