Posted by: Brad | 2 October 2008


A preface: I have broken my laptop, and for now I am without (older) photographs. They shouldn’t be lost for all eternity, but while my computer’s out of action, so are they. Instead of letting the blog thus waste away, though, I’ll write a couple of updates up over the next week or so, and add some of the photographs later. Here’s the first one.

So the swaying palm trees with that pretty sunset in the last post – it’s a gigantic cliche, I know. I know! Taking the photo it was hard to shake the feeling that someone had stuck a large I’M A TOURIST sign to my back, but such are the sacrifices we make for bad photography.

But I swear that’s it. Sure I’m a tourist, but I don’t have to act like it all the time. For that reason my New York City photographs are few and far between. Really, does the world need another picture of a giant flashing M&M perched atop a Times Square billboard? Will your reading experience truly be made joyous by the addition of one more tourist-eye shot of the Empire State Building? Hardly.

I’m a tourist but I don’t have to act like it all the time; if there’s a phrase that sums travelling up for me, so far, it’s that. I don’t want to act all pretentious like and pretend that I wasn’t struck by all the things that other travellers are stuck by. Times Square really was a sight to behold (and it’s huge, by the way – not exactly a “square” but more a collection of intersections and lights and gaudy billboards and and people, so many, many people); Central Park as spectacular as it was enormous; and I won’t pretend that, sitting in a cafe in Greenwich Village amongst hip NYU students and tweed-jacketed (really!) professors, I didn’t for just a second wonder if Allen Ginsberg had once sat in the same spot.

But it’s not about any of that, really. Travel is about the small stuff. If I want to know what the Empire State looks like from the ground or the top I’m sure Wikipedia or the latest Lonely Planet book have plenty of nice photographs. But New York isn’t the Empire State Building or the Brooklyn Bridge or baseball or Central Park, amazing as those things are. It’s bagels for breakfast, it’s summer in Harlem – kids avoiding cops and appropriating fire hydrants as the water sprays everywhere but not one person is frowning (I wish I’d had my camera that day). And it’s listening to that tweed-jacket wearing professor watching the half-his-age student because both of them have the sparkling eyes of youth (or is it just the caffeine?) because to them it’s just a cafe and a brilliant conversation and the world’s not always wise to that.

I never made it out of Manhattan in my four days of New York City and I’m not ashamed to say that I hardly saw a proper “sight”. I saw the people of New York, and that was plenty.



  1. Bravo! Welcome to the world of the ‘traveller’, as opposed to the ‘tourist’.

  2. I always thought New York would be your kind of city. Surely you’re planning to see some basketball though…? I like this writing of yours, continue!

  3. Agreed B-rad. Travel is experiences, not sights. And words paint one thousand pictures.

    Looking forward to hearing about more of your experiences.

  4. I’m amazed you captured the essence of travel so quickly, braddles. All kudos to you.
    I am curious though, how much are you getting out and about in Toronto?
    More importantly, as a percentage, how many activities have you piked from so far? %D

  5. Respect man…. Much much respect

  6. Well done – not on the breaking of the laptop though. Looking forward to more tales from across the sea. Keep it up and stay safe. : ]

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