Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Every now and then a song speaks to us–and it speaks for us. It captures exactly what our hearts are feeling but are unable to say. It brings a tear to our eye, a smile to our face and a memory to our soul. It touches us, and we feel it with every ounce of our flesh that covers our body. And even though we know it wasn’t written for us, we know it doesn’t matter, that we can feel anything we want to feel when we hear it–as if it was written by our own hearts.
Every time I hear or listen to a song about New York City, my heart flutters. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t grow up here–or that I didn’t experience the trials and tribulations–the crime or the craziness–the soot or the sadness. All that matters is every time I hear a song about New York, I am reminded of the rush I feel each time I sit in Grand Central, or of the flood of excitement I have, each time I meet a new person, or of the disdain I have for the work day commutes (Ha), and, lastly, of course I am reminded of the passion and love I have for each nook and cranny in this city.
Each day that I was in Italy, I called New York City my home–and it’s no wonder–I have never felt more home than in the moments I have spent sitting in the subway trains; or in the moments that I have spent chatting over coffee at my favorite shop (Bourbon–14th street and 5th); or in the moments that I’ve spent on the Brooklyn Bridge; or in the seconds that I have spent in dodging tourists in Times Square. I have never felt more on top of the world than in the moments I stare out my 26th floor work window at the dazzling skyscrapers that reflect off of one one another in the night time glow. And I have never felt more relieved, relaxed, or comforted than in the moments I have spent with the friends that I have found, the talent that I have encountered, and the family that I have made here.
You know, they say if you let something go and it comes back–then you know it’s real love…well I left for a bit, three months…and I came back. In fact, it was nearly hours after I heard Empire State of Mind (II), by Alicia Keys, for the first time, that I made my decision to come home, months earlier than I had planned.
Like songs–I want this video to have captured what I feel each time I walk down an alley way–a street–or a set of subway stairs as well as what I feel each time I see or meet a stranger or watch a talented street performer. I wanted this video to play out like all the songs I hear that cause a tear to shed or a smile to cross my face each time I hear it, and think of this city. I wanted this video to speak what was on my heart while looking into the hearts of others–I wanted this video to dissect the anatomy of the dreamers that live in this city–that breathe this city–that love this city. Because really–if they can make it here–they can make it anywhere. I hope you enjoy:
Monday, June 20, 2011
Momma always said, "Never Talk to Strangers..." I say just don't take candy from men in white vans...
My mother always told me never to talk to strangers. That was pretty high up on the “don’t do list,” right along with, “don’t ride your bike to a pharmacy at 8:00 am without my permission.” Because—Yes I did that on multiple occasions, with my next door neighbors, until we got caught. We weren’t buying drugs…well…we weren’t buying illegal drugs—just enough caffeine and sugar to get us to the next sun rise.
When my mom found out that I had been sneaking off with the boys, I was punished for a length of time that felt like centuries. Thank god that punishment didn’t deter me from going against my mother’s rules for the rest of my life…because I’d never have many of the friendships or networks that I currently have now.
You see, I learned much too quickly that if you never talk to strangers, you’ll never make new friends—and that is especially true in what I consider to be my home now: New York City.
As I turn to my left, a man with a Bruins hat smiles as he watches people walk by. I ask if he is from Massachusetts. Of course he is. But I ask anyway. “I grew up there.” “Congratulations,” I say, “That Stanley Cup, it was a long time coming.” We continue talking for a few moments and then bask in the sunlight.
I turn to my right and a man’s Iron Man drawstring bag is exposed for passer-bys to see. I reach out and ask if he has ever ran one.
“3, actually,” he modestly says without breaking a stride in his facial expression.
We continue to speak for fifteen minutes—me in awe of his accomplishments—him attempting to convince me that a triathlon is definitely in my future. We laugh. We compliment one another’s accomplishments. We talk some more. And then we exchange business cards, and not before long…he is on his way.
Strangers are amazing people. They can teach you about life, about an event, or about yourself—and in a brief moment, they can become your friend.
A good friend of mine from college recently pointed out that I have this ability to get along with anyone, to reach out, to spark a conversation, to laugh, to make a joke, with just about anyone that I meet. It’s the exact reason why she never worries about bringing new friends of hers out to meet me. In fact, I’ve even begun spending time with her friends, while she’s away for the summer. Why? Because they’ve become my friends too. And that’s why I love people—and why I love talking to people, and why disobeying one of the world’s most golden rules, is the best decision I continue to make on a daily basis.
Because that’s what life is about—meeting people, connecting with people, forming friendships, forming relationships, creating bonds—imagining together—developing life-long dreams with.
I say: Talk to all the strangers in the world because you never know what he or she will do for you—or what he or she will become to you. Strangers really are just friends we haven’t met yet.
….But if you do happen to be under 15 and a stranger in a white van offers you candy, please, please, please…Just say no.