Fast Times in the Greatest City in the World

Story By: Brian Woodward

The Statue Of Liberty

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” - Hunter S. Thompson

The first time one flies into Laguardia International Airport and the plane wraps around the city and its unmatched skyline one is overwhelmed with awe. The height and the density of buildings that represent the heart of America leave one with a symphony playing in the mind that one prays the adjacent passenger will not interrupt. The Liberty Bell may be in Philadelphia, the White House in D.C., the Pilgrims may have landed in Plymouth, Boston was host to the tea party, but the beacon of freedom stands high across the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty.

As one steps out of the airport and into a cab headed to the desired destination one shivers with excitement. As one makes it into the heart of Manhattan with the sea of people swimming through sidewalks, its is clear one has arrived. Manhattan, at least the majority of the borough is comprised of the wealthy and the even wealthier. The 10065 zip code on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is the most prominent area in the United States according to a September article by Forbes, putting the median price of a home at 6.5 million dollars. It represents capitalism and all the evils that could ever be associated with it. Hedge fund phenoms are driven around in Rolls Royce's. They dine in the finest restaurants racking up bills in one night, equivalent to a month’s rent in the Midwest. At night they go back to their luxury apartment and are greeted by a white gloved concierge who opens the door and bids them a good night.

Regardless of one’s opinion on high society, the city becomes an intrinsic part of the individual. It really is the greatest city in the world. No place carries with it such style, wit, and charm. If one desires, life can become a motion picture that outperforms one’s wildest dreams.

When I first came to the city in August of 2008, just prior to the financial collapse, it was my first time to ever set foot in the city. This was no vacation, I was here to stay. I had met a girl who can only be described as one of the world's grandest creations. I was met at the airport by this breathtaking damsel and her fascinating dog Rusty. From there I stepped into a new world, where people are preoccupied by themselves and go out of their way to close the elevator so they do not have to wait on you.

It was not a rare event for me to go out to some insatiable Italian restaurant with my girlfriend’s family and friends.The food was great but the conversation was better. The father (of my girlfriend at the time) and I would often discuss politics and the economy. The father, who has worked on Wall Street since the 60’s, was a library of knowledge that rivals the collective intellects of those at an Ivy League institution. The company we dined with was always engaging and one always left more intelligent than when one arrived. Many contributed to the gain of knowledge but one man, the father I referred to, commanded your attention when he spoke. An hour with this man left one with more knowledge than a stack of books could ever provide.

New York was a whirlwind, I did what I wanted with little repercussions, responsibilities, or regrets. I cheered on Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open, standing only a few feet away from him at Long Island’s Bethpage Black. I drank Cabernet until I fell asleep on what essentially amounted to my own private beach, just yards from where I was staying in Southampton. I have played in underground poker games where some of the characters make you want to crawl in your skin. My girlfriend and I ended up adopting 5 animals. At one time we had two cats, two pit bulls, and a Shiba that we affectionately referred to as the wolf.

Everything could be delivered, there were weekends I did not leave the apartment: liquor, food, and the like were all delivered to me as I pondered the world’s problems with Jack the cat at my side.

The 24 hour Kings’ Deli on Hudson knew me, A six pack of beer and probably an everything bagel toasted with butter would be expected sometime around the midnight hour. I would take Rusty (the Shiba) with me, pick a stoop and crack open a beer. Armed with dog treats as one must always be in a metropolis such as New York, Rusty and I would figure out the problems of the world on a random side street in a quiet nook of Manhattan. Then it was off to the computer, endless hours of political and economic research, out scooping at times even the Drudge Report.

Although evolution is comprised of natural selection that is not headed for any predestined higher or lower form, when people experience New York, they must say this is what it was all meant for. I have hustled comedy show tickets in Times Square, witnessed the Pride Parade in the West Village, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Governor of New York, dined at the same Restaurant as Warren Buffet, seen Russell Crowe take his dog for a walk in the Hampton's, and heard the nasally voice of Jill Zarin from the Housewives as she promoted her book at the local book store.

A typical day would be comprised of waking up, taking the dogs on their walk, saying hello to the doorman, getting honked at by cabbies, shoving my way through the subway, and bringing my activities to a close by having a drink at a prohibition dive bar where Coltrane and Davis used to perform.

There is no place in the world like New York City. The food, the culture, the sports, the arts, the music, and the people -- all are unmatched by any other city. If you have never been it must be the first thing on your bucket list. Nobody's life can be complete without experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of that city. Until we meet again: