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21 August 2015

My computer screen is just a bit blurry and everything that my brother says is a tad funnier than it usually is. This can only mean one thing: I must have consumed more than one IPA. In fact, I’ve consumed four in total today – one at lunch, two at dinner and one on our walk back home. Oh, c’mon. As if you’ve never punctuated your walk home with a beer or two.

We began our first full day in New York with a long brisk walk down our main drag – Manhattan Avenue. We set out to find a compromise of sorts: a place that will serve Ben the hearty breakfast he desires and one that will also have a nice cappuccino and croissant for my meagre morning needs. After many an argument, we settled on a perfect little corner café, Park Luncheonette, to satisfy our early morning cravings. It was cute, it was chic and oh, it was good! I sipped my cappuccino to savour every ounce and slowly spooned my fruit and granola bowl so as to enjoy each bite.

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After breakfast, we made our way across the Williamsburg Bridge, over to Manhattan, up to Times Square, a short hop to Central Park and eventually found ourselves in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We perused for hours before I realised that we had to leave to make an impromptu reservation. You see, earlier, I had Instagrammed a picture of the brunch we had before around McCarren Park and a friend had commented to enjoy a dinner and cruise around Manhattan, as it was the most interesting thing he had done in New York. Social media savvy as they were, The Water Table Instagrammed back saying that they had a reservation open for tonight. Of course, I accepted and so Ben and I found ourselves waiting on the East River Pier at seven thirty, ready to board a restored WWII boat and see the town from the viewpoint of the water.

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We sat upon the rickety benches and rocked back and forth as the boat pulled out of the ferry launch. We made our way under the Williamsburg Bridge and ventured around downtown Manhattan and toward Ellis Island, where we saw the green wonder in the distance. Ben and I ordered our second IPA of the day and wandered to the top deck, where we lingered on the sight of the Manhattan skyline and chatted with the two crew members who were around our same age.

When dinner made its way to our table, we retreated below deck, had another beer and gazed outside of our window as the Statue of Liberty came closer and closer to where we sat. It was with awe that I looked up at our green French gift and refrained from spooning more lobster into my mouth as I admired the landmark that meant to many in America’s past, you’re safe now, the future is yours to make. As cheesy and unfulfilling the American dream seems to be nowadays, it was nonetheless enough then to fill each incomer’s chest full of fresh hope, to evaporate past despair, to wish that this life might be different for themselves and their families. Such were the dreams of my recent ancestors; such were the lives they’ve lived.

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As the boat rounded the Statue and we headed back to the pier, Ben and I stayed on the roof and soaked in the flurry of lights that sparkled from buildings and shimmered in the waters below. Before long, we pulled into the dock and we bade farewell to our friends on the boat and began walking toward our home, stopping in for a quick ale-pick-me-up before reaching our comfortable flat and settling in for another New York night after another New York day.

Today we walked over fifteen miles, saw national monuments, drank great beer and experienced both the harried and peaceful moments of New York City life. I finally figured out the subway system and wandered through the famous Macy’s store (and the less NYC famous REI…). I understood the (rather straightforward) box-like streets of New York City and waved at cameras in Times Square.

It’s the end of day two in New York and I feel… Fresh. Dirty. Alive. Tired. Full. Empty. Again, I am of two minds, two bodies, when it comes to this place.

I’m beginning to think that’s how it should be. Give me another IPA and I’ll be fine with that.

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