“The Big Apple” he mused silently as he wandered through the brick and concrete valleys of Manhattan.
He didn’t know why it had been called that, but a horse race came to mind. Possibly, long go, someone had called a horse race here, winner takes the big apple. Who knows. It was a huge city.
Being in New York had been so far outside his comfort zone he was amazed to be standing here. Not that he knew precisely where here was. 5th and 43rd, said the signs. He was amazed to be standing at 5th and 43rd. Once or twice he had almost backed out, turned turtle and ran away, but in the end pushed forward. Old habits would handcuff him no more. Sally forth boldly.
The Empire State Building, Chrysler building, Rockefeller and ice skating, MoMA, the Met. Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, Crosstown traffic (so hard to get through to you!), Grand Central Station complete with dogs and armed guards. Ground Zero, bustling with the curious and the industrious. This was a city built in optimistic times and in dark times. When things got bad, New Yorkers did what New Yorkers knew, and built upward. A Babel where the air above was often more valuable than gold.
His neck hurt from looking upward – there was a myth (or possibly a truth) that the way New Yorkers could tell a tourist was that only tourists look up. There was another truth he’d heard. If you couldn’t find it in New York, it didn’t exist.
He hadn’t known it before, but that’s why he was here. Looking for something he’d always been looking for. And later, when he climbed into the car that would take him back to LaGuardia, he’d realize he could leave the city with a lighter heart.
Because he’d found the biggest apple.