Thursday, March 26, 2009

One City. Many Villages.

_Cotilleos-gossip ., originally uploaded by amparogue.

I love the sense of community in the city. If this strikes you as odd, here are some examples from our visit to New York this winter:

Scene 1:

R and I are getting on the elevator in a friend's building with at least 200 tenants. We're heading up to their apartment. A woman we don't know is already in the elevator waiting for the doors to close.

R says to me: "What floor do they live on?"
Me: "Four. I think. Or maybe 5?"
R: "It's 4." (He pushes the button.)
Woman in elevator: "Who are you going to see?"
Me: "The Levy's"
Woman: "Ann and Henry? 4-I. So they're back from Florida?"
R: "No they're still down there."

Scene 2: Same building, several days later.

Mrs. so-and-so is moving out. R and a tenant in the building see moving men carrying furniture out of the elevator and into a truck. He tells R: "5-J is moving out. It's taking all day. Four rooms of furniture in 3 rooms."

The same day. A different neighbor tells Alex in the laundry room:
"Apt 5-J is moving out. You wouldn't believe all the furniture. Four rooms of furniture in 3 rooms."

Scene 3:

Alex and I take the Long Island Railroad from Great Neck to B & H Photo in Manhattan. Now remember. This train transports millions of passengers every day. We're in B & H for a few hours when a man comes up to us.

Man: "You were on the train, weren't you? I recognized you."
Me: (puzzled, searching my memory and coming up with a vague recollection) "Oh, yes, that's right. I remember now."
Man: "Funny, isn't it? We both end up here."
Me gesturing at the store: "Yes. This is a great place, isn't it?"
Man: Nods.
Me: "So where are we going next?"


Anonymous said...

I love it. Here in Glastonbury, CT I have had the same people pass me by for the last three years and never say a word. Then one day this older woman passes by and says "Hello." We start to chat and I recognize the familiar "NY accent" and then she says to me "Your so friendly, I don't understand what's wrong with these people around here, they just look at me and keep on walking." Thinking she is a new neighbor, I ask "Did you just move here?" She then says "No I have lived here for over 20 years." I think it sad.

P. A. Moed said...

How sad! And to think because they're so unfriendly, they're missing a great opportunity to get to know someone as lovely and caring as you!