New Dream, New York

Colaiste Muire

Shallee,

Kilnamona,

Co. Clare.

17/05/2019

To my dearest Granny,

Elbow to elbow, knees touching knees, on a crowded vessel bound towards a new life and freedom, I write to you. Or… so it would be had I undertaken this journey a century ago. I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages, instead of a mere six days. I write to you cramped in the crowded cabin of a Dreamliner jet, New York bound. Ironic to say the least, as the model of the plane represents my exact attitude to my new found Easter adventure in the Big Apple. Gracing ourselves over the Atlantic clouds at a mere nine-hundred miles per hour, I have never felt the prospect of a new adventure excite the adrenaline pumping through my veins as much, I feel sheer joy. The bowl of light encircling the world stretches its bright hand by Ireland and, on its way to welcome the citizens of North America to a new day, catches up with us. First, a splint of light casts its way over the Atlantic Ocean, and then a wall of light hits the plane. The transition from day to night, a fast paced but beautiful moment, already and, having not even stepped off the plane, but I felt truly honoured to have witnessed such an event, and to be flying towards the dream land, my dream land, New York. Edging our way out of Lincoln Tunnel, every occupant on the bus had their phone cameras out as the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River drew closer by every press the bus driver made of the accelerator. You would have loved it, granny. What followed was a night of unrestful sleep as I listened to the everlasting beeping of the cars on 50th street and 3rd avenue, the city that never sleeps, I can now truly confirm. Of course, my New York adventure would not truly be fulfilled, without a boat trip to Ellis Island. Walking along the exhibition wall, were thousands of names, engraved those who came to the dream land to seek asylum and a new life, a better life. Allowing myself to feel the millimetres of engravings made along a lump of polished rock, a thought sprung to mind, maybe all that these asylum seekers had left of themselves and their homeland was a mere 14 letter name, carved into a piece of rock, on an unoccupied and lonely island swimming in New York harbour, what a sad result of a meaningful life. I even found a ‘Collins’ on the wall, perhaps a relation of yours, granny? Watching the scummy, polluted New York water splash briefly onto the boats edge, we turned, Lady Liberty bound. The crowds stood awestruck at a monument of copper, which represented freedom, a new life and the American dream for those who were lucky enough to be graced by her presence as we floated insignificantly, yet parallel to her large mass. New York has opened my eyes to a world just an ocean away, so similar yet so different from the one we live in. New York has opened my eyes to the possibilities and depths of travel, and I dearly hope to return one day.

I’ll be over to visit as soon as I’m home!

Love and miss you loads Granny,

Alison