Sunday, May 23, 2021

America is Still Alive in New York

Maybe its biking around Manhattan that it hits you. Or when you walk into St Patrick's Cathedral in the middle of a mass and see that cavernous church that does remind you of the kingdom of heaven. Or Times Square where everyone is there in a mixed up homogenous loud mass of people including a naked cowboy. Or in Central Park where the kids are being entertained by singers and dancers and the parents are running around trying to corral their children in the most heterogeneous multculti stew of people you will ever see. Or when you go to the Plaza Hotel and see the fountain where Zelda Fitzgerald jumped in or the ornate lobby and the rooms where F. Scott Fitzgerald put the climax of Gatsby or seeing Freedom Tower or Grand Central Station...but it hits you somewhere in the middle of it...oh yes, this is America.

There is no room for divisions. Everyone is too busy. Even with the protests going on against the war in the Mideast or Black Lives Matter. People just take it in stride. And the people are not exceedingly beautiful or ugly or old or young or highly educated or ignorant because no on can dominate. No one gets old and the young are everywhere taking it all on. It was hot the weekend I was there as I was weaving in out and of cars on my rented bike and the smell of old buildings, urine, hot sidewalks, homeless people, the hotdogs stands, the vendors selling gyros, and the strange chicken on a stick, it all blends together and it is exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. 

And then you are at a black tie dinner with the one percenters accepting an award and you would think these people must dominate NY with their money, degrees, sheer power, but its not true. You know that when you see the blue green of the Statue of Liberty in the distance from Battery Park and you imagine all those people who saw that statue for the first time and you know then... no one dominates New York except the people. Black, brown, Asian, white, Indian, Jewish, Muslim, is all there and when you are finally finished and head for airport you take a final glance back and wonder if you did see it all and then you know the answer, of course you didn't...

Books by William Hazelgrove