August is the season like no other in NYC to find travelers with map in hand gazing upwards in search of landmarks. But this vertical city creates a challenge in finding even a colossus like the Empire State Building – especially with the disorientation of emerging from a subway station and not being able to establish the direction of uptown, downtown, east or west. So it is with pleasure that I return the favor so happily given to me on the road, by speaking or signing the way forward. Doing this with relative ownership of the neighborhood made it even more ironic that an Australian should suddenly be giving me directions not just in New York City, but to the Berlin Wall in New York City.
Five segments of the Berlin Wall are mounted in a public courtyard on East 53rd Street between Fifth and Madison. One side – what was the west side, is covered in graffiti and the other – the east side – is untouched. Like a work of art the wall is a backdrop to people having lunch or walking past with a coffee. A porter swept up around the wall this morning as someone has probably done since it was installed 24 years ago, but never did before that. He might have been shot if he tried. In 2014 Manhattan is not the only place in the world that boasts a segment of the wall – pieces can be found all over Europe, North & South America, Africa and Asia. But the good news is that there is plenty of room for the next wall that comes down. Let’s hope it is soon!