Chances are you have recently heard the question, the debate, the declaration (however you want to frame it) : ‘New York City is dead.’ And chances are that anybody you have heard saying this, or seriously asking this, has either a) never been or b) shouldn’t go.
Because to that statement, or that inquiry, the city is answering. And the answer emanating from the incessant sounds of traffic, the babble of passerby, the rising and setting of the sun over a city that never sleeps is one Mark Twain made famous and 2013 Shane Battier made legendary:
‘Reports of my demise were... premature.’
We are human beings and we tell stories. And in example after scandalous example, we tend to build up heroes only to watch them come crashing back down to earth. And when they fall we ask, was that it? Could that be it?
And, well, anybody who thinks heroes have to be people either haven’t seen Wall-E or haven’t felt the pulsing magic that is New York City. The city is the hero we build up continuously. And then tear down and then build up anew. It’s the same cycle. And right now we’re asking the same questions: was that it? Could that be it? And yet we know the answer to this! We all saw Tiger win the Masters again. You don’t need me to tell you this. Look around. Listen up. The city doesn’t die. The city adapts. The city evolves. The city looks the god of death in the face and says, Not today.
Claims of NYC’s demise may be unfounded, reactionary, or right on the money -- all that is up for debate. But that debate isn’t happening at this lunch table, because THIS lunch table is mere inches from oncoming traffic and the wait staff here double as disinfectant while also wondering aloud if anybody cares to see a drink menu? This lunch table realizes that having five dining tables full of people occupying a space that used to be reserved for one parked car is just one example of upside amidst downturn.
The point is… thank you Jeff Goldblum... Life finds a way.
This is a city we are talking about. THE city. New York City. And as far as these eyes can see, and as far as these ears can hear, this is still a living, breathing, humming, honking metropolis. Because if this isn’t than what is? Where is?
The show, as they say, goes on. And despite it all, so too do we. And so too do the shopkeepers and the bartenders and the Broadway performers. So too do the teachers and the subway operators and the construction cranes and the Central Park horse carriages. So too do the liquor stores and the record stores and the taxi cabs and the streetside peddlers; the hot dog stands and the coffee shops and the pizza shops and the traffic lights. So too do the curbed dogs, the doormen, the delivery drivers, the artists, the EMTs, the destitute and everybody in between. So too does the mass of unmentioned. So too does this hulking mass of metal we call Manhattan. Because what is a city if not the collective conglomeration of you, me, us, it, them, everybody, everything?
Everywhere, all around us, it goes on because we go on, and we go on because it goes on. This is the cycle. Fewer in number? Maybe. Together? Also maybe. But this entire mighty mass of mankind only travels in one direction and that direction is forward. Onward.
So strap in. And because this is a belt blog, buckle up.
And for those of you still here, remember that there’s nothing quite like seeing Hell to make you realize you’ve actually been in Heaven.