Under the Manhattan Bridge at the New York Festival of Light

Once again, I’ve fallen behind on blogging, but perhaps, this time, with good reason: I’ve had a crazy busy fall, starting with apartment hunting in New York (an insane process even in the best of circumstances), followed by traveling around Italy, moving to New York, starting a new job, and becoming super busy at said job. In short, I’ve been doing quite a bit of living. But blogging? Not so much.

I have a backlog of posts to get to, stretching all the way back to May (!!), but I also have a strong urge to write about what’s happening now, to chronicle some of the things I’m doing in this newish-to-me city that I have already come to adore. And so, since this is my space and I make the rules here, I have decided to abandon my usual practice of covering things chronologically and instead to write about it all, to alternate between older travel posts and more recent happenings.

And so, to start, an event I attended a few weekends ago: The inaugural New York Festival of Light.

I saw someone post about the festival on Facebook, and I was intrigued: innovative light installations under the Manhattan Bridge, created by artists from around the world. It sounded worth a trip to Brooklyn to me. And so, when my best friend asked if I wanted to hang out that weekend, I immediately thought of the festival and suggested we check it out. Wouldn’t it be awesome?

Well…as it turns out, yes and no.

Mostly though, if I’m being honest, no.

Here’s the problem: the festival was insanely crowded. Now, I expected it to be busy, to some extent. This is New York; there are always crowds. But I was not expecting the wall-to-wall, soul-crushing mass that I found when I got off the subway at York Street. It took me almost an hour just to find my friends, and actually getting up close to any of the light installations required further waits. I never even made it to the installations directly under the bridge itself; navigating the mass of people to get to the bridge turned out to be way too daunting.

As for the Festival itself, the bits of it I could actually see were pretty cool – I especially liked the various light projections on the bridge – but perhaps not worth the frustration and effort. The Festival was obviously quite popular, and I would love to see them do it again next year, only with more attention to logistics and crowd control. The artists whose work was featured had some excellent ideas, and it would be nice if their creations – and all the attendees – had a bit more room to breathe.

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