(Photo by Justin Bowman)
“The more you see the less you know
The less you find out as you go
I knew much more then than I do now”
-U2 City of Blinding Lights
All I can say is that I love New York! I never really traveled much growing up, but the one place that I always wanted to go was NYC. I used to dream that one day I would move away and live in the big apple because the more I saw and read of NY, the more I was intrigued and wooed by the singing sirens of the city.
I have now had my dreams fulfilled by visiting NY not once, but twice in the last year. I thought that visiting the city would satiate my craving once and for all, but I have found that the more I have seen, the more there is to see!
Bono sings about this very feeling in The City of Blinding Lights. I feel the same way, now that the more I’ve seen, the less I feel like I know about the city in all of its aspects. I have been overwhelmed by what I have seen and heard, for there is something so magical about the place. After two visits I have fallen even more in love with the beauty of the city.
My wife would say, “What’s beautiful about a place that has soo little grass?” and I think that many people would prefer to travel to see natural beauty, like the Grand Canyon, than the canyons of concrete, steel and glass. But there is something beautiful about it! Seeing the color reflected off of the faces of the people in times square at night, or watching friends and families play together in central park! We went one night to a rooftop restaurant and had a view of many buildings (Empire State, Met Life, and Chrysler Bldng.) from twenty stories up. The night was beautiful, and so was the view!
However, it is more than the architecture and flashiness that draws me to this city of blinding lights. It is also the people. The people captivate me, and I can literally sit there and people watch for hours on end. It amazes me how many people there are and how little interaction there is. You pass hundreds of people every day without a smile, a hello, or even a touch unless it is someone bumping into you on the sidewalk. Not only is this the city of blinding lights, but it is the city of ipods, solitude, and loneliness. How is it that one can be around soo many people, yet at the same time be so lonely?
Yet i realize that you can't blame the city for this! People everywhere are becoming more and more isolated. It is just so much easier to see in the city. Why do we do this? When we have a basic need for others, why do we barricade ourselves off from those things that we need most? hmmm...a topic for another day!
The city captivates me because people captivate me. I love people! I love getting to know people. I am addicted to trying to understand people, and psychology and biology can only explain so much about humanity. The more I see of people, the less I feel like I know. The more I learn the more I realize that I knew much more about people and about this wonderful city (at least I thought I did before I interacted with the city) than I do now! This city, just like people, remains a mystery to me. The more time I spend with each, the more I realize that there is a lot more to experience, observe, and understand. I can't wait to get the chance to do it again!
“oh you look so beautiful tonight,
In the city of blinding lights.”