Spring goes so well with New York City I think! Newness, freshness, color, crispness, high energy, vibrancy, originality, creativity, Spring, are certainly words that go with it. I love New York in every season, but in the spring, I love it passionately!
I have been drawn to sports that involved moving fast and risking your neck since I was a very young child. I loved to water ski, snow ski, jump from very high places and skate. Growing up in Lebanon that was considered radical at the time, but determination to do what I wanted led me to push the limits of social tolerances. So, while in New York, I loved seeing skate boards on every street corner and rebellious teenagers zipping and flying by annoyed pedestrians. It just spelled for me the strong wish of young people to cause a change, to see a new world not dragged down by the old and to simply be free.
Don’t you love it when you find yourself so free in your mind to just break into a dance in the middle of a crowded park simply because you ‘feel’ it? Don’t you wish we could alway be reactive like children without the weight of inhibition and the shackles of self enforced rules of behavior?
Ask anyone who rides the subway for more than one hour a day and they will be sure to have some strange stories to tell you. I have a few. I realize that with this month’s postings a lot of memories and stories keep floating by, and that is because I left them there. On the subway at the age of 20 I met the first and hopefully last flasher. It was evening and I was engrossed in my Herman Hesse book ( Narcissus and Goldmund) not realizing that I was alone in the subway car after everyone filtered out, when I felt a shadow looming in front of me. I Looked up and there was the classic open raincoat with an extraordinarily large man standing in front of me exhibiting his pride. Funny how react in expected situations, and me being totally caught off-guard, I cried. Then I ran to pull the emergency brakes which caused the train to stop, the doors to open, the giant man to run away and I was directed to another car with people in it. I was then hugged by a big bosomed African American lady who giggled and said: “relax darlin’, that was entertainment for free!”
And there were the other stories, but one is enough…
When you live in a big city with very tall buildings and millions of people, you find yourself focused on the immediate area around you, navigating the ocean of people, avoiding the cars and bike zipping by and keeping close watch on any impending danger that you forget to look up. I remember that we could always tell if someone was a tourist in New York because they looked up!
Of the many strange things I have done in my life, one of them was deciding to live in Roosevelt Island. I did that for a year and every morning, the strangeness of that place grew and every evening I wondered why is it that a place can make you feel that way. A small island across the East River on the side of Manhattan, where no cars are allowed and the whole width of the island is 240 meters and length of about 3 km, it is owned by the city of Manhattan but feels like worlds away.