3 days in New-York

On 22 February 2015 by From elephants to kangaroos

Due to my round the world ticket with TravelNation agency, to go from Montreal to London, I had to add a stop in New York or Boston. Too Bad… :)

Knowing the 2 cities, I decided to stop in stop New-York because this city has always been diferent than the others, the occasion for me also to see one of my school friend who lives there..
NYC2After a 10-days stop in Canada by -10 degrees and 50cm of snow, so here I am arriving in the Big Apple. My flight was at night and not very long, so I did not sleep but I did not want to waste time sleeping while I’m in a so nice city. So I quickly deposited my luggage at my friend who left the key on her bed, a box of cupcakes and a lovely note (I have great friends!) and I go towards Central Park. What better than a walk to get back in the lead this city! I discover in passing a couple who made giant bubbles with colorful soap, groups of singers that remind me that Christmas is in a few days, street dancers in different places.

NYC4Then I walked over to Rockefeller Center to see the giant Christmas tree installed annually in the holiday season. It is quite impressive, but the excessive crowd quickly made me explore other corners. Then I head to Times Square to find there my friend who works at the Novotel. Useless to say that the view from the terrace is quite spectacular…and we leave together in the surrounding streets and then a little further, in the Harlem neighborhood where we have dinner in a typical Afro-American restaurant. The evening ends with a talent show at the Apollo Theater, NYC’s mythical theater where many talents are discovered. Friendly, interesting, and it feels good to do “normal” things such as going to a theater in the middle of a journey where we try to make different things every day!

NYC5The next day, Sunday morning, I get up early to attend a Gospel in Brooklyn. I searched online before a typical local church, not a tourist trap, to go to. I had read on several sites that Brooklyn Tabernacle was one of those places where New Yorkers gathered the weekend, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and open to tourists.
So here I am in front of the church at 9 am (which is not really a church, it’s more a common building from the outside but completely re-built from the inside) to melt into the mass of new- Yorkers. When I enter, I am impressed: the place can accommodate up to 3,200 people, and it is completely packed! As soon as I find a seat, my neighbors greet me warmly, ask me lots of questions. Reigns here a special atmosphere… The gospel normally consists of 200 singers but because of the holidays, they set up a special scene in the church for shows and the chorus is reduced to 20 singers. But believe me, as soon as they open their mouths, you forget that they are “only” 20, and you only hear a giant voice bringing these 3,200 people sing. Thrills guaranteed (crying too)…

The oath lasts 2 hours in all, the pastor is really great, very open and not too preachy. Although this is religious, I found this church vibrant and full of wise reflections on daily life that can affect us all. 3 other times also scored my attention: the first is when the pastor asked people who were there for the 1st time to get up. We were only maybe 40 to get up, everyone applaused us and all the people around me shook my hand and welcomed into their church. The 2nd time was when the pastor has given 2 minutes to get everyone to wish a Merry Christmas to as many people as possible in the church. We then all got up and we walked the aisles to disseminate heartfelt messages to strangers. The third time was during the quest: I spoke with my neighbor before the oath and we exchanged about my trip and my experience in NYC. And she gave me money to support my project which was “courageous and fascinating.”
You understood, this church turned upside down. So much peace, serenity, sincerity and simplicity concentrated in this place a little away from the world. Whatever your religion, skin color, origin, everything here is honest and sharing with the word makes sense. If I had a church like this with such a philosophy on life, beyond religion, I think I’ll go every week! A real life lesson.

NYC6After such an intense moment, I had to walk alone in the city. So I was towards the Brooklyn Bridge to cross the bridge and thus observe the new tallest tower in the city, which came to replace the World Trade Center that I had seen in 2000 during my first travel in NYC. Then I wandered the areas of Greenwich, Soho, Tribeca, Chelsea and others without true destination but to rediscover the atmosphere here. And I met my friend at the Flat Iron, my favorite building in NYC, an architectural beauty and inspiration. An evening in an excellent restaurant and here we went home.

NYC1The 3rd and final day has a strange taste. Yes, this is the very last day of my world tour. 462 days that I left Paris to visit 15 countries and their people, I can tell you that my brain was going in all directions. Still, I want to enjoy so I decided to go to Grand Central Station to take pictures, then to the Chrysler Building, random streets and ending with the Wall Street area and a quick hello to the Statue of Liberty. A nod to the freedom that gave me this extraordinary journey 16 months

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