asphalt buzzes with radiating heat, the endless lines of traffic
crawl ever onward. The heat is stifling, the humidity palpable. You
could cut the air with a knife but why would you. People flock to
big, air-conditioned stores or hole themselves up in their
apartments. Community pools are packed, the city beaches are teeming
with the masses.
ride bikes, longboards, scooters. There is laughter and ice cream and
water fights. There is release from the heat at night, when people
dance in the streets and gallivant through downtown. There is much
work to be done, every day, and it is done. It is no small task to
support a city that never sleeps.
all of these things, there are also faces, hands touching hands,
glances across crowded rooms. In this corner of that studio on some
street, there is a kiss. Another one, here under the bridge,
riverside on Roosevelt Island. There are big, warm welcomes, with
hugs and kisses and exclamations about how much you’ve grown. There
are handshakes and fist-bumps and high-fives exchanged everywhere, at
are tears, too. There are those who are passing as we speak, or who
have passed moments ago. There are people who won’t let go. There
are tearful, heartfelt goodbyes. Some are for now, till later, see
you soon. Some are farewells, it’ll be a while, remember me, don’t
change. People are signing yearbooks, people are signing shirts.
People are saying their last respects. A couple breaks up in a coffee
shop. There are tears of joy. Her Grandpa is dead, but her newborn
takes his name. His son has just graduated from high school, and so a
new life begins.
brush past each other in crowded, overheated subway cars. People are
rude, and kind, and sad, and happy. There are fistfights in bars and
sex in bathroom stalls. There are new faces and forgotten names.
There is mystery in her eyes, and loneliness in his. There is anger
in the flash of her teeth, and gratitude.
there are sounds. There are trains cars that clack on rails. There
are footsteps, everywhere. Sirens that are always just at the edge of
your earshot. There is music, endless music. There is the beat of the
blood in the veins of the streets. Horse-drawn carriages clip-clop
their way around Central Park. Romeo seduces Juliet once more in the
that particular tree, he spreads his father’s ashes. Leaning
against a ferry rail, she speaks her silent prayers. A doctor cries
during his shift, the gravity of it all catching up to him. A
policewoman is gunned down in action. Cars are stolen and drugs are
bought. People flock to dimly-lit lounges to pontificate without end.
An hourglass is turned over.
is love here, and hate. There is hope and despair, and pain, woe,
misery. There is intense pleasure expressed with coy eyelashes. The
city is breathing and you can hear it. Occasionally it sighs. More
often, it chuckles.
rivers move, and you will never see them again. Every day, a new
river is the East River, the Hudson. The waters have recycled, the
ocean isn’t far. No one ever says so, but it is true still, truer,
even, for that.
tourists take photos of buildings and the natives scoff. They point
and they grin and they wear matching hats that say I Love New York.
But how can they? How can they presume to love this place, when all
they do is gawk at it and tramp through it and ask favors of it? Can
they hear the breathing, the life, no. They cock their ears, and all
they hear is activity. They can’t feel the stillness. They can’t
he, she, they all do. We do. We feel the pain of the city, the scars
of its history. We share in its ebullience, and take our share of its
misfortune. We are the city. He is the corner store on his block, she
is the stop sign on the street. We are all Broadway and Canal. I am
the 6 train, and you are the L. He was the W, but now the Q. We
accept, and live, and love. We are the city as much as the city is