Two weeks in this city and everything changes every day; things to see, buildings you can only gape at, parks to walk, shops to browse and people to meet. Not to mention the dogs! 19% of the people dwelling in Manhattan live alone. You see people everywhere walking dogs Well behaved dogs, pooping in the gutter dogs, nice dogs large and small. Dogs here are equipped to cope with hundreds of thousands of tourist; They’re trained to withstand the ever present sirens wailing, screeching booming, from every direction. Dog litter bags hang off poles on the sidewalk and no dog pooh to be seen. Every breed imaginable is on the streets. I stopped and talked to a woman leading two lean and very lanky greyhounds. During the course of conversation I asked if she lived in an apartment nearby? “Of course” she replied. My surprise at the size of these two dogs living in an apartment didn’t phase her: “They’re just big couch potatoes; lie around all day. They don’t put on weight as they’re sprinting dogs.” A two mile walk around the city each day keeps them trim. Have seen Great Danes here the size of ponies. Lots of Labradors and Shepherds too. I wonder if I’ll pluck up the courage to find a NYPD dog handler and get Harry to photograph me with them.
Without a set itinerary or timetable to follow we drift through the city loving every minute in some parts and wanting to flee from others. The police are everywhere. There’s no perceived threat to their presence. From the day of arrival there is the sense of New York being on high alert. The police presence is a form of security ensuring personal safety, much as Singapore was in the 70s.
I thought Melbourne had to be the smoking capital of the world. No, New York wins hands down. The streets you want to flee from are those generally in the commercial areas where employees are stacked by their thousands in sky scrapers. Smoking is prohibited in the workplace so the dozens still addicted hang out on the streets below blowing clouds of nicotine into the faces of anyone walking past. That along with the traffic jams of drivers all looking for short cuts makes walking around the Broadway Times Square in the midtown NY somewhat tiresome after two days.
And after two days we discovered ………………………… an oasis.