A reader writes:
From the time I was a child, I was labeled "weird" by classmates. I often wore that title with pride, considering it to mean "creative, off the wall, unique and downright interesting." I did a long stint in the Midwest and tried to meld into the Evangelical world, but I was often told that I didn't really fit their scene. "Where are you from?" I would get frequently. As a military brat, I'd learned to say, "Everywhere and nowhere."
I'd always dreaded the idea of NYC, avoiding that city like it was Hell, picturing the horrors spoken of by Jagger in "Shattered." Last month, my father wanted me to accompany him to his West Point reunion and my daughter now attends school in the city, so I could no longer avoid the awful, big mean Babylon. She gave me a whirlwind tour. (She attends The King's College, so the Midwest evangelical influence had some effect.)
I was enamored with every aspect of NYC and knew instantly why it is such a loved place. I could live there easily, and sing my weird songs and be my offbeat self and no one would think I was weird at all. Maybe someday it'll be my home.
I was born in what we fondly refer to in my family as The Big Wicked and lived there for ten years in my 20s and early 30s (mostly in the East Village, for what it’s worth). This video made me cry, reminding me of everything I love, love, love about NYC, and what makes it an extraordinary place. I know something like this could happen anywhere, but during my life in New York it happened all the time - all the time! People grooving on other people’s cultures, taking care of each other, interacting, generally up in one another’s faces in a positive way. The casualness of the way these two guys just start making music, looking right at each other; that feels like the city to me.
I saw a lot of ugly stuff in New York, but what always makes me love the city is the moments like the ones in this video. Man, I miss New York. Thank you for making my day.