Notes from New England v.1 - Manhattan

by Aaron Hughes

My wife Shannon and I have lived semi-transient lives for a fair while, both prior to and now during our marriage, however the level of our homelessness has recently ratcheted up to the point where we currently do not have a home anywhere.

For myself, productivity can largely be accomplished from a laptop in any location with a semi-decent internet connection, whilst Shannon’s job often takes us to a completely different part of the world from the last.

We have made the decision to follow her career wherever it leads and to stick together as much as is feasible. Thankfully my work has that flexibility and hers is able to accomodate me both literally and figuratively.

This set-up leads us to how we have ended up with two and a half weeks wandering around New England, the north-eastern corner of the United States most famous for the colours it produces in the fall (American-speak for autumn), which is precisely the season we’ve landed ourselves in.

Our standard day begins with me waking early and punching the keys for as long as I can before Shannon’s urgent need to experience the outside world kicks into gear, generally in the early afternoon, at which point we begin some kind of adventure. Any kind of adventure that gets Shannon outside of whichever four walls happen to surround us at that point in time.

We’re staying at a place called Long Beach, one of probably around a hundred beaches in the United States with this name. The founding fathers weren’t particularly creative with the expansive naming powers they were allotted. Either way it’s from New York’s version of Long Beach that we set off for an afternoon in the Big Apple.

Our time is limited and the entire city feels like a sauna so we decide to focus our attention on one goal, rather than New York’s endless expanse of possibility. When thinking of nature in New York City as an Australian you likely think purely of Central Park, and for good reason, it’s an absolutely stunning feature of the most famous city in the world (apologies Paris, London, Tokyo, Wagga Wagga, etc.), however there are many other corners of the city in which you can find a place to breathe.

The High Line is a public park built on an abandoned rail structure that runs along Manhattan’s West Side and it has to be amongst the most fascinating experiences available in an urban landscape.

It begins by winding west, as if you’re going to head straight into the Hudson River, before taking a sharp left turn, parallel with the soft tones of Chelsea. Featuring a surprising amount of foliage throughout the duration of the experience, one is able to see glimpses of the different time periods of an ever-changing city through the composition of various forms of flora.

Walking the High Line is certainly a unique activity, filled with many opportunities for distraction, from an entire stretch dedicated to literally getting your feet wet, to encased viewing platforms of city roads, as if you were in a zoo witnessing the city itself as a living being.

Nearing the end, we tap out a block or two early and head straight into Chelsea Markets, where an endless array of local artisans and gastronomy are ready to assist in filling that recently developed hole in the stomach.

And tomorrow we’ll head directly north a few hours to an area that’s also technically not part of New England, but close enough in landscape to tie in to this series…