Sure we have a lot to thank the European colonialists for, and while we have drawn on the historical similarities and the impressions left behind by the Khoi and San tribes, we have our own “kultcha” – South Africa is a melting pot of cultures, and we’re fortunate to be given a taste of all this flavour.
Before Jan van Riebeeck landed on the shores of the Cape, the Dutch had made themselves comfortable in the hills of Boerum, Breukelen, Haarlem. And no, I’m not talking about towns in the Netherlands, I’m talking about the suburbs of New York City!
On a recent week long discovery of the city that never sleeps, I found the Dutch influences quite strong – the architecture and landmarks stand. And I couldn’t help but draw parallels between American and South African history. We’re all colonists after all!
Driving down van Wyck Avenue into Manhattan from JFK Airport, I smiled to myself when I thought how funny it would sound for a taxi driver from Queen’s to be bawling out to us in Afrikaans “waarna toe?”.
New York, New York! There is so much to be said about the city that never sleeps, so many songs to sing, and films to reference, that I almost don’t know where to begin!
I heart New York! And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which is celebrated this month by our American cousins, here is a list of all the things for which I am thankful
- Park Avenue Central Park – a sprawling space, green in summer and magical white in winter, in the middle of the Manhattan metropolis
- The breathtaking sights: Look down the magnificent length of Fifth Avenue, from the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock) see spectacular 360 degree views of the city and beyond
- The Financial District, Wall Street and NYSE. You can only imagine what goes on inside the walls of the security tight buildings. At the top of Wall Street is Trinity Church, which I imagine acts as this district’s moral compass
- The museum mile: The Met, the Guggenheim, The Frick Collection, also the Museum of Natural History, the Cloisters and the MoMA – it is thrilling to be touching distance from Picasso, Matisse, Warhol and Van Gogh
- The Statue of Liberty – she is lovely. Visit Liberty and Ellis Islands for a lesson in immigration (if you think it’s difficult now!)
- Ground Zero and the Memorial museum – a very real reminder of human tragedy and destruction. A symbol of hope and love just near the rubble is St Paul’s Chapel, which has been standing since 1789 and served as a recovery centre for search workers
- The United Nations – where the nations’ leaders make all the decisions that affect us
- The squares – the lights of Times Square, the fashion at Bryant Park, baseball at Madison Square Park
- Bloomingdales – for a luxury shopping experience. Careful to note that tax is not added on the price tag, so if like me, you don’t do quick calculations, have your calculator function handy!
- Grand Central Station – in my view, the most beautiful train station in the world -the ceilings are covered in delicate artworks
- Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge – a 30 minute walk over the bridge and you’re in Brooklyn (the previously mentioned Breukelen)
- The West Village and Bleecker Street – a charming little “village”, perfect for shopping and eating cupcakes from the world famous bakery, Magnolia
- Pinkberry – frozen yoghurt. I heart frozen yoghurt