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Not New Amsterdam

The Tower of Babel — Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) — public domain

July 1983 — when AIDS first raised its ugly epidemic head and eighteen years before “they” fell, I arrived in New York City, a young European university student fresh off the plane to do research at Columbia University and the New York Public Library. It was my first time in a cosmopolitan city this size. It totally blew me away, and the many haps and mishaps of my stay in the City, followed by a three month "hitchhike across the USA", are a story in their own right and still to be culled from the journal I kept. About a week into my experience, I frantically tried to capture the city’s soul and hectic rhythm in the poem below. Faithfully transcribed from its original handwritten version, I hope my young man's effort hasn’t aged too much.

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