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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

A Globetrotter in Harlem

USA | Friday, 30 November 2018 | Views [162]

Waking up in East Harlem, commonly called Spanish Harlem, I was ready to tackle my globetrotting spirit again. Walking through Manhattan you see how things change quickly. In Lower Manhattan you'll see guys with tailored suits and girls with designer dresses and Louis Vuitton handbags but the further you go into Upper Manhattan, the more likely you are to see and hear people shopping at the 99-cent store and conversing in Spanish. My guess is that 90% of New Yorkers live in this lower income threshold. I enjoy photographing fruit stalls, so here's one in Harlem:

On my radar for today before flying to Norway this evening, is Rucker Park. It'd be a long walk from Amelia's flat to the park, so she let me borrow a bike. The tyre was flat, so I chatted to a lady from Puerto Rico as I stopped at a garage to fill the tyre. It's said there are more Puerto Ricans in NY than in San Juan. From there it was full steam to Rucker Park, the proverbial birthplace of many playground basketball legends. 

I could feel the history as I stepped on the court.

NBA legends like Connie Hawkins, Wilt Chamberlain, and Satch Sanders, and recent players like Ron Artest and Jamaal Tinsley all honed their skills here. During summer the scoreboard is used and the stands full as heart-pounding matches are played. 

If I had the opportunity to watch one playground legend, it'd be Connie Hawkins. 

As I've wandered through Manhattan by both foot and bike, it's really made me wonder: why do people come from all corners of the globe to live on top of each other in a big city? Wouldn't the verdant rainforests of Puerto Rico, the Himalayas from your veranda, or being able to grow your own food in Peru be far more peaceful? Just outside Rucker Park, a lady with an amputated leg sitting in a wheelchair whist smoking asked if I could grab her a packet of cookies from the shop. The shopowner is from Yemen, and when I told him I'd like to go there he was surprised. He said "many people fear us but there's no reason to." New York is perceived as this glamourous city that people just flock to like moths on a light bulb but the underbelly isn't pretty. The subway stations are bland and lacking in character, and are among the dirtiest of any city of I've been to. Rats, cockroaches, and bed bugs are a nuisance in many areas of the city, and when you look around there are piles and piles of rubbish everywhere. New York most definitely isn't a bad place and the wide variety of food and cultures is reason enough to spend some time but overall I find New York rather depressing. 

After my brief jaunt in Harlem, it was time to grab a few geocaches, have a stroll in Central Park (no pun intended), get back to Amelia's flat, and get ready for Norway. I'm a globetrotter who has finally been to Harlem! Many people swear by New York but it's safe for me to say "three days is enough here for me." 


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