I’m constantly surprised to be reminded of just how humongous the United States is. I had the notion that travelling from my uncle’s house to Manhattan would take half an hour at most, and that Long Island was about 30 miles long.
Long Island is 125 miles long. my uncle lives very near the beginning of it, just a 5 minute walk to the beach were I have a perfect view of Connecticut and of the general area of Billy Joel’s humble abode. It takes nearly two hours to get to Manhattan as first we have to drive ten or fifteen minutes to a bus stop, taking the bus for an hour and then getting the subway for another 45 minutes to an hour, finally arriving in Times Square.
Not only does the expanse of this, the land of the brave and home of the free (or, according to the legendary Mr Pinnington – the land of the stupid, home of the exceedingly fat), never cease to blow my mind; but the size of the buildings makes me feel a mere mortal gawping up at Mount Olympus.
Times Square, Wall Street, the Financial District, the City Hall, the whole of Fifth Avenue, loom majestically up from the walkway of their minuscule masters, dwarf the denizens of this – the apple of the States’ eye. Gargantuan blocks of marble, exquisitely carved sculptures atop stupendously crafted edifices look down and seem to challenge each one of us to conquer their dazzling heights.