Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seeing New York

Isa at the New York Historical Society Museum
One thing I've learned about New York is that it's impossible to take it all in. I've lived here for two full months.  I've eaten at restaurants, seen shows, gone to museums, wandered Central Park, ridden the subway through all 5 boroughs .... I'm never going to feel like I've seen it all. I will never really know this place.  It is different every day, around every corner.  And the best we can do is go with the flow.  

...and find our places of stillness...

The girls at the Scholastic Store in SoHo
Sometimes just getting around New York can feel exhausting, like a full-time job. There have been days where, running a couple of simple errands like bringing the kids to school and visiting a friend, I have spent 4 hours on the subway. The jostling, the rushing, the stifling underground air, the dirty concrete on all sides, and the crush of other people - it can all be very draining.

...and then there are the moments of breathtaking beauty....
Grand Central Station at night
Grand Central Station often provides a great street-performer diversion in the middle of the commute.  Top-notch acts are always performing on the main concourse.  We've stopped to watch 9-piece bands, opera singers, and this amazing beatbox guy, whose prowess moved us to empty our pockets of spare change and bills on more than one occasion.  


I think, for true New Yorkers, this place is in their blood, and living anywhere else would be nonsensical. If my life had gone a little differently, I could see myself here, doing this.

Well maybe not this, exactly.
I will never get tired of New York's eccentrics.  It's hard to see in the photo, but this man is wearing a hat with a very tall feather.  The feather is at least three, maybe four feet tall.  I joined many others in staring at this hat, and watching in fascination as he walked obliviously underneath scaffolding and low-hanging trees.  You have to do something really weird to get people to actually stop and stare at you in New York.   

I'm ready to let it go for a while.  To step out of the "hive" and go back to the home city I truly understand.

While I don't often connect with poetry, this poem, which I see posted all the time on subway trains, strikes a chord.  To me, it captures the beauty and madness of New York perfectly.  

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