New York City really doesn’t sleep. I used to fight the whole ‘city never sleeps’ thing, saying “of course we sleep! That’s ridiculous. Where do people think up such frivolous nonsense?” But I’ve long since realized that all the rumors are true. New York City is always alive and kicking.
Of course, I value sleep. And quiet. And space. And kindness. And peace. And nice smells. And I also love New York. These things don’t seem to go together. But I always thought (okay, still somewhat think) New York is different than its stereotype. “New Yorkers aren’t really rude,” I said…I say (I still say this), “they’re just in a hurry. If you block the subway door or stop to take a photo in Times Square, you’ll probably get pushed aside. And it won’t always be gentle. But people will probably say excuse me first…at least a second before they physically move you. They don’t mean it.”
However, lately, and for what is shockingly one of the first times ever, I’ve felt truly angered by all the people in New York who “don’t mean it” and by all the crowds. During the same week (last week) that I couldn’t get a seat on the subway on the way to work at 4am (city not sleeping), I was punched full force in the stomach by a man running down the street not watching where he was going. The wind was knocked out of me and I almost doubled over, but kept walking, as all New Yorkers in a hurry would. To his credit, the guy screamed out “oh, sorry!” as he continued running, but I was still pretty angry.
This was followed by a sea of photo-taking tourists blocking my way down the sidewalk plus being herded across the street by policemen who had closed off the crosswalk near the Radio City Music Hall with PoliceLineDoNotCross tape. I then waited outside in the freezing cold for over an hour to pick up Christmas Spectacular tickets (my friend’s a Rockette, so I wanted to see her… but I had no idea that Radio City Music Hall would be such a cattle call fiasco.) Afterwards, a woman blocked my entrance to Whole Foods, screaming obscenities at a a stranger who apparently exited out the wrong door. None of this helped my mood.
My mind reeled: “When did the city get so much worse???”
Then someone slammed into me and shook me out of my thoughts. ARGHHHHH!!!
Have I been hanging out in the touristy areas too long? Is it the holidays? Has the city been getting more crowded? Am I getting more sensitive? What. Is. Wronggg???
However, As I sit in Queens and enjoy my hot chocolate and peace and quiet, I start to forgive New York. After all, my stomach has healed. I’m feeling a lot better. And I’m awake at 2AM, feeling one with the city. If I needed contact lens solution right now, I could go out and get it. If I wanted an egg sandwich right now, that would also be available.
I want neither contact lens fluid nor an egg sandwich, but, but…I want YOU, New York! I don’t want to stay angry. I’m so sorry we fought. Apparently you can punch your tenants in the gut, raise the rent, and then laugh as we’re still magnetically drawn, powerless back into your clutches.
Bless you, New York. Bless you, crazy homeless guy smelling up the subways. Bless you, crazy wholefood lady giving strangers a piece of your mind. Bless you, garbage left outside with rats running around. Well, maybe not that.
New York and I in better days.