The life of New York City streets is unique, both above and below ground.
Not to say that life is always fun or pleasant. I think of those who stop atop subway stairs to check their phones, or walk three across on the sidewalk, or don't know enough to step to the right.
Always, always step to the right.
But the life of NYC streets is vibrant. And it is ours. For now. So let's cultivate that life. Like a garden. Get our heads out of our phones and pull those earbuds out. Notice what's going on around us. Take even a few seconds to be present and let it soak in.
I write this to remind myself. A while back - in my rush to get from here to there - I blew past the Afrikumba Utibé Drummers performing in Union Square Station. Then I had an internal fight about practicing what I preach. I returned. And for a few minutes, I focused on the cool music mixed with the hubbub of the subway and of humans racing to get from here to there. I attended to the life of street I was on. I relaxed. I remembered who I am.
I am part of the City. And the City is part of me. Not simply a backdrop, the City is both the material and the context out of which my life is made. I count myself blessed.
This is what I know: I will never reach the life I'm rushing toward if I can't acknowledge the life I'm presently in. Time to chill.
Enjoy below the Afrikumba Utibé Drummers and a bit of what I witnessed by taking a time-out. And the next time you're thanking the MTA for the train that never comes? Look up at the life around you.
E. B. Gallardo