Friday, March 25, 2011

Reflections on New York City

The past two days I've been in NYC. It's... different. I don't live there, and I don't think I'd ever want to. It's too big, too crowded, and too dirty, but it is fun. There's just so much to do. That, I think, is the main charm of New York City. There's something for everyone. It's a giant melting pot and collision of cultures. You can walk down any random street and see at least three stores advertising items in different languages, and hear said languages being spoken. It's hard not to follow your nose when you pass a restaurant with delicious smells emanating through the door. In the press of people on the street you're sure to see someone wearing a weird, wacky, tacky, or just plain cool item of clothing. (For the record, I saw a TON of Doc Martens!) Stores overflow with amazing merchandise, and if you go to the right places, you'll be sure to find something unique.

On the other hand, NYC is dirty, plain and simple. For whatever reason, it seems like everyone smokes. It's impossible to move more than a few feet without getting a whiff of cigarette smoke. Nasty stuff, to say the least. The city is also incredibly crowded, and crowds create trash, cigarette stubs, and seemingly mountainous piles of gum on the sidewalks. Grime is everywhere. Then again, New York is an old city, and the older things become, the dirtier they seem.

One thing that bothers me about NYC every time I go there is the lack of natural light. In some neighborhoods, no matter how sunny it is, there seems to be a general cessation of light, which intrigues me. It's probably because the buildings are so tall, but I have a theory that it's actually the lack of trees. Even in a forest when the sun is shining, the light is alive, if muted. In New York, the sunlight seems almost dead. In Times Square at night, with the neon and huge lights cranked up, it seems almost like day. The key word here is "almost"- it's not the real thing. Real light needs to be living, and to be reflected off of living things. Without light, life can't really exist. New York is definitely a living city, but the light lives in a different way than the light where I live. It's a change, certainly.

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