BREAKING NEWS: New York City is not the only city in the state of New York.
Were you aware of this? Because I wasn't.
What I know about New York is New York City (and I'm still an amateur). Anything that lies beyond the city limits is a real mystery to me. I have to admit, since I've lived here the farthest I've strayed is.. Brooklyn, which, I'm afraid, doesn't exactly count. There's lots of talk about (the mythical) "upstate New York" but seeing as how I can't name a single city north of this city, I'm assuming "upstate" is just slang for "uptown".
Imagine my surprise when I found myself on the top of Bear Mountain on Friday morning - hiking boots and all! - and realized that I was still in the state of New York. I mean, wow. What is this place, Oregon? As part of our volunteer service program, I headed up there with a friend from work for a day of hiking trail repair (which is secret code for 'moving lots of rocks'). See that staircase we're sitting on? We built that! Well, part of it. I have extremely sore muscles to prove it.
Anyways, I felt like a damn Dixie Chick with all those wide open spaces. I am madly in love with Manhattan, but there was something heavenly about escaping it. To be able to see for miles. To be the only people around for miles. To be surrounded by silence.
It was one of those days that's good for your soul - but not necessarily good for your back. Or your arms. Or for lifting heavy things like a cup of coffee the next morning. Make no mistake, my friends, trail repair work is not for sissies.
What did I take away from this experience, you ask? That rocks are heavy. And that I am a sissy.
(and that there's more to New York than New York City)