The City That Never Sleeps

It was enlightening to be back. Unquestionably one of the world’s most iconic cities. Featured in films that have become part of our lives. Inspired songs that have created defining moments of our time. And as many would claim at this point in history, the world’s capital. 

It was my first winter experience in the Big Apple. It was several degrees below. Ice skating was now the central feature of Central Park. Bryant Park off 5th Avenue glittered in the evening light as ice skaters, surrounded by Christmas stalls, danced to the sounds of carols. As night set in the Rockefeller centre transformed to a glistening display of festive decorations and lights. Despite the increasing chill, the pulse of the city that doesn’t sleep, doesn’t seem to miss a beat.

But just beyond the vibrancy and pulsating bright lights of Broadway and Times Square, one feels a marked contrast. Maybe it’s where the Trump factor come January will have the promised impact. To reinvigorate the previous shine of it’s subways. Or some of the urban areas that feed into it. Perhaps it was the grey shadow cast by the chill of a cold winters night. But curiously, amongst otherwise dormant looking suburban streets, a huge laundromat crowded with people provides an unusual landmark. Could raising the socio economic level of such communities effectively reduce the need for people of all ages to venture out on a cold winters night.

But bright lights and laundromats aside, I was here for another reason. It had been 47 years since we first met. We were then pimply aged teenagers. The Rotary international student exchange program had sent a student from a small village in up state New York to an even smaller dot on the map in South Australia.

How times have changed. As kids we used to watch Dick Tracy on TV. The fantasy of communicating on that infamous watch is now close to a common reality. Our respective grandkids were now experiencing Christmas from the other side of the globe, in real time. One enjoying a Christmas in sweltering forty plus heat. And here, experiencing a white Christmas in sub zero temperatures. While we have whitened up ourselves a bit on top, the world has certainly shrunk in those forty seven years. While sharing moments of Christmas with family back home live online, what nicer way to share the magic of a white Christmas than with the warm hospitality of the Greene family. Thank you Doug & Michele.

15 comments On The City That Never Sleeps

  • I’m really enjoying your blog, Chris. Your writing has been very descriptive and makes we lucky readers feel like we are right there with you. You’ve certainly kept us all guessing about your next destination after Valencia, but now that you’re here in the land of the free we’re hoping we might see you out here on the Left Coast in LA.

    • It’s nice to know you’re enjoying being part of the journey Steve. I’ll google maps the left coast and see what we can work out!

  • C/O little miss Snow seeker

    Yes a definite highlight on our Christmas morning was a FaceTime featuring many freshly built snowman for one extremely excited miss 3 (who couldn’t comprehend why it wasn’t snowing in Darwin….. but relieved that santa made it even though there was no snow!! )

    Very special xx

    Great photos…. snow does look magical!

    However concerned about the “911” photo?! WHAT THE hmmm

  • Little bestest sister

    Beautifully written brother. It looks so magical. The Americans certainly know how to DO Christmas and incredible Doug has remained like family after all these years. Big HI to Michelle and Doug from me.

    • Thank you bestest. Absolutely no doubt about it. There’s definitely a real magical beauty of a fresh blanket of pristine white snow over the landscape. Even if I need to have a garage sale at JFK to off load all the thermals, beany, scarf, coat thick socks, etc I have had to buy!

  • Hi Chris another great story that could only be told in your truly talent way.
    Have really enjoyed the updates and fabulous photos from a very cold New York, hope your friends appreciate the sacrifice you have made leaving a very pleasant Australian summer.
    Probably need to pull my finger out and organise the Annual Sailing Regatta in South Perth ( current temps around mid 30’s), or I could just front up claim the Trophy!!
    Travel safe.
    Cheers Les and Angela

    • Thanks Les & Ang. Now just because we were able to pick up a trophy off the shelf in Hong Kong and claim the glory, there’s only one HHM Espy Cup. That can only be earnt! I’m still working on the world series.

  • Truly wonderful posting Chris! Maybe you should consider getting the domain, “My Gap Years” to continue the journey! Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading about your Costa Rica experiences! Para vida!

  • The expression is Pura Vida! Use it and all will be well in C.R!

  • New York is at the top of my list as a travel destination, but alas I have a reluctant husband who does not feel the same.
    Hopefully one day I will get to see the Big Apple and experience the energy of a city we feel we know so well via tv and film.
    Regarding the weather it has been a lot warmer here in sunny Valencia than in NY.
    Loving your blog Chris, what a great year you are having and I wish you and your family a wonderful 2017

    • I’ll be having a winter clothes garage sale at JFK soon Sheila if that will help! Appreciate knowing you are enjoying the blog.

  • So great to see NY in the snow again – we got snowed in a couple of years ago but it didn’t stop us from enjoying a cold, cold Christmas in the city that never sleeps! Hope you had a great Christmas and you have a good New York New Year’s eve, look forward to some photos of the Times Square ‘dropping of the ball’ – that’s if you are still there and not hankering for some warmer weather! All the best Chris, look forward to catching up when you return down under, meanwhile continue to thrill us with your senior gap year – we all wish we were experiencing it with you and not just reading about it!
    PS whilst you are in NY if you get the chance go to Smith and Wollensky grill house for a dinner to remember!

  • Que maravilla de ciudad !
    It is also one of the cities I want to visit!!
    Me gusta mucho leer to blog . Es muy interesante !
    Te diviertes mucho en tu viaje . Disfrútalo y sigue con tu fascinante senior year gap.

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