New York City is impressive. The size and scope is amazing. There are so many people, such big buildings, there’s noise from car horns, engines, subways. The non-stop hustle and bustle, the sheer energy, and the logistical challenge of getting around, can make New York seem overwhelming to visitors and residents alike. But it can also inspire.
I grew up on Long Island. But since I don’t live or work in New York, it can take a day or two or longer to reset the biorhythms to the beat of that place.
From last Wednesday through Sunday I was submerged in the experience that is New York. We took our first “Uber” from JFK to our hotel in Brooklyn. By the time our plane lifted off the runway in Newark Sunday night, we’d been fully integrated, invigorated, and expectorated by the whirlwind weekend in the city that never sleeps.
Maybe because it was Christmas time, the locals were on their best behavior. We needed help with the subway and directions, a lot. But not once was our plea for help met with anything less than kind assistance. There was only one grumpy cab driver who quickly apologized. He explained that earlier in the day he was trying to help a drunk get out of his brand new Toyota Camry when the guy threw up. But by the end of the ride, and his confession, he was back to a total gentleman. Honestly, I met more total strangers that were the nicest people in those five days.
A visit to New York has so many rewards despite the push and pull on our psyches and personal fields of gravity. The bar tender/owner of a little place in Brooklyn greeted me and three friends as we entered his establishment on Saturday night, like we were long lost relatives. Then proceeded to deliver free drinks until we insisted he stop. That act of kindness is still a little baffling. But New York is not all love and peace, lest I’m giving you that false impression. Saturday was also the day that two policeman were killed by a gunman just a few miles away from us.
The impetus for this post was a Christmas window I saw when strolling the 5th Avenue neighborhood around 57th street and Central Park, along with about a million total strangers, most of whom I’m sure were really nice people. This particular Christmas-themed window especially captured my imagination because it featured massive heavy-duty gearing that powers the graceful movements of a twice life-sized music box ballerina. As we know, metalworking, with its positive influence on our lives, is everywhere. But like the nice people of New York, it is under-appreciated.