New York City Dreams

Just days after walking the Camino de Santiago, I was about to repack my suitcase for my next adventure. Six weeks in one of the best cities this world has to offer – New York City. Four years of absence in which I kept talking about the big dream nearly on a daily basis, but I left with a secret mission. My dad always told me to just leave and see if I could live in a city like New York, because if I want to work there I should be able to handle the city that never sleeps. I booked a language school for a daily routine and everything else was supposed to be as normal as possible. No starring at billboards on Times Square and no elevator ride to the top of the rocks this time.

you’re gonna lose your soul, tonight.
you’re gonna lose your soul,
you’re gonna lose your soul,
tonight, tonight.

I went there with no expectations and as open-minded as possible. I knew that the New York I would discover now might be totally different to the New York I was amazed by several years ago. I wanted to inhale as much music as possible. I wanted to learn what someone makes a New York citizen and what they laugh and worry about. I guessed that as bright as Time Square shines at night as dark is the other side of New York during daylight.

you’re gonna lose control, tonight.
you’re gonna lose control,
you’re gonna lose control,
tonight, tonight, tonight.

As a tourist you will be distracted by all the glitter, but if you look closely, nearly no one smiles on the subway. People are constantly in a hurry to make it to their next appointment and if you spend a minute to long starring at the skyscrapers you might get pushed out of the way. Every time I asked new arrivals how they felt, almost everyone said “Like in a movie!”, but for the most people it is the same game today as it was yesterday. While the city itself never sleeps, the subways are filled with people with burned out faces who use the ride to catch up on their sleep. I sometimes wondered if those people still see the glitter of New York or if it is just a city in which you feel stuck until you take the risk to run away.

i get up in the morning
to the beat of the drum
i get up to this feeling,
keeps me on the run.
i get up in the morning,
put my dreams away,
i get up, i get up, i get up again

During these six weeks I got a feeling that living in New York means a lot of sacrifices. People work hard to afford a living and sometimes they have to kill their minds to be able to stay alive. While we complain about our 26-days vacation time, the average vacation time in america is decreasing and around 16-days. Streets are filled with homeless people and kids ask for money on the subway. Sometimes people start telling their story before asking for money and whether they’re told for pity or not, they’re prisoners of themselves. If you fail in america, people will start waiting for the day that never comes. The empty glasses on the counter are the best mirror for life, but do they know that life has a hopeful undertone?

They all have made it this far and all I hope is that those people still dream. I hope that they don’t use a broken mirror for their own reflection and above all else, they choose to stay, because their story is still going. There is still plenty of time to turn things around and a lot of things to be amazed by.

PS: The day I got there, I started creating this little playlist with all the songs I listened to the most during my stay. Feel free to listen to it.

PPS: If you want to visit New York yourself and are looking for a great language school, I can highly recommend the Brooklyn School of Languages, these guys are great!