A piece highlighting the life-like qualities New York City possesses
|“An Ode to NYC”|
More than 8 million people live in New York City today. This enormous population becomes even more eye-popping when we take a step back to understand the reality that New York City’s populace extends far beyond the political borders that encompass it. Anyone and everyone that has once lived or even visited the city becomes a part of its larger family based on an appreciation for and attachment to its endearing qualities. The majority of this enormous population undoubtedly faces daily obstacles that involve internal battles with one’s soul or external conflicts created by family issues, unbearable employers, subway congestions, or the frustrating “Wall Street Greed” headlines that seem to appear as often as one might run into a street corner vendor walking around Midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately for the Wall Street elite, most New Yorkers embrace a nice Italian Sausage with onion and peppers for lunch, while they might not mind a few of the Wall Street curmudgeons falling into suffering much like the masses of the city already have on their account.
The universal blessing linking all of these people facing tough times, however, is that while many people unaccustomed to the treasures of the city might struggle to find support during times of difficulty, us “New Yorkers” know that above all else, we have a very close friend that will bare the burdens of grief and pain we endure, as well as help us to find a way out. The name of the friend I speak of is…well to be blunt…New York City. Many people the world over seek to mitigate their struggles through visiting night clubs and other forms of temporary escapement from the reality that they will eventually have to retruen to. New York City is not unlike other cities in providing this opportunity. However, this is not the qualities of the friend I am referring to that prospective strugglers must seek out. Rather, I offer a focus on the endearing qualities that make New York City different from anywhere else, the qualities that make it enormously life like and not just a place to visit or live in, but rather a confidant who will listen and provide support during the most difficult of times.
In order to overcome any obstacle, the most important task an individual must first accept the uncontrollable aspects of the situation and then look to move into an exercise of how to appropriately respond. That task is purely individual in nature. Seeking the support of loved ones to get us through difficult moments in our life might be just as important as this first task, though. As a member of this class of individuals currently seeking to overcome difficult times (my father is on his death bed, I lost my job and my girlfriend, and am praying that God will accept me back into his circle of faithful servants after avoiding it for quite some time), I humbly admit that New York City’s qualities have so inspired me that I consider her to be one of my closest allies in the battle to overcoming the pain derived from the above mentioned events.
While my residence prevents me from being counted among the actual statistical census of New York City, I still consider myself to be a New Yorker living outside of the city, yearning to become a permanent resident someday as soon as the dust from the darkness surrounding me settles. That endeavor, combined with the relationship with New York City I have already developed through frequent visits and a constant desire to learn and read about the city allows me to label myself a “New Yorker.” Despite my current residence outside of the city, though, I am still a recipient of its endless offering of acceptance and compassion. In fact, it is because of my residence outside of the city’s political borders that makes New York’s friendship so much more life-like than what many inhabitants of her borders dismiss as regularities.
She can cook Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food, pizzas, and bagels. She provides refuge in an environment that while noticeably surrounded by the pillars representing the reality existing beyond it, still offers a brief, but natural escape. She can decorate and prepare for the Holiday Season like absolutely no other, erecting a Christmas tree whose size is only outdone by her own heart. She introduces people to many of her own friends that carry their own stories of experiencing life‘s struggles. She represents a mirror for which all can look into a rediscover the so many blessings that we still possess despite the problems we face and while I am not able to physically embrace all of these qualities right now, simply knowing that they exist and realizing the possibility that I might one day fully embrace her love on a more personal level provides encouragement to fight my own battles far away from her. Like any great friend, she creates a world of possibility, instead of impossibility.
Even from far away my friend offers so many reasons to hope for a better future. She offers countless stories and experiences of her own life in the form of various articles, books, and movies. She does not judge me for my mistakes and misjudgments of the pass. She also offers opportunity to become a physical presence in her life if I so choose to when the time comes. My friend, New York City, possesses all the admirable and genuine characteristic of any loyal human. She also is victimized by abuse and greed rather frequently, because like all humans, her blessings are often taken for granted by those that have become so accustomed to her presence in their lives. In effect, I know that she understands my pain, but also inspires me to believe in a more positive future because of how resilient she has been in the face of adversity. My only hope remains to one day return the favor.
Because of how much of my life has been simplified over the last few months in dealing with my obstacles, many of the once frivolous items I desired to obtain seem to have dissipated. In the process, I have also discovered the intrinsic values that most people fail to realize exist within somebody or something that has become such regularity in their lives. Sure, many people embrace the richness of New York City, but they also abuse it as well, if not for any other reason, but because of how normal it has become in their lives. Abuse does not occur in a true relationship of friendship and love. Unfortunately, most people showing affection for New York City relegate her to an object of materialism that feels no pain and possesses no emotion. New York City will never give up the ability to love, but unless people create a more humane approach to her, she might one day become nothing more than an afterthought. Unless people offer her the respect and love she presents to them, she will eventually be destroyed because as is the case with human beings in general, she can only take so much before something greater comes along and sweeps her up for a better life elsewhere.
For a brief time, it seemed people’s admiration for her became much more substantial after a group of outsiders tried to bully her and succeeded in amputating one of her limbs. That veneration seems to slowly be drifting away, however, as people revert back to their belief that she is nothing more than an object, no matter how wonderful her offerings might be. If I can control it at all, New York City, I will move their as quickly possible to support you through the good times and the bad. Until then, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for me, even from 2,000 miles away. Thank you for being more than just a city, but a friend and not just any friend, but one of my best friends.