My first visit to the US way back in 2000. It was a family trip to Disney, Florida and to date it remains one of our best overseas holidays ever.
Since then we’ve travelled to various locations in North America on several occasions. New York, funnily, never figured on my bucket list. I guess deep down I felt it would turn out to be just another bustling metropolis and having spent all my life in Mumbai, that was the last thing I wanted when on holiday.
In 2014 Vanessa and I needed to attend a wedding in Toronto, Canada. We had a stopover in New York, and despite my misgivings – (ho-hum what’s new) – Vanessa booked us in to spend a couple of days to see the city.
Assuming that it was highly unlikely that we would return we chose the one option that allowed us to take in as much of the city in the short time frame that we had – the hop-on hop-off bus!
I did get some nice images on that trip despite the motley line-up of heads at the bottom of each frame!
There was this one moment when the bus was driving down Broadway when a minor commotion created by the Indian couple at the back caused the passengers up front to swivel around in surprise.
The sight of the purple New York University flag on a beautiful stone building with the words: ‘Tisch School of the Arts’ inscribed above the entrance had Vanessa shooting out of her seat in excitement. The image that she demanded I take to show our daughter is shown below.
Our daughter Rhea was doing an undergraduate course in Design at Shristi, in Bangalore at the time. As far she was concerned her career path was crystal clear. On completing her undergraduate studies she would work for three years and then go to New York and do her Master’s degree at Tisch. As simple as that. There would be no back up plan. It was Tisch or nothing!
For the record: Let’s face it. A hop-on hop-off bus is not the ideal way to soak in the flavour of a place. But those few day on the open upper deck were enough to reconsider and reverse my opinion. I was now beginning to see why people gave this city such a high rating!
Another family wedding in 2016 provided the opportunity to revisit New York and this time there was no objection from me.
We had both the children with us on this trip and the one thing we were unanimous about was that we would stay as far away from the bus as possible!
And I must say it was a wonderful experience!
Long walks in central park…
…delicious meals and desserts at Max Brenner’s…
…street food at a street food festival off Madison Square garden…
…steaks at Sylvia’s in Harlem…
…Waffles-to-die-for at Waffles and Dinges off Bryant park…
…and unbelievable street photography opportunities like the image above taken at the Gay Pride Parade on 5th Avenue.
By now Rhea had finished with Shristi and began working to complete the experience necessary to be eligible for admission to Tisch. Since she was so determined to join we suggested that she set up an appointment with the Administrative Director of the college. The image below was taken outside the college just prior to her meeting.
The Director was a pleasant and encouraging lady and the meeting went well except for one very concerning issue. Tisch was not sure that they would accept her 4 year Professional Diploma from Shristi. She suggested that Rhea take her chances and apply anyway as other factors like Statement of Purpose, portfolio, interview and employer references were also taken into consideration during the selection process.
And so, earlier this year, in 2018, with our hearts in our mouths she did apply. The rest, as they say, is history and our little girl is well on her way to realising her dream.
Thanks also to which it meant yet another trip to a city that I have come to enjoy!
Attached are a selection of images taken on this last trip.
In the fortnight we were there I clocked over 115 kilometres of walking on my iPhone pedometer (inspite which I still managed to add an extra kilo to my weight)!
New York is a great and vibrant city. I take back all the misgivings I had earlier and I admit that we enjoyed every minute of our stay.
Having said that, it was our third visit and the big question is: Was it worth returning?
Let me just say, now that we have a vested interest in the place you can bet your sweet batuti that we will most certainly be back. Sooner, I can assure you, rather than later!