25 July 2007

When New York Expeditions Don’t Meet Expectation

Our entire modern history of literature, arts, and film don't lie... all the time. New York City truly is an impressive place.
The city is still cold and unloving. Everyone is still trying to make it. The rich are still rich; and the poor? Still poor. But at least they get the title: "starving artist." What a world, where a label like that can invoke pride, even when it's just a fancy way of saying "dirt broke." But that's exactly it: New York City is an entirely different world unto itself. She has her own personality and could care less if you like her or not, because she has enough lovers to endure beyond the most biting criticisms. Thus emboldened, I continue.

New York has all the things that anyone who loves cities would love about cities. There is never a shortage of cheap authentic or rudely overpriced eateries, work to be put off or events to provide sufficient distraction, and people. Bright lights and endless crowds are usually comforting to people seeking anonymity and freedom in new urban spaces. I was drawn to the rich abundance of art and culture that pulls me to these lively urban centers, but all the factors that set New York apart as a unique world made me recoil in disappointment. In the same way that students push blindly through commuter schools, just waiting to get out, people in New York (not necessarily New Yorkers) run around as if for their lives and not from them. Granted, the impersonal feeling comes from not only the fact that New York is a commuter city, but that most people are tourists - literally just going through. Any normal human being would lose the impetus to reach out and meet new people in such a temporal environment with little hope for any sense of permanence. And so we have it: a city of brilliant lonely people, living a fast life, conditioned to retreat if triggered by any breed of fear, and so completely certain that they live in the best of all possible worlds.

And who am I to argue? I take the occasional dip in their pool when I need my modern art or open mic fix, but I'll stay in my city out here in the Bay where people aren't afraid to ask for your name. And that's an understatement.

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