Words: Thomas Wensma
Publication: Drift Magazine Volume 10: Manhattan
Published: November 2020


I had always felt a gravitational pull towards Manhattan. Being an ‘80s kid, New York—the city of wild promise — was to me the place of never ending excitement. Through the movies and television shows of that time, I felt the lure of its cultural mosaic and grimy but colorful cityscape. Neon signs — glowing in vibrant pink, red, and blue — seemed like luminous guides in a city filled with glamour and thrill. Manhattan, where the lights are always on, nights evoke zesty adventure, the days stimuli for the senses.

Upon arrival in Midtown, I immediately felt myself sucked in. It had been as if the surrounding skyscrapers had tightly embraced me and opened up all my senses. Manhattan is noisy. It's really noisy. A never-ending mix of police sirens, car horns, and jackhammers. Manhattan is not just loud, but also extremely busy. Hoards of people making their way through the maze of streets and avenues — rushed, ambitious, and with a level of urgency one can only find in a place like this.

The next morning I woke up early — eager to explore the city. Leaving the dullness of my hotel, I stepped outside and felt the early morning freshness on my face. Looking up at the sky, the sun was already piercing through the highrises and I knew it was going to be another hot day.

In need of a caffeine kick, I walked into a diner not far from the corner of 40th and Lexington. Within minutes, I found myself in a booth by the window, sipping a hot cup of black coffee. Sitting there, looking out on the sidewalk and watching the city wake-up, it was then that I realized the city had taken hold of me.