I’ve been in New York for exactly a week now and I’ve probably learned more from simply being in the city than I learned from 13 years of school. In no way am I demeaning my education–I was sent to some of the best schools in the state of Louisiana. What I mean is that the lessons one learns in a classroom in no way compares to the lessons you learn from living. And living on your own is a whole different story. I just received a call from one of my friends who’s been living in a tent in Tennessee all summer doing trail work and he practically took the words out of my mouth: living on your own and gaining new experiences is completely eye opening. What I’ve taken from this first week in New York is going to carry me on, and has broadened my horizons by miles and miles and I can’t wait to share the rest of those experiences with you! So here’s a little recap of the things that stuck out to me the most this week.
To get to New York, some of my family friends traveled up with me to get me settled into my dorm at FIT and to have themselves a mini-vacation. While walking the streets of Chelsea, we passed this (assumingly) homeless man, completely unable to speak, wearing a dress and a sunhat while riding a bike with a doll in his basket. We smiled and went on our way wondering how he got to the point he is at now. Two days later, we were sitting outside at Sarabeth’s (only the best brunch and tomato bisque you’ll ever have) on Park Ave. waiting to get served, when this same man came by riding his bike and recognized us. He attempted to communicate and we asked to take a picture of him. He took about three minutes to get situated; he wanted to look perfect for this picture. We snapped a quick pic and started to mind our own business, but he expected more from us. Money, maybe? He began to yell and bang his fists on our table until the manager had to shew him away. We were so shaken up for the rest of the day, so compelled about what we did wrong. But honestly, we didn’t do anything wrong. And neither did he. People here who are like that don’t know any better and people like us don’t know how to react or respond to them… so it just ends up being confusing when we interact with each other. These people with forgotten backgrounds and lost futures are just trying to make it in this world like the rest of us, only people don’t give them a second look. People like this man could either be completely insane, insanely unique, uniquely brought up, everywhere in between or a little bit of each. There’s no way of knowing. Bless that sweet man’s soul because all he wanted was some love and attention. No different from the rest of us. But the best part about New York is that no one is judging– just simply observing. Which is what I’ve been doing lately. I feel like a whole new person living with a whole new perspective because of it.
I went running–or weaving, I should say– through Central Park on Friday. While I was trying to make my way through a cluster of people, I stopped for a second to notice a man making huge bubbles with a few ropes tied strategically onto a stick. Children of all different races and ethnicities were running through the bubbles, so filled with joy and excitement for something so simple. It definitely made my day a little brighter. This young crowd consisted of five boys. Two of which were white, three who were black, and one was Asian. None even thought twice before playing together while their parents stood idly by and seemed to be trying to keep their distance from each other. And it reassured me of two things: 1) all one needs to have fun is their imagination and 2) no one is born racists, ignorant, judgmental, pretentious, or closed-minded.
For the Fourth, my roommate Kristen and I decided to go to a Yankees game and watch the Macy’s Firework show over the Hudson River. What better way to spend the holiday than by watching America’s favorite halftime and favorite team win? Later that night we packed ourselves a picnic with food from a pop-up market with cuisine and desserts from every type of culture, got two H&M beach mats to sit on, packed the GoPro and a bottle of wine, and headed out to the Brooklyn Bride Park to watch the fireworks over the Hudson River. The show was incredible! But the whole day, we were extremely paranoid. There had been rumors of Isis attacks during Ramadan, which just so happens to land on our Independence Day. And of course everyone (including myself) just assumed they’d hit New York because it has the most people in it. There were over 700 cops on duty in full gear as well as helicopters on patrol to make sure the air was clear of any terrorist planes. Luckily, nothing happened. But every time we heard a loud noise or crash, we’d flinch. We were scared to take the Subway back from Brooklyn out of fear of an underground explosion. None of the locals were phased by the threats, probably because they get them so often. Everyone is so content with minding their own business that they don’t even think twice when making a decision or facing conflict. I have a new found and immense respect for New Yorkers and their street smarts. Everyone here is so tough and untouchable.
The humans of New York are so interesting because no two people have the same story. You can tell the locals from the tourists (mostly in Time Square) just based on how quickly they walk. If a woman is dressed in work clothes and tennis shoes, she’s lived here for quite some time. I made the rookie mistake of walking down 5th Ave in heels after seeing Finding Neverland… I have so many boxes of band-aids in my dorm room. You live and you learn. I’m starting to feel so at home here. I know the street system and my roommate is teaching me the Subway system. I actually told a cute little foreign family how to get to Central Park the other day! I’ve learned so much just from a short seven days and I can literally feel myself growing. But not in height, I actually feel shorter here because all the buildings are so tall Being in New York without a schedule is so much better than coming for a vacation. I’ve seen parts of town I had never seen before, had time to eat at the local hole-in-the-wall pizza joints, and adjusted my schedule and habits to those of a true New Yorker. I love it here.
If you don’t follow @humansofny on Facebook and Instagram, you’re missing out. It’s enlightening and hilarious and bold and yada yada and just do it. (Also the inspiration for the title of this post)
More pictures and adventures to come! XO