I'm from NY, born on 31st and 1st and I lived in Manhattan for about 4 years in my adult life, but somehow I feel like I didn't really SEE New York until this weekend.
How is that possible? I always knew New York was a place of peaceful coexistence, a Noah's arch of nations and lifestyles, but I didn't "see" the beauty of that until now.
Washington Square park alone was a feast for the eyes. My friend and I sit silently as a black woman with a 4 cone hairdo speeds by a sunburnt couple in a red bikini and swim trunks dancing like a pair of lobsters in the fountain. A man plays his drum set a full volume while a woman about 100 pounds overweight dances as if in a spasm while her mother proudly records movements with her iphone. A trumpet plays a different tune on the other side of the fountain. The sounds collide, no one seems to care. Dogs bigger than most NYers trounce slowly across the hot plaza with their owners while a girl with the longest most beautiful red hair gets her picture taken with a man who looks like a gentle giant. At least 3-4 languages are being spoken just on the same cement bench.
This is it. This is what it can look like; the full beauty of coexistence. And the model looking people are somehow no more beautiful. Yes, they are lithe and well-dressed, but they are more contrived than those who just grab green hot pants and gold headbands.
Now, I'm savvy enough and educated to enough to know that everyone mooching around this square does not have the same access to jobs, healthcare, or red carpet events. That is clear. In the square, however, I felt a sense of suspension-- hanging in time...for a moment we are all together..between our jobs, relationships, and bank accounts. We are all just sitting in the square enjoying the day and looking at each other. For a moment, peace feels possible...even with the population growing and tensions seemingly rising.
I felt more than peace, I felt bliss...appreciation and freedom. Freedom from all having to look the same, want the same things or dance to the same rhythm. I felt I could breathe in NY and those around me seemed to feel the same way. Even though NY can be one of the most "insecure cities"-- people always concerned their apartment or paycheck isn't big enough and their thighs aren't small enough...it also, for me this weekend was a place of enough-ness. I felt enough...smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, caring enough...enough enough. Who knows if everyone felt the same blissful feeling about each other as I felt about them...I just know that for a weekend, I carried the restful gaze of acceptance. I wish everyone on the planet could feel what I felt even if just for a week. Then they might not be so afraid of "others", bad hair, or sexual preference.
You can't really see it in this picture, but the Empire State Building rotated between purple lights and the gay freedom flag. Ahhh, NY.
Yes, NY subways are disgusting in the summer and people do suffer in terrible ways, but homicides are down again this year and people ignore each other in the most deliciously peaceful ways.
Peace is possible.
Lennon was a dreamer and ended up shot on the Upper West Side...but I don't think that's a warning not to dream...it's just a warning not to be a famous Beatle chased by a crazy person.
go to NY, have a look and consider what might be possible for the rest of the plane