The city that never sleeps, as vibrantly fun and animated as it is during the AM, is a sight for sore eyes comes dusk and into the wee hours. As the sun sets along the horizon and casts its golden glow on the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline is embossed against a prismatic background — radiant yellow against a flickering red overcasting the sky’s pastel blue. We were greeted with such visually stimulating sceneries as we set sail on the Harbor Lights cruise along the 315-mile watercourse that took us around Battery Park, up the East River, past the Brooklyn Bridge, and voyaged by the Statue of Liberty where we stood in amazement of Lady Libertas and her neoclassical glamor.
Designed in 1886 by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence, the 151 feet tall green patina statue garnered with a torch of progress, a tablet of law, and broken chains at her feet symbolizing American liberty, is a quintessential icon of freedom and a welcoming signal to immigrants, reminiscent of the 25 million that entered through the Port of New York and Ellis Island in the late 1800s. From afar, the towering sky-scrapers dominated by the Chrysler Building and the World Financial Center looked like minuscule lego blocks scaling the peak over one another, eventually fading into the background as a slew of dark statues casting shadows on glistening tides. Quite the contrary to New York City’s animated vibe, the city at that moment felt quiet…still…and tranquil.
After our 90 minute cruise was over and we set foot again on Pier 83, we continued our journey back east where we found ourselves in the heart of Koreatown by 7th and 32nd street. We had the delectable meal of budae jjigae (spicy soup topped with ramen, rice cakes, kimchi, spam, beef, and mushrooms) and watermelon soju (who knew you could cut a watermelon in half, hollow out the middle, and fill it to the rim with watermelon juice, sprite and soju?) Though incomparable to local favorites like Cho Dang Gol, the overall food was satisfying to our taste buds and our growling tummies were happy after a hearty meal 🙂
Of course our night didn’t end until the clock strikes 12 (more like 2 hours post the chime), so we took a leisure stroll through Times Square where grounds were trampled by a sea of people, the sky was permeated with vivid images and vibrant hues (lovechild of American consumerism and mass marketing), and the streets filled with yellow cabs inching their way through traffic. There were all forms of scintillating glow and glare in a 4-5 blocks radius on 42nd street. Mr West had it right. Street lights. Neon lights. Flashing lights. Cop lights. Such multi-colored hues, together with the pulse-pumping noise set forth by local artists, street vendors, and blazing horns, brought a new sense of energy to my drained body. In a brief flash of a moment I felt livened, rejuvenated, and free. In contrast to our Harbor Lights Cruise that resonated with standstill Zen moments along the Hudson River, we were embraced with the intrinsic nature of Manhattan — fun, thrilling, and boisterous! For the city that never sleeps, I think with all its commercial gadgets and gizmos New York has won its title hands down as the “World’s Biggest Urban Playground”. I’ll call dibs on the yellow tire swing please 🙂