New York is… New York is… Well, New York is this…

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and I take a right onto 6th avenue, this is where everyone is, workers spilling out from air-conditioned office high rises or tourists meandering wide-eyed at everything around and below and above them, then I’m past the man in his early 30s lying on the ground with a cardboard sign that says “HIV positive. Help me out. God bless New Yorkers”, his box has maybe four dollars, four dollars fifty, and he’s been there all day, he’ll die I guess, he’s had his life in New York and now the city is taking it away, and nobody stops to look at him because they know it could happen to them anytime, one screw-up, one missed payment, the consequences spiral and before they know it they’re scavenging dumpsters for yesterday’s pizza, and I feel a wince of sympathy for the HIV man who isn’t much older than me, but I can’t stop, I’m being forced forward by the crowd and at the next intersection I’m crossing first, daring the oncoming cab to not stop, a horn honks, a man comes sprinting out of nowhere in running shorts and sleeveless shirt and dodges me on the crosswalk, but the Japanese man next to me isn’t so lucky, he stumbles and curses, but he can’t turn around, it’s too late because anything that happened two seconds ago is too late for New York, now we’re up to 40th street, 41st, and still on 6th going north, and this is Times Square, and suddenly we’re surrounded by Mickey and Minnie and Donald and Goofy and Daffy and Buzz and Woody and kids are grinning for photos, and leaflets are being thrust everywhere, for comedy shows, theatre shows, sex shows, and people stop and stare and clump into flagship stores for candy and toys and clothes, and restaurants, so many restaurants, and I’ve had enough here, I need to get away, I go west on 49th, past Broadway, then north on 8th, and it’s quieter here, only fifty people per square foot instead of a hundred, there are grates along the sidewalk and there’s the rattle of the subway below, right there, and I can hear it from up here and that rattle is like the city’s veins, connecting everything, keeping everything working, and although the crush of people is almost too much to bear, I feel like I’m part of it, a tiny part, a microscopic part and if I dropped dead in the street the city wouldn’t care, but still I’m part of it, then I’m at 56th and 8th. Then I’m home.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey it sounds….er…..fab

    Like

  2. Lovely description of New York….my first experience was that it felt like being transported into a different world.

    Like

  3. Ed says:

    Excellent writing. It reminds me of the movie Amelie when she takes the blind man on a hurried trip down to street describing all the she sees along the way. I love that part. The thing about New York…you could have snuck in something completely made up like an alligator reading the NY Times at a corner and I wouldn’t have bat an eye.

    Like

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