The 7 Flushing Express

People say that walking in New York makes you feel like walking in a movie(set), I definitely felt the same. Almost every street corner, building, hotdog stand or park reminded me of movies I’ve once saw. It’s weird walking around in a complete strange city, but still feel like you’ve been there before. Though I loved it, I loved every minute we spent in the big apple. From shopping at Victoria’s Secrets to a boat trip to the statue of liberty, from walking to Central Park, to watching the models at Abercrombie&Fitch and drinking Starbucks’ hot chocolate after a tour to the top of the Empire State Building.
            But, besides the feeling that you’ve been there before, there was also the feeling that we were doing absolute the same as everyone else did visiting New York. Now, that’s not really a strange thing, when you’re visiting a city for the first time you have to see all the highlights, right? I mean in Paris you must visit the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Lafayette and Ladurée and when you’re in Londen you go to the Tower Brigde, The Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus and Harrods. 

            But still, I really wanted to see something not so ordinary, a place where most first-time-new-yorkers don’t go. I wanted to take the number 7 train to Queens.
There’s a book called Gastropolis: Food and New York City were Martin Manalansan wrote about this train: “the number 7 train is sometimes called…the ‘International Express”, describing how “different aromas filled the train, every time it stopped at a train stop”.
            My dad and I decided to catch an early train from Grand Central station. Quite fast after crossing the water and leaving Manhattan behind us, the metro slowly filled with all different kind of people. No wonder, since this train runs through so many different communities (there are for instance a Chinatown, a Koreatown, a large Indian- and a Jewish society). We randomly picked a few stops where we got off the train and walked through neighborhoods where people were just starting their day. What a wonderful sight, a city that’s waking up. The smell of food already drifted through the street, while shop owners started to set out their wares on the sidewalk.
            While New York does have its very own charm, especially Manhattan has a lot in common with other big cities in the world. Walking through Queens shows you a totally different side of town, where there’s not only prosperity and mercy. It’s  important to see how in such an enormous city as New York, wealth is still so unevenly distributed through all the parts of it. Those things are good to realize sometimes, right?

I loved all different cultures coming together, the diverse merchandises in the shops and all the special fragrances everywhere. And I thought it was really cool to walk around the neighborhood were 50 cent, LL Cool J, Run DMC and Nas grew up ;)!
Or to use Ja Rule’s words: big shout to all my Queens niggaz in Staten Island
. Niggaz in Uptown, niggaz in Brooklyn!!
      Around 10 o’clock we got back in Manhattan. With my head still filled with all these great new impressions we had a delicious breakfast at Cipriani’s, the perfect way to start a new day.

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