“Here is New York…”
“New York should have destroyed it’s self a long time ago, from panic or fire or rioting or failure from some vital pipeline in its circulatory system or some deep labyrinthine short-circuit.”
E.B. White. “Here is New York,” 1948
“Mass hysteria is a terrible force, yet New Yorkers seem to escape by the tiniest margin: They sit in stalled subways without claustrophobia, they extricate themselves from panic situations by some lucky wise crack, they meet confrontation and congestion with panic and grit – a sort of perpetual muddling through.”
You can never be as free and as connected or as trapped and as alone as you are in New York City. Sometimes the swing of the pendulum is all it takes to go from one extreme to the other. One minute you’re at a bar with an assortment of friends and perfect strangers cheering on your favorite team or whatever event available for celebration; the next outside your apartment wondering why no one is returning your calls. Many save up for forever and a day to finally leave the confines of their rural hometowns or overbearing parents to come to a city they can’t afford to leave… Those that can afford to brave the B.Q.E., the Cross Bronx Expressway or whatever train, plane, or automobile to reach whatever distant local with this exasperation and a need to escape, only to long for the return trip home. New York is a jail. And we are the repeat offenders.
You can tell whose been here by the writings on the wall. Like prisoner scratching their names into the paint chipped walls of Central Bookings with our keys or loose change. We leave our mark for the next generation of prisoners, a manual you can say for the continuing survival of our species. One might describe the current amount of ink, paint, and wheatpasting covering our walls as a pestilence on concrete. A virus that sure to infect our eyes and poison our taste and sensibilities. Art gallerys around the world exploit it. Photojournalists continue to write books about it. We continue to do it, our only immediate profit being the rush of “getting up”, recognition by our audience, beef if we go over someone, and jail if we get caught.
We are born into or move to this jail, with or without the complimentary bracelets given to us by our local police. Confined to our sense of design and need to express. Our bars are our skyscrapers, our judges are our peers, and our passions is our warden…
Welcome to hell. Don’t forget to call back home once in a while.
(Top photo by King Texas http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingtexas/)