It was love at first sight and it is still the love of my life. New York has never lost its attraction, fascination, and this feeling of butterflies in my stomach since we first met 27 years ago. I was born on July 4th, so it was probably meant to be. As a student and later as a freelance working journalist, it wasn’t always clear if I could even afford living this dream. Even though it’s known that New York is a place where people either live in huge apartments (with their parents) or in closets (with two significant others), it is worth to make sacrifices for. So New York wields a magnetic force over thousands and thousands of moneyless artists (talented and not talented), dreamers and visionaries (with or without a job), who come to New York and make it work. And I do not even wonder why anymore. New York is one-of-a-kind, breath taking, exhorting and energetic and since I am not a broadway star, street musician or investment banker, but someone who loves discovering the world, I was just lucky to end up here, in New York, due to my husbands job. Like 8.5 million people, I call New York home now, while for the rest of the world New York is on the top of the bucket list.
This seething city, with all its facets of craziness is always busy, noisy, incredibly dirty, flashy and inspiring. New York is never quiet and always straight in-your-face. I guess this is what fascinates me the most about New York City. So I can guarantee, walking through the streets of Manhattan you will not see two people who even look remotely alike. While the typical New Yorker may be perceived as angry, I can assure they are not, they are just busy people that understand the importance of getting somewhere on time. I must confess this meets quite accurately with my temperament of German efficiency. I am a naturally born fast walker and enjoy the fast paced life of the New Yorker.
That being said, New York is the only place in the United States where Americans actually walk instead of drive - just 23 % own a car in Manhattan. No wonder, considering you were to get stuck in traffic over hours and then look for a parking spot the rest of the day. Both driving as well as parking is a bolt and nerve racking mission. The good thing is, you can explore the city without street maps and it is not geographically challenging in the slightest: it is almost impossible to get lost thanks to the grid system. You just follow the numbers up or down, east or westwards until you get to where you need to be. Easy.
You can always see people going back and forth from work, people who set their fashion impression straight in-your-face, kids running to school and dog walkers all over the place. Real New Yorkers are pups at heart, in fact the data shows that one in seven households have a dog under the roof, more than 85.000 are registered.
You never feel lonely, just date your city you will always feel inspired and entertained.
However, if you are anything like me, you like to watch people - this city is the best place to be. With everyone's differences you can literally make up a countless number of stories about who someone is and where they've been based on their looks. But this is not what this book is about, it is a dedication of telling the real stories of the people I met since I moved here in summer 2015. “Street views of New York” is not only a visual impression, it’s about the ambition and zest of New Yorkers for their city and their stories connected to both, people and places.
For those who picked up this book on whim, I hope you will enjoy meeting those people as much as I did. Meet the musician Kate, who bewitches people with her incredible voice, the dog whisperer Nate, Gino who came by ship in the sixties with no goal but to be with the love of his life and Liz, who knows everyone and is always busy with cultural and historical events. Meet Gina, Investment banker and New Yorker at heart, my Stylist Lisa who inspires with her creativity and finally Esther, who created the “Townhouse Gallery” as her Mums legacy and to support talented and penniless artists.
These people are what make New York so lovable and fill this concrete jungle with a special kind of warmth and humour.