The "hills" of New York taken with this Canon
Here is New York. Perceptive, funny, and nostalgic, E.B. White's stroll around Manhattan remains the quintessential love letter to the city, written by one of America's foremost literary figures. The New York Times has named Here is New York one of the ten best books ever written about the metropolis, and The New Yorker calls it "the wittiest essay, and one of the most perceptive, ever done on the city.
vallonné,e (val-oh-nay) adjective
Also: vallon = small valley
Je chante pour mon vallon en souhaitant que dans chaque vallon un coq en fasse autant. / I sing for my small valley in hopes that in each small valley a cockerel will do as much. --Edmond Rostand
Listen to the above quote, in French: Download vallon.wav
The four days that I spent in New York City are but a balmy blur. Looking back, I try to focus on so many landmarks come to life: The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Starbucks, Times Square, Chelsea, Starbucks, the patineurs* at Rockefeller Center, Starbucks, Grand Central Station, TriBeCa, Starbucks....
Considering the pre-flight stress (of leaving the tweens and Jean-Marc safely behind), it was a revelation to find myself floating through the voyage, from the seaside airport in Nice, to the traffic near Jamaica, down to the bowels of SoHo.
From the time I arrived in JFK to meet my sister (who flew in from Arizona) and belle-mère* from Seattle, to join a few friends, time went by like a gentle current weaving its way through a pulsing metropolis, carrying us along for a splendid ride.
Apart from the famous landmarks, what stood out and downright struck was the warmth of New Yorkers. Thanks and have a great day. Can I help you? Here ma'am, you dropped this. Would you like me to take your picture? Have you seen Grand Central? Been to the Morgan Library? We listened as New Yorkers guided us through their city and all but held our hands in the process. One power walking business woman stopped dead in her tracks, caught her breath and offered, "Did you need help finding something?" She turned on her heel and added, "Oh, I'm going that way. You can follow me." I couldn't help but wonder if New Yorkers were always this nice, or if such "looking out for one another" is born of a tragedy shared.
On the Circle Line sightseeing boat ride, a jubilant tour guide tells us that the word Manhattan comes from the Indian term "mannah" (island) and the Algonquian suffix for hills ("hatin"). That would make Manhattan "Island of hills."
I don't remember any hills in New York City, but an unmistakable hilly feeling, a high that comes from traveling away from one's static life, to the dynamic and diverse, from being open-minded while in a foreign land. (Or maybe that hilly high feeling had something to do with all that Starbucks undulating through me).
References: un patineur (une patineuse) = ice skater; la belle-mère (f) = stepmother
la vallée = valley
le vallonnement (m) = undulation, hills and valleys
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