Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some Observations 1 Week Inside the Apple.

NYC. What a place.

Things that are different thus far:

1. The close proximity of people.
I always knew this but I never knew how "personal" it would feel. More people randomly talk to me than any place I have ever lived. Not just crazies, just... people. At the supermarket, on the corner, on the subway, people in my apartment building. At first I kept checking for a neon sign flashing above me that said "talk to me, I'm a talker" but now I think its just that there is a unique sort of "togetherness" that New Yorkers feel or have come to accept and expect you to accept as well.

Not necessarily a "lets all hold hands and sing kumbaya togetherness" but just... together. Like, "well buddy, I'm here, you're here and there's nothing we can do about it so we might as well talk." In this togetherness there is a strange paradoxical sociology that permeates the ebb and flow. New Yorkers are reserved but personal. They are rude but very helpful. They want you to mind your own business but are nosey as I’ll-get-out. They are very private but are privately loud- no secret cell phone conversations in this town brother. They can be harsh and indifferent but helpful to the point of heroic if you really need it.

2. The diversity of mental health and the transparency thereof.
I am sure that everywhere I have lived has the same array of diverse mental health hidden away in cul-de-sacs and behind perfect picket fences, but in NYC there are no shades on the mental windows. Walking down any street you are hit in the face with all kinds of attitude: Mean, happy, crying, laughing, yelling, religious, radical and just flat out weird. The subway is the only place where people level their temperaments to a quiet simmer. Maybe its because they are trapped and the confined subway compartment gives them a subconscious chamber to store the inner-demons. Only the truly off-their-rockers cut lose on the subway.

But even there, in that underground chrome juggernaut, you feel that just the wrong bump or word might set anyone off on a tirade. But then again, if you aren’t sure which train to board next, they will volunteer that information freely and kindly as if they’ve known you forever.

One of the most enduring qualities of the New Yorker is the sense of ownership that everyone has. Today, a guy that lives across the street introduced himself to me. I didn't know what the cross street was for my church and he said, "Dude, this is your city! You gotta know it!" His family has lived here since West Side Story Days and he is telling me that this is "my city." Something about that left me a little speechless.

I do know one thing. However much NYC becomes “my city,” an Astros fan, I'll always be. The Yankees can kiss it.


euphrony said...

Hey, Seth, keep the faith in the Astros. But you may want to watch where you wear Astros gear - people are getting mean. I read yesterday that a guy in OK City walked into a bar wearing a UT shirt and a guy in the bar ended up nearly ripping his nuts off.

Take care!

Amy said...

Mmm..that makes me miss living in a city. I've always kind of wanted to live in New's great to hear about it fresh from you guys.

Seth Ward said...

Euph, Yeah, I don't think I'll be trumpeting my astros love.

Amy, We LOVE it! Took a stroll down Museum mile today and the breath was taken away.

We also walked by a trash pile or two that took our breath away.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I would have to concur wholeheartedly with your observations.

We love your city and can't wait to go back!

Chaotic Hammer said...

I do know one thing. However much NYC becomes "my city," an Astros fan, I'll always be. The Yankees can kiss it.

"Kiss my Astros". Try that with a stranger on the subway who is wearing a Yankees cap.