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On the way to Manhattan

I adore New York because a sixth of the global publishing market’s work, journalism and media are produced here

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

While on the airplane to New York, the literal Arabic translation of the city’s name - “the new city” - crossed my mind. Every time I visit it, it is like I book a ticket to cross over from the old world to the new. The Hudson River flows through New York and empties into New York Bay, a natural harbor, then into the Atlantic Ocean. Frank Sinatra sang about New York. It is the city that never sleeps. It is people’s destination for thousands of reasons.

When people visit it they buy everything they need, yet leave still wanting to buy more. It has the oldest port in America. It is where the Dutch fought the Red Indians, where the Irish arrived, and where black people immigrated to write the most beautiful songs in Harlem's bars. New York, which is like Baghdad in the 6th century, does not turn anyone away, but it maintains its distance from everyone; I am everyone’s friend, but I have no friend!

I adore New York because a sixth of the global publishing market’s work, journalism and media are produced here. This is where the news wakes up, where spicy news bulletins are made, and where a successful investor roams in his luxurious car while a drunken painter sways in the train heading to the Bronx or Brooklyn at night. New York loves the color green, unlike many other cities in the US.

New York, which has a thousand faces every hour of the day and night, makes you feel lost regardless of how well you know it

Turki Aldakhil

Art and civilization

Visit it, and when you are tired of walking, walk a little more to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and learn about civilization. The museum is a few meters away from Central Park. It is as if nature is the loyal sister of history. East and west are both present there. Buying a ticket to the museum is like a passport to several areas across the world.

Renaissance artists have been immortalized via paintings hung on the wide walls. There are paintings of knights, and a beloved looking out from a window. The colors are so vivid, you would think the horse is real and about to neigh. The museum captures special moments of sleep and dreams.

There is a room about Damascus, and you would shed a tear when entering it as you remember the fountains that shelling has destroyed. You then read the prophet’s statement about Yemen: “The people of Yemen have come to you, and they are gentle and soft-hearted. Belief is Yemenite and wisdom is Yemenite.” I grieve as I recall that Damascus is no longer the same due to the butcher’s shelling, and that Yemen is no longer wise after becoming a jewel in the hands of a coal miner.

New York, which has a thousand faces every hour of the day and night, makes you feel lost regardless of how well you know it. All people are noble and equal before the law. If someone bumps into you, he or she apologizes. Enjoy your trip in the new world. New York is still new at all times.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Sept. 22, 2016.
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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.