What an expansive and diverse city it really is! I have spent several days in the last few weeks exploring New York- top to bottom, side to side, Midtown to Harlem to TriBeCA- researching the city to find stops for the upcoming WYA New York Adventure Scavenger hunt. Gina Fullam, the intern in charge of the scavenger hunt, and I have scoured the city looking for points of interest, unique places or people with a story to tell. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. Every street corner has a story, every block its own cherished past. Wandering around, we have found elements of previous New Yorks- tracks where trolley cars once ran, the park that stands on the former site of the legendary Five Points, faded advertisements for long gone companies on walls and sidewalks, iron monuments to vanished heroes. There are hundreds of years of history here, piled high on such a small island, all smashing into each other so that in the shadows of a modern building of blue glass and steel there is a church where George Washington prayed, and gravestones marking where Revolutionary War minutemen are buried.
New York is also a city of culture, as anyone knows. But do they know how many cultures? Going through the different neighborhoods, hearing the languages, the different shops and restaurants and clothes and people from far away countries, the colors and the verve and the walks of the different nations somehow coming together- I have never seen a city quite like this. You can see pieces of the whole world here in the narrow lanes of New York, because much of the world has come here, and brought parts of home with them. You just have to go out and find them.
Which is why, of course, everyone should come do the New York Scavenger Hunt on September 27th. Gina and I really have felt lucky to be able to explore and get to know the city, and we think everyone who participates will go away sharing the sense of wonder and gratitude that the New York has imparted to us. Come take part, here is the link to our events page, which will be updated as the project develops. Stay tuned, and see you then.
Casey Downing – World Youth Alliance