while i am not typically drawn to large cities, i can barely make it through a day without reading or hearing something about new york city—enough to be interested in checking out its paths, people and on-goings at least one great time during this life. these past couple of days have gifted this time.
not being a fan of crowds, my first impression, as the openness of the highway gave way to the nighttime hustle and bustle of times square, was of feeling stifled and disconnected. i could no longer see the sky. i could no longer see the ground. there were only people and pavement and buildings and cars and lights and noise. …and it must have been trash day—at least i hoped that it was, because the streets were lined with piles upon piles of plastic bags. the following day, however, the same streets were lined with the same amount of bags and somewhere in between seeing how much waste the more congested areas of our country can produce in one day and retaining a trust that each of us is continuing to make big ways-of-living changes, a couple of tears traveled down my cheeks.
any interest in the lights and the buildings, the noise and the hurried, forward rhythm and pace has quickly shifted to an interest in the people around me—an interest that is often present.
i have watched lovers parting ways, bikers weaving through traffic, a woman, cozy in her sidewalk home space, painting her fingernails purple with a huge smile on her face—a sincere smile which she freely offers each time that we cross paths, groups of people deep-steeped in their normal, everyday routine and groups of people very far away from theirs. everywhere i look, i am reminded that, regardless of where we are, who we are with and how our lives are momentarily rolling out, we are all human, with human hopes and joys, human pains and problems.
i really like the subway. in its own unique way, the crowded, hot, under-city stretches of people waiting for a ride feels like a different brand of ‘real.’ doors sliding, time overlapping, people meeting and maybe meetings missed…by only seconds.
ellis island is especially interesting to me, as well. even while surrounded by the intense on-goings of the city, my mind often drifts to thoughts about the many groups of people who ventured to this ‘new world’ with little aside from a few belongings and dreams of a different life.
would i want to live here? nah, but i’m not ready to leave this morning and i have a feeling that ‘one great time’ will be an idea that i once had before deciding that ‘many great times’ is a better fit for this place.
as we were driving away, i turned around—as if a few more seconds, through my eyes, would more permanently etch the skyline somewhere in my mind. i thought about one of my favorite childhood books, “country mouse, city mouse” and how abner’s own snug bed in his own little house had never felt so good.
side note: i love that i was able to write most of this while sitting in central park. …maybe i’ll keep the ipad.;)