The Bronx was out-of-limits during my first trip to New York. The staff at the YMCA told me not to go there. It was too dangerous.
This time it was a different story. In India, I met various people in our homestay in Varanasi. One of them was Paul, an artist from New York. When it became clear that I would be going to NY, I contacted Paul to arrange to meet for a meal or coffee. For the beginning of my stay in NY, Paul was away. However, by the last few days, he had returned home, to the Bronx, and invited me to stay with him. I moved from my Airbnb to Paul’s flat in the Bronx.
The following day, Paul took me to The New York Botanical Garden, a peaceful oasis, at Bronx Park. At the gift shop, I had a fascinating conversation with a volunteer about the social and cultural changes happening in America.
Later that day, we went to a street festival full of the colours, sounds, and costumes of the Dominican Republic. We returned home via the Yankee Stadium, home of the NY baseball team.
Perhaps my favourite event was a little street concert by a trio. It was a lovely, low-key affair, away from the maelstrom of Manhattan. A small group of young and old gathered to see them. People danced — and took regular breaks to cool down in the shade, away from the extreme heat that day.
If you want to follow my complete USA journey, start in the Grand Canyon.