You never realize the impact that something out of your own backyard has until you leave.
While in New York City, I began to realize how much that the music of Motown means to the world. I heard more of the Detroit-era Motown music therethan I would in a typical day at home.
To say that New York City is a melting pot of cultural diversity would be an understatement. No matter where you start your adventure, it only takes a couple of blocks before you feel like you are in a different world. Little Italy, Chinatown, Queens and the Bronx all have their own distinct atmosphere and the food is out of this world.
Cuban, Malaysian, Thai and Italian are just some of the ethnic fare that I was able to enjoy on my trip. The chicken parmesan &spaghetti from Little Italy is what really stood out to me. Even though I can get that here at home, there was something special to it. I could tell that the people had a love for their countries’ foods.
Here in Port Huron, we have all the typical restaurants and chain places. This isn’t to say NYC doesn’t, but it seems to have a wider choice of independent vendors and unique stores. Street musicians are around every subway entrance and exit. The architecture of the city has a life all its own as well. On one block you can see a catholic church that has stood for over a century, then on the next you’ll see buildings with electronic billboards and tickers that inform you of the day’s news.
When you get to the heart of the city at Times Square, it’s almost as if your brain is on overload. There is so much to see you don’t know where to begin or where it ends. Even in the dead of night, it looks bright as day.
Other monuments, such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, bring you to a whole new facet of the city’s historic culture. As you see the statue while riding the ferry over, you get a newfound patriotism and start to remember what morals your country was founded on. I found myself standing there as I realized the sheer size of the statue and wondering what it had to feel like when people were coming to the United States for a fresh new start.
One of the other things that I have come to realize is no matter where you live, you tend to lose appreciation for what is in your own backyard. What made me notice this more was being inside of the Ellis Island museum and noticing the echo chamber effect that the structure had in certain locations. Having toured the Motown Museum in Detroit several times, it made me remember the way Barry Gordy had the original studio set up to get the signature “Motown Sound.”
As vibrant as the city of New York is, there are some very somber points to it as well. The 9/11 memorial site has a very quiet feel, even with all the hustle around you, it feels like a silent room with just your thoughts as company. The John Lennon memorial in Central Parks Strawberry Fields has the same effect. You would think it was just a spot for tourists, but again you feel the quiet hush as people pay tribute to perhaps one of the greatest musical icons of all time.
People standing and just showing their love for the arts impressed me as well. A gentleman in Times Square spray-painted an impressive interpretation of the New York skyline, taking less than seven minutes to complete. Musicians were all over the city as well, ranging from guitar players and bands in Central Park, to doo-wop groups on the train and Spider-Man on the saxophone in the subway station.
I can only give you a glimpse of what I experienced. The only way you can get the true experience is by going there yourself; words, pictures, music, and movies will never do this great city justice.