“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel.”― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
In an episode of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw once said that “New York city is a great place to be engaged, and it’s an even better place to be enraged.” As I pound down Lexington Avenue, an epiphany of her words hits me. My grumpiness is both accelerated and treated by simply walking through the swarms of the street.
Let me paint the picture for you. It’s 9:20AM and I have just woken up for my 9:45AM class. I grimace in self loathing as this realisation hits me and the fact that I am going to have to rush- I live twenty blocks away from Uni (firstly I do toy with the fantasy of missing it, yet attendance at American universities is usually a predominant factor of your grade – FML).
Within ten minutes I am dressed, packed and almost resembling a decent human being- it appears my ninja skills in getting ready are safely in tact from Tuesday morning early starts after a messy Monday’s Calling-are there any other kind?
The Upper East side boasts an elderly population, particularly doddery wasps who grace the street with their presence on a morning stroll. My mission in the mornings is to weave myself so eloquently through their remarking chitter-chatter, without yielding into the temptation to pick them up and move them to the side (coincidentally I have a similar urge with the walkers who are puppeteering a kennel of dogs and I have to suppress my leg from kung-fuing them into the air).
The daily struggle/quest to arrive at my class at a suitable time and overcoming the Manhattan obstacles, leaves me exhilarated and in a focused mind ready for class. But putting all this exertion of hatred aside, there is another reason why it’s okay to be ‘enraged’ in NYC.
After a pretty mediocre class, where a lack of absorption of knowledge leaves me both baffled and disgruntled, I decide to ride the subway to the bottom of Manhattan and walk the Brooklyn Bridge, in the hope of it being the closest thing to ‘fresh air’ within the city.
Once arising from the roasting underground, I walk past the city hall and towards the direction of the bridge.There are a lot of people walking in the same direction at the ridiculously frustrating place of being too slow, yet not slow enough that I can comfortably overtake. I start to worry that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea and that my rage will only increase at this touristic location.
I persist still. I walk the wooden planks and after I reach about half way I turn around. And that’s where my second epiphany hits me. All the ridiculous overlong administration. All the costs. All the interviews, the phone calls, the nights I stayed up worrying that I would be in New York and homeless. All the times I cried about not seeing my dad for four months. All of that was worth it for the view that is in front of me. My grumpiness dissolves as my eyes capture Manhattan glisten under the sunset. That is why people stick it out in Manhattan. Yes, it’s overcrowded, it’s overpriced and overcapitalised. But it’s Manhattan. If I am going to be disgruntled, grumpy and enraged, there is no where else I would rather be.