New York, New York. I came, conquered and aimed to be King. Then the city ate me up and spit me out.

Tragic really, but I left my mark on the pavement and NY left it’s mark on me.

I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect but I was ready for anything.

It was a first time visit for this country boy in the big city. Escorted by my road dog Dre. As we always say and normally is…, “it was epic!”

My legs hurt and my dogs were barking. In three days, we walked a total of 35 miles. If you ain’t never had your lower extremities cursing you, then try it and see. But I was exposed to a lot of things in that short period.

Let’s see…of course I visited Times Square. Then there’s 5th Avenue, Tribeca, Harlem, Brooklyn, WTC site/memorial, Madison Square Garden, Billionaires row, Central Park, Grand Central Station, Chinatown and Little Italy. Visited the garment district and the infamous Flatbush.

Rode the subway, a bus and more taxis than I thought could be humanly possible. Definitely more than previously experienced in my entire life. Ate at the legendary Sylvia’s and Bubby’s. Delicious.

New York City…the immensely dense populous, the variety of diverse peoples and their demeanor and accents. Unexpectedly…mostly friendly folk, impatient though; always moving with the city, it never stops…this city, as I’ve heard, really doesn’t sleep. There were insomniacs everywhere. A disease common up there I guess.

They knew I wasn’t a native. I walked differently, dressed uncharacteristic of a New Yorker. I talked odd and was way too unapologetic to be ignored. They loved it, but I loved it more. I stood out and it was nice to be seen. They welcomed my free spirit with open arms and enjoyed me like a breath of fresh air as I passed through their busy. Drawn to my light and encouraged by my smiles and eagerness to interact even if only through the words on my shirts as one said, “I love sarcasm it’s like punching people in the face but with words.” (Got 32 likes that day).

Everyone, apparently, in a rush to go nowhere because there’s a line everywhere; traffic, train, stores. Hurry up and wait I observed. Few had advertisements on clothing but I understood the danger in standing out in that city. The hustle is strong in the metropolis, there is enough advertisements on every wall and on every corner so no need to where it. Everyone is competing for your attention and your dollars.

The architecture…wow, just wow. The views were breathtaking from the ground and from the air and even from beneath the city, a whole other world bustling in the belly of the beast. Trash cans on every corner and fairly clean.

Ultimately I enjoyed myself. I had been trying to visit for years. Glad I didn’t go younger, I might have got sucked into the vortex.

In retrospect I learned that we are all a product of our raising; our environments. That place though…is truly like no other, breeding the worlds most unique wildlings in the infamous concrete jungle.