Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A City of Contrasts

Chronological order seems to fail me. I am back living in the Big Apple for the second go around. It's exciting and thrilling and completely terrifying. The amount of energy this city thrives on daily could be enough to power the world twice over. The people you meet seem to feel the energy, take it in, let it surround them. In my eyes, this could be a great thing or the makings of a tragedy. I love New York, I really do. It is a city defined by contrasts. As the saying goes, with any true beauty, comes great danger...And therefore, this city will surprise you on the best of days and the worst of days. Walking down the streets, you get a sense of the "community" that is New York. You get a sense of humanity and how everyone works together, weaves together, through hardship, through enjoyment, through pain, through laughter. No matter whether you had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you lay your head on your pillow, hearing the sounds of other humans thriving around you. The contrast of New York can be simple things such as Wall Street Bankers complaining to pay the four dollars for a gyro from a street cart, but yet, without fail, there is the certain homeless man they give a five dollar bill to everyday on their walk home. The encounters with certain pretentious hipsters, that damnify you for being not as cool of an "uncool" person as them, yet show you the utter creativity of their mode of art in a way that changes how you think.
The last two days have been a complete contrast for me. Yesterday, I woke up to a wintery mix of brown snow, delayed subways, and handfuls of angry New Yorkers. It was no coincidence that as I was walking down my street, I saw one of the most unnerving sights I have ever seen. I was partaking as one of the first bystanders to an uncontrollable burning building. Flames coming out of the windows, loads of fire trucks blaring down the street, people gaping and snapping disturbingly raw photos of the event. Fortunately, I believe no one was injured and the fire was eventually put out about six hours later, but there is a distinctly hollow feeling you get watching something burn in front of your eyes, when you genuinely can't possibly help the situation. The amazing thing was that there were indeed hundreds of people helping-neighbors helping each other run out of the surrounding buildings, the number of fire fighters working together to put out flames, the bystanders that will go home and blog about it to spread the word, in awareness for others...And in keeping with contrast, today, the very next day, the sun shone. People were out strolling, stopping in cafes, laughing and chatting, and genuinely enjoying the surprising stream of sunshine that appeared mid-winter, oblivious to any burnt building or lives displaced. Therefore, my point about New York is the contrast of constant energy that is present. Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it even matter? It seems to me that all New Yorkers don't mind which type of energy it is, just whether it is there for them to thrive of off...

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