4. Federico García Lorca’s Nolita


The poet Federico García Lorca spent time in New York in 1929, while studying English at Columbia University. Mired in unrequited love for Salvador Dalí, and more interested in poetry than his education, Lorca spent a lot of time wandering alone around lower Manhattan, an experience that would eventually give birth to his seminal work “Poet in New York.”

To live the authentic Lorca experience, one needs no map or precise plan – the poet often traveled from Riverside Park to Harlem to Brooklyn in single days. The city still bears the imprint of his footsteps. At the intersection between Canal and Lafayette Street in Nolita, there is a mural on a building bearing Lorca’s portrait and also quoting his poem, “City that Does Not Sleep,” including the lines, “the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the street corner / the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the  stars.” The mural was painted in 2015 by the Spanish artist Raúl Ruiz and the Brooklyn-based artist Cern.

To find the unbelievable alligator and much more, pay a visit to the mural and float where your feet take you – and be sure to carry some stationary on which to write your poems about the loneliness, madness and beauty of New York City.