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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fantasy in Manhattan (#atozchallenge)

English: Lower Manhattan at late dusk.
Lower Manhattan at late dusk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     Some might fantasize about going to Manhattan someday while many a writer fantasizes stories that take place in Manhattan.   You name the genre, there is likely a story out there that uses Manhattan as the story setting.

     In this post, Sydney Aaliyah Michelle fuels a bit of romance fantasy that came to her during her last trip to Manhattan.   You writers out there will likely relate to Syd's methodology of coming up with the stories and maybe even relate to some of  the stories themselves.  Let's go to the borough of Manhattan with Sydney:

Why Manhattan?

Last summer I spent two weeks in Manhattan. I’m no stranger to the city. I visited for the first time when I was twelve years old. My father took my mom, brother and me on a business trip and we fell in love, my brother more than the rest of us. He moved there after college and never left.

Since then, besides the five and 1/2 years, I spent in China; I’ve been to NYC at least once a year every year. In each of those visits, my primary goals were to get to know the city better, try something new and find out if I could live in such a place that sparks my sense of adventure.

Each section of Manhattan feels like another world. The people carry around verbal and physical pride in which every area they reside. 

As I wandered the city, one story idea after another popped into my head.

The tree lined streets with the eclectic combination of homes, bars, and restaurants in The Village give a unique backdrop for the diverse mix of people. I spent one afternoon sitting in a coffee shop and eavesdropping on conversation around me.

I'm a writer; I eavesdrop, get over it or don't sit next to me. :-)

Two guys sitting at a small round table, one black and one white, one in a tailored business suit and the other in baggy jeans and a hoodie (in the summer time). They aggressively discussed the economy of several Caribbean Islands.

I imagined a couple falling in love in the corner table but both of them holding on to a life-altering secret.

The sexy, muscular, tattooed covered guy who ordered an espresso was my new hero. Tired of his meaningless life, he was looking for someone to love and who would accept his love of hip-hop.

I took the train to Battery Park and in my mind, created a world where behind those massive cement and glass structures was a world of wanton adventures.

As I walked back to my hotel in Midtown, I found a busy street corner; the perfect setting for a romantic first kiss.

I spent the afternoon strolling through Central Park and sat on a bench and wrote the following passage:

He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans. He ran his left hand through his shaggy brown hair before shoving it in his pocket. His other hand clutched a white postcard covered in messy handwriting. 
His forehead wrinkled as he deciphered the message. He read as he shuffled down the street, walking on the balls of his feet. As he passed in front of me, a breeze of his scent assaulted my nose, and I let out a sigh and inhaled deeper.
He stopped ... abruptly. 
I gasped.
We locked eyes for five seconds. I counted.
Recognition seeped into my brain; I knew him. He pulled his eyes away from mine and looked back down the street, but he didn't move.
I watched the pulse in his neck as his heart raced. Mine fought to catch up with the thump, thump, thump. My gaze panned down as I took in his tight muscular arms outlined under the sweatshirt that gathered at his waist and gave me an unobstructed view of his backside; his profile made me blush. I continued taking in his form but shuddered as he spoke.
"Excuse me."
"I'm sorry." We locked eyes again, and I didn't dare look away. "What was that?"
"Is this Manhattan?"
I narrowed my eyes and wondered why he asked. I stood up, dusted the seat of my pants, and walked toward him. He squared his shoulders and proceeded to stare down at me as I approached. I’d underestimated his height as I glimpsed up and bit my lip.

Not to say my adventures in Manhattan only happen in my head. Far from it, in fact, no place on earth, in my life, does my reality and fantasy collides like in Manhattan.  It will always be my place for inspiration and new beginnings each and every visit.

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a contemporary romance writer, world traveler, voracious reader, movie quoter, and tattoo lover who hails from Texas.

You can connect with Sydney online at:

Blog -  Sydney Aaliyah

Twitter - @sydneyamichelle



Sign up for Sydney’s News and received a free book!

      Thank you Sydney for sharing your stories with us!

        What places tend to fuel you imagination?    Have you written any stories set in Manhattan?    Do you ever get story ideas from listening to or watching strangers?


  1. Love that piece!! My heart was racing along with theirs. I admire the way your creative mind works! Thanks for sharing such a great post.

  2. Loved it to the core... :)Never been to Manhattan.. but read so many stories...

    1. The city has a lot of drama in itself. Probably why so many stories are set there. Thank you.

  3. I have found memories of a wonderful place, visiting Manhatten was an experience.
    Great post Lee.

  4. Okay!Must remember to read the forewards on these posts. I was so intrigued to think you liked tattoed muscular men, Lee. Whoops! Great story and thanks for hosting Sydney.

    1. Lee does, doesn't he. haha. Thanks so much Jan.

  5. Manhattan's a bit too frenetic and noisy for me. I've seen some of the highlights in the handful of times I've been there but I don't see myself going back. Being on the street is like being at the bottom of an urban canyon.

    1. Hey JoJo. I used to be only to take it about 4-5 days at a time. Now I found some pockets of peaceful places that allow me to stay longer. I don't think I could live there, but its a great escape for me every year.

  6. "I'm a writer; I eavesdrop, get over it or don't sit next to me." I love it! Thanks for helping me start my day with a smile.

  7. I enjoyed this very much! I am starting my yoga pants day in the land of suburbia. I left the hustle and kid bustle of my kitchen and went on a tour of Manhattan with you! I also love to eavesdrop!

  8. I am not a lover of cities in reality but in my imagination it is another story. I worked in Boston for several years and did love it but think I've missed something by never working in Manhattan.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

    1. Hi Kathleen. Every time I visit, I think, can I live here? I don't know. I love it and visiting it makes it special every time.

  9. So lovely how some places especially inspire us. Engaging read Sydney. :-) #AtoZChallenge

  10. Manhattan is so magical! I've lived in the area for 12 years now! Absolutely love this town.

    1. My brother has lived there for over 20 years. I can't see him leaving.

  11. I have never been to Manhattan and the idea is kind of intimidating. The city is so big and I've only ever been to mid-sized cities, so I'm not sure I could handle something bigger.

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    1. Hey Patricia, It can be big as a whole, but I look at it as different neighborhoods and each is so different. Battery Park, Midtown, Uptown, Time Square, Upper East, Upper West, Greenwich Village, Soho, etc. I spent one trip just exploring Midtown.

  12. I've been through New York, but never visited Manhattan. Maybe someday.

  13. I've never written any stories set in Manhattan. I have spent many an afternoon eavesdropping on conversations in parking lots in the past. You hear some pretty interesting things that way. I don't do it so much any more.

    As for the places that fuel my imagination... Cemeteries! As a family history researcher, I have spent a great deal of time in cemeteries. It is difficult not to wonder and imagine about the lives of the people buried there. Many stories can be fueled this way.

    Have a blessed day!

  14. I don't blame a writer for being an eavesdropper. Not one bit. I do it all the time when I stop at the airport. It's all part of the experience for me, and for how I receive my inspiration. If I'm going to watch a couple embrace as one is leaving or coming home, why would it be so wrong for me to hear what they are saying too? Or the person sitting behind me talking on their phone?

  15. I'm a writer; I eavesdrop, get over it or don't sit next to me.

    Totally get that! :) Enjoyed the story excerpt.

    Thanks for the peek into the creative process.

    I've never been to Manhattan, will wait to visit it before I use it as a setting. It should inspire quite a few things!

  16. Great post Lee. Sydney, loved your piece. Love how your mind works while your touring the city. And I love that you eavesdrop! Me too! Strangers have such interesting lives sometimes! :)

    I've only been to the City twice but love it and definitely want to go back...

    Michele at Angels Bark

  17. Sounds like a great place to sketch out new ideas from *packs bag*

  18. Nice to meet you, Sidney. ☺ I've always wanted to visit New York City, Manhattan in particular. Your story excerpt whets the appetite even more. People watching and eavesdropping is a fascinating pastime.

  19. I frequently use Manhattan (and NYC in general) as a setting, because that's where many immigrants settled, and it also has a huge Jewish community which is appealing to many young people going to university or wanting to start adult lives away from their smaller towns. At the moment, given where the current section of my WIP is set, Budapest is the city most fueling my fantasies. I feel sorry for my characters, since they're in a rather tarnished Pearl of the Danube in 1945, not the city at its full beauty.

  20. That is quite a good story on meeting this "stranger". I always listen in when I am alone because I find it fascinating. I love watching people and they can be quite entertaining. My fantasy place is Europe.....Germany, Austria, northern Italy, Paris.....yup....Europe:)

  21. Thank you so much Sydney for this wonderful post and my thanks to all who read and commented on it.



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