I had forgotten how overwhelming New York City can be. I found myself on 5th Avenue this week, watching as a sea of humanity swept past me and I felt like I was momentarily in a zoo. It can be very daunting and at times too much. Saying that though, I was in the heart of things, right in the middle of it all when I felt like I was going to scream out loud. We had passed the Trump Tower and some of the most exclusive stores in the world like Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Cartier. Trump Tower suited Trump I thought. A towering glass building exhibiting little character. I did not take a photo as I had no desire. But I did wonder, as I am prone to do, as I looked at this overt display of gaudy wealth, if he was overcompensating for other things in his life that were not as large as he hoped they should be. I also wondered, as I watched the police presence and seething mass of people swarming to get a glimpse of Trump Tower as to how much additional money that police presence is costing the American government. I am sure that Trump is not tweeting about that like he tweets about the cost of Airforce One. But then anyone with half a brain knows that the man seems to have an almost pathological ability to play with the truth.
Despite the overwhelming feeling of being lost in a crowd on 5th Avenue, I truly love New York City. I would love to have a few months there, but I would avoid the tourist traps like Times Square and just spend time getting to know little parts of it that I could call my own. I would love to know every inch of Central Park. It could be a lifelong project. We had gone to New York predominantly so I could tick off a major item on my bucket list. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to ice-skate in the wintertime in New York City. I was vague on details as I think every time I had seen an ice-skating scene in an American movie that all those scenes had created a general New York ice-skating rink in my mind. They had converged into an overwhelming feeling that it was simply something I had to do. I had no idea that there were two rinks, the one in Central Park and the one at the Rockefeller Centre. We selected the one in Central Park as it was cheaper, less of a shit fight to get on the rink and much more accessible. I am glad we chose the one in Central Park as it meant that I could spend some time again in one of my favourite places in New York City.
After seeing the one at the Rockefeller Centre, I also realised that the Central Park rink was much prettier and resembled the ice skating rink that resided in my head. Archie had said to me after seeing the Ice-Hockey Game last week, “I have to get on the ice mummy.” He had said it with all the fervor of a crack addict talking about his next fix. So I think we all had very high expectations when we stepped on the rink for the first time. My first thought was “Holy fuck.” This was due to the fact that the ice turned our ice-skating boots into slippery little suckers and I initially could only envisage us doing numerous face plants all over the ice. But this was a bucket list item so we persevered. After a little while I remembered a few movements from the days when I used to roller-blade all over Brisbane with my Border Collie Norton and I managed to create some forward movement without falling flat on my arse. The kids got off the sides and held onto me for dear life whilst occasionally heading out on their own before coming back to Mother Duck. In my head I glided effortlessly round the rink wearing a bright red winter coat. I was a thing of beauty. Funny how in my head I am invariably dressed better than in real life.
Despite the fact that our movements were relatively staccato and I am sure there was not an iota of grace about our little trio on the ice, the fact that I was there brought tears to my eyes. I was surrounded by the winter trees of Central Park and in the background was that incredible skyline that is Manhattan. The year is almost over and when I look back on 2016 wondering what the hell I have achieved, I know one of the things that will make me smile. It will be the fact that I got on that rink, in New York City, in the winter time. That memory will always remind me that sometimes, dreams really do come true.