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Justin Lundsten

October 1997

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

I have one dream. Well, of course I have many dreams that time to time haunt my mind, but only one manages to stick on to the brain tissue. It may seem a bit strange, or trivial, but it is very important to me.

I want to travel to, and see, feel and taste New York. New York, this big vast city, with its mysticism, exoticism and complete and utter wonderfulness fascinates me. The cosmopolitan city has an atmosphere that you can't feel anywhere else. This is what I feel and what I think about New York City. It is still an exotic and faraway place, even now, when we are entering the 21st century. You can only imagine how the European immigrants felt when they saw the skyscraper skyline of the city and the Statue of Liberty from their rat-infested boats. These men, women and children who lived in dirt houses and only heard about New York through letters from the faraway country, must have felt like they were coming into another world.

What would I do in New York? I would just walk around and inhale the air, smell the scents of the restaurants and shops. I would go around and watch people that stressfully walk up Wall Street with their attaché cases dangling by their knees, and take a stroll in Central Park. Just to be there, to be able to say that you have been to New York, strolled up Broadway, walked in Central Park or visited The Statue of Liberty is something special. There are cities, and there is New York. The city of cities. It is a dream to come to New York, and it is now stronger then ever.

But it is still a dream. Of course I have my "New York" stuff. Ridiculous things really, but they keep my dream alive, and also make it realistic. I bought an old used map from 1969 of Manhattan, that I found in an old cardboard box in a book shop. I take it out some time and just look at it, it has markings on it made by the previous owner, and I use to imagine what he did there, maybe he visited the places, or even lived there. When I feel sad I take it out, I just have one light on, and I put some jazz music on, and I float into a dream world. I look up onto the night sky, and the million stars take me away from my room. Suddenly I stand outside Rockefeller Center staring up towards the stars, or maybe I am standing on top of Empire State Building. It gives me a kick, and I just enjoy and let my mind float freely to the city of my dreams.

If I close my eyes, I find myself smelling the thick, aromatic smoke of cigars in the recording studio of a New York jam session. I love jazz and if it is recorded in New York, I usually put it on during my "dream-sessions". My favorites are a record by Carl Fredrik Orrje Trio and a record by the Swedish jazz star Monica Zetterlund, both, of course, recorded in New York. I think the music on these records "sound" like New York.

When I know I'm going to be alone, I usually go to the library and rent a video with Woody Allen. I love the stories, the Manhattan environment and his funny characters. I dim all the lights, make myself a cup of tea and sit down in the sofa to enjoy and travel in my mind to New York. I get goosebumps when Woody and Diane Keaton drive their car over Brooklyn Bridge while the intense tunes of Bob Crosby's "Big noise from Winnetka" crowns the night scene in "Manhattan Murder Mystery". I would so like to be there, to feel the pulse of New York. Of course I have seen the charming "Smoke" and "Blue in the Face" also.

I love to hear the stories told by my 75-year old neighbor, who visited New York in the 50s with her mother. She has lived in the house that she now occupies since 1939, when they were built. Her brother built it. Her father was a worker in Gothenburg harbor, and the family wasn't very wealthy, so when she got to come to New York, it was something special. She thought it was wonderful, but she couldn't figure out why the buildings were so tall. She thought they were ugly!

I will come to New York sometime. I know it. Maybe very soon. "New York is nothing to see, it isn't USA" a friend from USA told me once. Well, if you visit New York, you don't visit USA, you visit New York -- the city where the world meets.

Email me at lundsten.heather@goteborg.mail.telia.com.


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