The awesomeness that is New York

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The might of New York – a better picture will be forthcoming shortly

It’s quite impossible to walk through downtown Manhatton without being overawed by the concrete jungle towering above. During my week in New York, I have tried time and time again to stroll nonchalently through the monolithic structures towering overhead.

Today, stomping my way towards the Empire State Building (one of the singularly most impressive buildings in the city, even though it may no longer be the tallest), I determined not to look up at the looming giants above, and certainly not to let any feeling of wonderment to cross my face. But it was all for nought.

The city truly is remarkable. Not only because it is a city of mightily tall buildings, but because there are so many of them, crowded together in such a small place.

Over the weekend, I took a trip to the Statue of Liberty, itself the equivalent of 23 stories. It was erected at the end of the 19th century, at a time when the tallest building in Mangatton was a modest five stories. Then, in the first half of the 20 century, everything seemed to go crazy – and the world of the skyskraper was born.

New York is a city where you really feel the might of America.

Coming back today from a number of fruitful meetings, I witnessed a thoroughly peculiar incident on the city’s metro. People were laughing. The metro was horrendously crowded, the press of weary city types pressing closely together made things uncomfortably hot (despite the air-conditioning, I should add; London take note: the tube here has air-con!) and everyone was no doubt tired. But people were laughing! Complete strangers cracking jokes with one another.

I was so shocked I decided to look around the tube. Okay, there were quite a few people gazing wearily at the floor, but many others appeared relaxed, lying back, glancing around from time to time at other passengers, as the vehicle trundled through the labyrinthine tunnels of underground New York. There seemed to be no taboo on meeting people’s eyes.

These are just two positive observations from my time in New York, which perhaps give some indication of why America will continue to do well in an era of the rising Asian tigers, and why Europe is destined for weary decline, unpleasantly sandwiched between the East and the West.

Power and optimism.

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