Jessica Gross

Tourist Goggles

In musings on December 29, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I returned to Manhattan yesterday after a week out of town with my family. After only seven days away, the city looked different — everything that had become invisible popped out. The buildings really are tall.

I also felt oddly disoriented. Somehow, I’d forgotten where everything was and how to comport myself. My friend and I, searching for the tree at Rockefeller Center, took to pretending we were tourists to hide our embarrassment over wandering aimlessly and, finally, asking for directions. I thought I’d learned to navigate subway platforms, but the crowds made me feel woozy: were there always this many people?

Subway traumas aside, I like the tourist’s view of New York. It’s unlikely to have this many bright lights, ethnicities, apartment buildings, restaurants, jaywalkers, ornate buildings, hideous buildings, and smells smushed together on such a small land mass. And, once in a while, it’s refreshing to strip away the haze of everyday life and marvel at this city.

  1. The old seems new because a fresh view trumps what we know too well.

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