When people ask me why I like living in New York, I say things like “Because of the people” or “Because everything is available here.” Which is true but not complete. The real reason is hard to put into words.
Today we went skating at the winter rink in Bryant Park, just behind the main branch of the NYC Public Library and in the shadow of the Empire State Building, and at one point I looked around and thought “I wish everyone I know could be here right now.” Not just because of the famous buildings framing the rink, but the atmosphere and the people in & around the rink as well. They included a Jewish man dressed in business attire, minus his blazer with shirtsleeves rolled up and wearing a yarmulke, flying around the rink on hockey skates; two young black men in fleece and do-rags who were so fast and agile while skating backwards that it was dizzying; a sizeable group of homeschoolers playing tag on skates; one figure skater practicing in the middle of the rink, her area protected by blue cones on the ice, and the inevitable newbies stumbling and crashing around.
Outside the rink near the coffee kiosk a guy showed up with juggling props, and over the course of about an hour he seemed to be joined by random people who knew how to juggle. At one point he and a guy in a business suit had 6 batons going back and forth between them in the air.
Through it all, Frank Sinatra’s voice serenaded us over the sound-system.
Then, using my phone I took a photo of Ben on the ice and posted it and seconds later received a message from a friend, saying he was interviewing in a nearby building and had a birds’ eye view of the rink – alas, we were too far away for him to recognize us.
When our legs and ankles had had enough, we turned in our skates, said good-bye to our friends and walked out, passing the jugglers, some guys playing chess and the Lowell Fountain near the western entrance of the park.
And that’s why we love living in New York.