The Big Apple calls
April 17, 2007
I’m off to New York next week for a well earned break. (Some of you may have already noticed that my Muse took off on her own a week ago). New York is my default location these days and I invariably come back energised and enthused about the sense of possibility. Somebody once asked me what the difference between New York and Dublin is and I replied that in New York the answer to every question is “yes” (it may cost you, but the answer is yes) and in Dublin the answer is generally a variation on “no”. Except we don’t have a word for “no” in the Irish language so we’ll probably avoid a “yes” and leave you with the ambivalence!
Anyway, as is usually the case prior to any trip I’m working my way through the web pages and listings to see what’s on, where I might go, what I might see etc and after only a day and a bit I’ve hit panic – I’m overwhelmed by choice. I’m searching for “yesses” and “nos” and all I can reach for is the overwhelming ambivalence that comes with having to make a decision on the basis of too much information.
This isn’t helped by the fact that I finished reading Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice recently which eloquently and brilliantly describes what I’m facing now and how very often we revert to what is known and understood at the expense of risk taking and newness because it’s simply too much to wade through and decide upon.
Maybe it would be easier to revist all of New York’s finest tourist attractions that I have already seen? Should I revist my favourite cup cake shop the Magnolia Bakery? A visit to MOMA once again? That Staten Island Ferry trip around midnight? Back to Otto’s for olive oil ice cream? Then again, I should really take advantage of the trip and go for a whole selection of new experiences. I could also drive myself nuts with all this decision making shrouded in opportunity.
Perhaps the only way to approach this is to start with the boundaries – time, location, budget and interests and work backwards? I hear many of my clients decry the limitations and boundaries within which they are “forced” to work and I’m constantly amazed at how necessary boundaries are for true creativity to flourish. Even though I’m overwhelmed by the choices on offer in NYC I’m also savvy enough to know that I have some likes and dislikes (dive bars in the East Village were never really “my thing” and I’m unlikely to change that habit on this trip) and when that’s added to the boundaries I may just come up with a mix that’s comfortable enough and different enough to make this a unique experience this time around. In the meantime, I’m open to suggestions and offers to enhance the mix! And if there are any bloggers out there interested in meeting up please get in touch.