My first trip to New York was when I was 12 or 13. My first memory was driving over Manhattan Bridge to the skyscrapers of Downtown. The sun was coming up.
I was travelling with my mum to visit her friend who had just moved there (my father was never a big fan).
I loved how the light reflected off the tall buildings. Each neighbourhood had its own character – walking through them felt like crossing not just countries, but continents. I even enjoyed manoeuvring through the large crowds. The pace of the city was electrifying. That trip planted something in my head about New York: I’d never been to a city so dynamic.
At the time, I was living just north of Tel Aviv. I visited New York twice more as a teenager, but spent some proper time there during a three-month internship at The Mark hotel. I was living in New York and working at one of the city’s best hotels: it was a transformative experience. I came back to London and couldn’t stop dreaming about New York. I was falling in love with it.
I liked how strangers could make conversation in the subway, gym or a restaurant. No matter where you come from – you can become a New Yorker. I couldn’t say that about anywhere else in the world. New York continues to set the pace for most megacities. There’s always something new.
Even after all these years, New York still has that dreamlike quality to me. It’s only when I arrive there that I realise it’s real.
Guy Ivesha is the founder of Mortimer House, a member’s club in London with interiors from design firm AvroKO.