In Praise of New York City
by Alex Shippee in Labels:

New York City is endless. It seriously never stops. When I returned from a week long vacation one day I was amazed that the massive, amorphous crowd still had the same nuanced looks of stress and hurrying on their individual faces. It was like returning to a city thousands of years later and finding all the buildings intact. Why doesn’t anybody slow down?

Commuting into the city isn’t the same as living there. You get to see all the massive buildings and hear the tangled conversations on the street, but you don’t get to enjoy it. You don’t get to stand still, with a whole day stretched before you, and do all those New Yorker things. I don’t know exactly what they are because, well, I’m not a New Yorker. I’m from a small town in Connecticut actually. Life is very different there. Instead, I get off at Platform 112 at Grand Central and take the 6 Train to Canal Street and walk to my office before I’m late.

For a few days in a row, I passed the same woman walking her tiny little dog who happened to have three legs. It broke my heart and, one day, I asked her about him (his name is Lick-Lick) and why he had only three legs (he got into a fight with a coyote) and we got to talking.

I told that woman about a farm cat I know, named Super-Cat, that also got into a fight with a coyote and lived to tell the tale. We agreed that that was awesome. Lick-Lick peed happily on a tree and it didn’t seem so sad anymore. I said goodbye to my new friends and headed off to work, smiling happily.

The thing is, I like people. And in New York there are more lives taking place, concurrent and intertwined, than I can even imagine. In just three months of working there I met a three-legged dog, debated Harry Potter with a mother of two, got into an argument at an Internet CafĂ©, and just, in general, enjoyed the busyness of it all . I don’t live there, but when I walk to work, I like to imagine the entire space of Manhattan stretched out around me; all the people packed homes, the dogged determination of the businesses, the melody of all those cultures mixing together and that strange swath of life it must look like from afar.

I hope we can agree that that is awesome.

  1. Ah New York, the city you abandoned. When are you showing your face over here again?


  1. Hopefully soon. One of my college friends goes to grad school there and another friend has an interview on Saturday.

    NYC's like Daisy from The Great Gatsby, except it's a place and actually obtainable.

  1. Alex, Old Sport, one day you'll marry a beautiful little fool

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