Driving into New York via tunnel we ascended from the darkness to spy the old and new spires welded into something spectacular as the holiday heat launched us into hot hot hotness and we thought oh my how can we meander from west to east and north to south to survey all that makes up this vibrant sea of sweeping rainbow faces along the continuum that makes the 7.6 + billion on our planet all coursing from there to here? We were halted, remembering we are all on this same revolving Earth. As we hold children in cages. As we demand a wall. As we tear down freedom for those with none. As we argue between generations. As we forget love matters. Let’s hold that.
This city has miles of walls to touch… we found some lovely ones to cast our eyes upon and peer around while feeling the old stones and raw metal as if the whole of this place in under construction and being made new yet again. Traditional melded with contemporary along every avenue from cobble stone to skyline, the history and the present mingling ringing adapting as life must if it will survive another day, if we are to survive another decade, if we will keep this Earth. Can we hold that too?
Everywhere there is a message. Artists struggling, or not, calling us with graffiti and paint, with shape and form. We are desperate for their varied visions. All during our adventure we can’t walk more than a few feet before stopping to drink in color or words or impressions even our own as we glance into the glass and see the whole of the moment the front and back reflected for us. All alters and expands and augments who we might consider ourselves to be, allows so much more.
Grand doorways and grander archways grace our meandering stroll in staggering humidity while sirens and laughter and a single sax and people calling out to each other while planes helicopters tugboats trains yellow taxis zigzagged along the Hudson and sky and streets and the High Line. We hear language after language, all sorts of voices ringing together to raise our flag, to honor ours. Isn’t that something to remember?
Navigate we must to take in all we can for this city is rich in creativity and creation happening every age every predilection without fail you witness it all from the crumpled homeless lady in the doorway to the elegant one stepping aside. The girl in a sari painting her chalk masterpiece on the walkway, the other standing under the spray from the fountain. The tan and brown and pink and tall and short and hungry and satiated and fit and ill and poets and dreamers and those who hold on to a yesterday and those who still dream of more for their children. Here is America.
This small moment fleeting, only an instant, one that might even go unnoticed, in this one, we pause to remember it is today, here, with everyone who has arrived from somewhere else, on foot or on a boat, at some point in their family line, we must continue to embrace those new ones too
and then we dive into the ancient traditions propelling the new again those iconic symbols that brought man to his knees and sword brought these designers to stitch and bend gold fibers and fabrics with precious jewels and heavy metals and reverence and audacity. We drink this in too.
How can one take in all of this place the crumpling and rising like a phoenix making itself anew with each interaction a place where boats of immigrants arrived bringing trades and talents and their differences now here for us to taste and sip and struggle to understand as everything changes each second we encounter it? There is no return. There is no back door. There is only forward.
Before we close down entry to those who seek refuge or asylum let us remember who laid the tracks and raised the skyscrapers, who crafted our symphonies and our favorite novels, who sold us sneakers or chopped the salad, who want to be Americans because of those who paved these avenues a century ago and who live in our collective sense of justice and freedom. Those who still spray their message of hope under cover of dark. Those who still breach our border. Those who are willing to live in service for our comfort. Those people walking aside of us right now. Who may make our future a shinning possibility of health and prosperity. Let’s find this new world with them.
Gratitude to my companion, her camera ready; to this one, I give my heart… loving art in the city for days was never more fun,
Photo Cred: Mj at ArtCity Marketing