A Homage: New York City


Francesca Fierro

     My mother has long championed the idea of giving your children experiences and not things. Every Christmas a modest collection of gifts would sit underneath our tree- new socks, an interesting flavor of gum, a pack of film for my Polaroid.  But the real treat was the slip of paper tucked inside my stocking: a Broadway ticket. I have seen fourteen Broadway shows in my life. Three are from field trips with school, but the other eleven are from Christmas. We have tackled everything from The Little Mermaid to Something Rotten to Dear Evan Hansen, and my collection of Playbills threaten to spill out of my dresser.  I have cherished the euphoria when the star finally emerges, sweaty and makeup free, from the stage door as I frantically wave a Sharpie. I love the rush of anticipation when the house lights dim and the saxophone lets out its first wail from the pit below. I am only too familiar with the six dollar water, the thirteen dollar popcorn, and the forty dollar t-shirts in the lobby.

Broadway, the endless museums, and the foodie nirvana it contains all add to New York’s charm. But what makes New York City the  crème de la crème are the people. As they stream like water down the streets, you can’t help but wonder about the multitudes within them.  You can only guess at what they have been through, who they used to be, where they are now, and what plans they hold that will change the world.

What were they like as a child? How would they define a utopia? What is something about them that you would not have ever guessed? What is something about them that you could tell from a mile away? What have the seen that they cannot forget? What kind of parents did they have? When was the last time they cried?

I find that in a city as cosmopolitan as New York, you are constantly surrounded by the greatest collection of average people. New Yorkers alone are not inherently interesting, or bizarre, or extraordinary, but when they are together on one island, that’s when the magic happens. It gives us access to the millions of stories that float around everyday from every time period and background.  Those columns you’re standing under now is where someone once got dumped; that guy you just bought a hot dog from just became the first in his family to graduate college.

People from opposite ends of the world sit down at the same orange subway seat and gaze at the same graffiti-ed tunnels. Future Presidents and Nobel Peace Prize winners walk on the same gum-encrusted sidewalk as the scrappiest street urchins. So next time you’re in the city, compliment that lady’s earrings. Or strike up a conversation with your cabbie. Inhale that ubiquitous shish-kabob-exhaust-laundromat smell and consider yourself lucky that you’re alive in the greatest city in the world.