Pounding the frenetic pace of New York City


Since I came to New York, a little over three months ago, I did my best to get to know the city, and fast. My mission? To familiarize myself with how to go up, down and around. In between the stuff I needed to do, and after doing whatever it is that I needed to do, I found myself wandering through the corridors of the city.

Uptown, midtown and downtown, I would walk and walk and walk, and then walk some more. I’ve learned early on that New Yorkers seem to love walking, and it’s not just walking short distances. Most would walk, as a matter of fact, for several blocks and at a very fast pace. I told myself that, wow, this is a great form of exercise! And I got a lot of it. (Something that my mother would be very happy about!)

And surely enough, I fell into the habit of walking. Short distances, long distances. At first slow, but then eventually, I got swept into the rhythm of New York City. That fast, frenetic pace where everyone is coming and going from all sorts of directions. I find the idea of so many people coming and going a bit odd. It’s not like that in the rest of the world, at least, not from anywhere I came from. (In the US, I’ve been to Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, and other places.)

One time, curious as to what’s really going on, and why most New Yorkers seems to be in a hurry, I decided to stop, literally stop, and just look around. Only my head was in motion, moving left to right and right to left, looking left, right and all the way back again and around. It’s amazing to see this almost non-stop human traffic, this unending movement of people.

Watching the velocity for quite some time can either induce a headache or a Zen-like state. Depending on your predisposition, that’s what you’ll get. In any case, it’s amazing and remarkable. It’s actually wonder to see, for just fleeting moments, how everybody goes about their business with mostly grim determination etched on their faces, as if, they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. I have a feeling I won’t see them again at all in my lifetime.

There are so many people in New York, and the diversity is amazing, but all the moments of disconnected encounters that happen all the time, when you bump shoulder to shoulder with each and everyone, creates a friction and spark of excitement, that in turn, results to the vibrant hustle and bustle of New York’s almost unique city life.

It’s part of the experience of being in New York, the melting pot of the world, where tourists, travelers and vacationers meet native New Yorkers, and immigrant workers from all over the world. And with almost incredible homogenity, the fun part is that there’s no telling who’s who. You can take a guess, but, be prepared to be wrong.

There are many surprising twists and turns to the people living, working and visiting in New York that stereotypes and whatever preconceived notions you may have are almost useless. Each is as individual and as unique as can be. Even the seemingly impatient way they walk the streets.

And so, this never-ending streaming of the masses, aided by the swift efficiency of the multi-stop transport system, from buses and subways to ferries and trains, creates a kind of velocity that runs the engine of the city. It is energetic, frenetic, and plainly, almost crazy. You cannot help but be swept by it. It is unlike any other city, there is no other city like New York.

About this entry