9.03.2017

Why Can't the World be like NYC?

As much as I am, or was, kinda 'humbug' about it:  there's something about New York City.  First off:  more people live in NYC than in 40 of our 50 states.


But there's also something just ... different ... about NYC, especially at night.  Sure there's probably all sorts of sordid stuff going on in the darkest corners that makes for good episodes of cop shows and movies, and there is the darker side of mankind that you read about in the morning papers, but if a bad guy tries to do his thing in front of a bunch of New Yorkers, like in this scene from the first Spiderman, somehow I don't think he'll get too far with it.

New Yorkers have 'a bond' and don't seem to put up with too much crap.

"You mess with one of us, you mess with *all* of us!"

My wife Manuela has always had an affinity for the place.  She wasn't born there.  She just likes it.

It could be the movies she grew up watching in Italy.  It could have been some of the U.S. television shows through which she learned English which may have been shot there.  It could be one of her favorite shows "Friends" or "Sex in The City."  Hell, it could be Spiderman, (I doubt it, but who knows).  She's just always loved it.  So when some friends of ours, Angelo and Julia, came to visit us and visit the States for the first time, you can bet NYC was the place.  And we'd spend a few days there ...

We were thinking of being married there on a specific date at a specific place some time ago before it became logistically more feasible to run the legal gauntlet in Naples, Italy some years ago but, nevertheless, she's always been in love with 'The Big Apple' since I've known her.

At about midnite on the first night, I got a text:

"Guess where I am!"

Then I was blipped (before my cellphone locked up) with the pic at the top of this post.  Her sightseeing partner had fallen asleep (as had I) and she was there by herself.

"I'm on my way," I replied.


But it was the next morning, while I was standing in front of our hotel, across the street from Madison Square Garden, when I remarked to her:

"You know, look at all these people.  They're from all over the place.  They speak all different languages, they're from everywhere.  And they all have their own little purpose and reason for being here, and they're all getting along.  Nobody has a problem with anybody else.  I mean ... talk about a 'melting pot!'"  She patted me on the shoulder and said "It's good to see you're finally getting it."

She does that a lot.  I think she thinks I'm mentally challenged.  But the thing that really struck me ... and maybe it shouldn't have (?) was:  nobody was fighting.  Everybody was really getting along, doing their own thing(s) ... with each other.  Well, except for the two taxi guys fighting over the right to park in front of the hotel  -- but that's a different story.

These people were from all walks of life; tourists, people who lived there, people who worked here, people who were passing by obviously on their way to someplace else, the immigrant I talked to who'd been there for only 2 years and was thrilled to have made a living there ... who knows where they lived before or at that moment, but I'm almost certain that the majority of people I was observing 'came from somewhere else.'

But it seemed at that moment that every kind of person from every kind of place in the world and every station in life was doing their own thing and going in one direction or another, doing this and doing that as I stood there watching.  Nobody was bothering me and nobody was bothering anybody else.

It may sound a bit naive, but I couldn't help thinking:


Why can't the planet be like New York City?

Muslims weren't bothering Jews and vice versa.  Hardcore Nazi-lookin' folks were putting change into the cups of vagrants of one minority or another (with smiles on their faces as they did so) and the vagrants would answer 'God bless you brother.'

I'll be honest ... there was one colorful young lady who walked by -- tattooed from head to toe (literally) -- and had body piercings and holes in parts of her body where I didn't think you could do that ... and she walked by arm in arm with a seemingly well-dressed man in a nice suit, the 4 taxi drivers and doormen and I who were watching just kinda smirked and snorted our coffee outta our noses and laughed out loud ... one of them said "They have landed, and they are among us!"

But even taking into account the 'alien girl and her elderly escort,' it seemed that every 'political or lifestyle affiliation' you could think of that is currently portrayed in the media as warring with each other was just 'doing their thing' in conjunction with everyone else ... and nobody was having a problem with anybody else.

Why can't the world be like New York City?

One of Manuela's first observations was "Well, could it be that there's 2 or more cop cars everywhere you look?"


Could that have been it?  Do we need the show of force?  Was that it?  If it was, I'm not so sure I have a problem with that, then.   Is it the visible presence of 'law and order everywhere?'  But doesn't that sound a little too much like 'a police state?'  I'm sure that might bother some.  People don't like to be 'watched' and made to be felt like they're being babysat.  But maybe that was it.  Maybe they felt safe?

Whatever it was. it seemed to work.  Manuela and I walked up to a pair of cops leaning on their cruiser at about 2am and asked "S'cuse me guys, is there anywhere where can we buy some wine at this time of night?"

Their answer, "Nah.  You might try <"blah blah blah over at blah blah, or maybe in Penn Station at blah blah's," but I don't think you'll have that much luck."  With a little more chit chat we parted with a "Have a good night!" and a "Good luck!"  

Less than 2 minutes later, we had found all we needed at a store about 20 yards away ... got our wine from a guy who'd been in the U.S. less then a few years  He was from Bali.  "Bali?!" I asked, "Why'd you leave *there?*  Isn't it wonderful there?"  He became suddenly serious and said "Oh no.  It's worse there than you can imagine."

Hmmm ... so maybe the question shouldn't be "Why can't the rest of the world be like New York City?"  Maybe it should be "Why can't the rest of the world LEARN TO BE LIKE New York City?"

Everybody pretty much helps you out if you ask for directions or for help.  If they don't know, they give it their best shot and, if they don't know the answers to your questions, they send you somewhere to someone who might know.

Everybody was just ... nice.

Even the alien girl and the older gentleman.

Jules and Manuela
I guess "nice" just doesn't make the news and it's that 'news' that shapes what we think about the world?  And maybe that's why people target it and try to take it down.

I hope not.
JM(M)

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