Posts tagged with "travel"

Trapped in NYC

A few weeks ago, an anonymous person very thoughtfully sent me a track called NYC by Brolin. This person must know me quite well, cause the song is to my taste exactly. Not only that, but I’d been meaning to make a short film about my trip to New York (as well as the extended stay due to Hurricane Sandy), and Brolin’s minimalistic sound space and ghostly vocals gave me an atmosphere of warmth and wonder that matched my footage perfectly.

Personally, I don’t think I could ever create anything and name it NYC. It’s a city with too much depth and complexity to try encapsulating in a verse or song or moving image, then tie it up with three simple letters. I can’t wait to go back again some day to capture as much as I can.

Escape from New York, part 2

Check out my short film about being Trapped in NYC.

I walk towards Penn Station, after being unceremoniously dumped along with several other confused passengers at Grand Central by shuttle. While it’s hard to get a sense of how long it’ll take, the grid gives me the courage to continue on foot instead of waiting for a transferring shuttle.

I carry screenshots of a map on my phone, which I soon discover is a poor substitute for an actual map when navigating New York. The roads occasionally run in strange directions or skip numbers, and it’s enough to throw off my orientation.

Still, the city feels smaller than I thought. So many stories happen here, told in movies and novels and songs, that I’ve always expected it to be a size relative to the dreams people have. This is what F. Scott Fitzgerald must have felt when he climbed the Empire State Building1, saw the limits of the city for the first time from within, and was left “with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe”.

New York apartment

I passed through here many years ago when I was too young to be scared of what could go wrong, and too much in love to care anyway. That journey — on my way to Jersey by bus — was far longer than this one through Toronto by plane. I survived then, that’s how I know I’ll survive this, no matter what happens.

Continue reading “Escape from New York, part 2″…

  1. The tallest man-made structure in the world at the time, a record it would hold for 23 years. []

Escape from New York

Three days and two nights. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Meet Mike at the corner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan after the business part of his trip was finished. Get out of the country, connect with a good friend, return with some nice memories. That was the plan, but I never caught my plane home.

A day before Hurricane Sandy landed, all flights at LaGuardia were cancelled, a theme that would continue two more times until the airline rescheduled my return for Saturday, almost a week longer than I had originally planned to stay (and that’s if it’s not cancelled again). Mike made it home to London, Liz and I weren’t so lucky.

They were expecting 6–9 feet of water, and we got 14. The president has declared a state of emergency. All mass transit is shut down. The railroad tunnels are flooded. All airports are closed. School is out for the whole week. The New York Stock Exchange has been closed for two days straight, something that hasn’t happened since 1888. More than 2.5 million are without power. The death toll is over 100 and counting.

Luckily, I have a place to stay. Aside from a brief loss of power, a longer loss of internet access, and a few leaks from the ceiling, we’re sitting pretty with running water, heat, and a flushable toilet. It’s a luxury compared to what others are going through at the shelters, and I consider myself fortunate compared to those in New Jersey who’ve lost their homes, their pets, their possessions, and their lives.

The strange part is that I’ve never met the couple who own this Brooklyn apartment. Liz and Mike found them through Roomorama, and they left before the storm hit, leaving Liz with the main bedroom and Mike with the guest room. They’ve been generous enough to let me stay during this extenuating circumstance, although the fact that they rented out the guest room to someone else two days ago means I’ve been relegated to a nook and mattress on the floor. At least it’s cozy, and there’s a spare mattress.

Still, I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m running out of money, medication, and morale. The only things I brought were a change of clothes, a camera, and an iPad. The worst part is the wait. Not having a computer to be productive, and now a week of cancelled plans. Not having my cats1 or my guitar. Not knowing when I’ll get out of here. Just waiting in a city I hardly know, with no way to get around. I can’t be proactive; all I can do is be patient.

To keep abreast of the ever-changing situation, I’ve been watching 24 hour news coverage, hanging on the words of Mayor Bloomberg at his live press conferences for any sign that I may make it out of here.

I came to New York, expecting to return home recharged, refreshed, and ready to take on the world. The world decided I wasn’t ready yet.

  1. I left them six days of food, but they go through that in three days when I’m away. A major crisis was averted when Aaron found a spare key to my house, and was able to take care of them. The only other person with a spare key was Pat, and he just happened to be leaving for Cancun on the morning I found out my trip was cancelled. []

let’s leave these rusted old folks back in the city

It’s been too long since we took a ride together. Too long since someone else was at the wheel and I got to score the passing Canadian fields with my new favourite songs. Too long since I saw the old crew and filmed them landing aerials on the farm.

two dogs in a car

We drive through lovely little villages I’d never want to live in but always think of visiting some day. They’re too small for comic book stores and decent Chinese food and any possibility of getting lost, but big enough to hold the hopes of anyone who ever wanted to build a life for themselves in a quiet community full of old-world charm and decay. The tiny economy based on tourism from an annual country music festival or historic school will make sure it stays like this forever.

Continue reading “let’s leave these rusted old folks back in the city”…

we put our feet just where they had to go

Our final days grow ever darker, but winter feels far away when I turn on the A/C in the car as we set off on the scenic route. It’s strange to think I’ll never be here again. I do my best to take my time, to remember the smell of every wooden house and twirl of hair and cozy wind. This was never a way for me to escape my life back home, only a journey I knew I needed to take.

But the novelty of grey hair and almond eyes has long run out, and now I’m just a man, trying to find out where he belongs.


A mask that smiles.

Continue reading “we put our feet just where they had to go”…