Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

All The City's a living room

In a city so cosmopolitan, diverse and densely populated, where space is at a premium and people pay through the nose for every square foot of space... I've noticed that the people in New York City just seem to have a way of claiming The City- any ol' sidewalk, piece of grass or public space- as their living room.

I've seen women stylishly dressed and in their strappy heels, making themselves completely at home- at the end of a night of partying- plopping themselves right down on the curb of a sidewalk outside of nightclub- chatting on their cellphone or chowing down a dog.

Today there was a man who sat on the metal tree pit guard of a tree in front of my building for a few hours- he was there when I went out to run some errands and was still there in the same spot when I returned.

One afternoon, as I was riding a bus across 14th Street, and we stopped at a light, I looked out at the sidewalk and saw a lazy boy sofa chair that someone had presumably put out on the sidewalk to be taken away with the trash. As I looked more closely at the chair, which was turned away from the curb, I saw two legs hanging off the end and realized that a man was actually reclining in the chair. There he was making himself comfortable right on the sidewalk, and then he started removing his shoes and socks!

Of course New York's ultimate summer outdoor living rooms are its parks. Central Park's Great Lawn is host to the free summer outdoor Metropolitan Opera Concerts, and Bryant Park is host to free outdoor weekly summer movies. On these nights, New Yorkers converge on the greens and under the stars, they spread out their blankets- the truly prepared veterans come armed with a balloon or flag to mark their group's "reserved" space in a sea of bodies and blankets- and of course there's plenty of food and drink, which are all consumed by the candlelight of a citronella candle.

Even without these sponsored events, in the summer you'll find tons people lounging in the various park spaces of New York City.

There's nothing quite like it- I don't think I've ever seen anything like this in any of the other major cities that I've lived in or visited.

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