Walking in Gotham

A long time ago, an undergraduate at the University of Oregon was hanging out in the library newspaper section, thinking about where he wanted to go to grad school.  Eugene, Oregon had been a great town to be a college student in (in a one bedroom apartments for around $125 a month), but it was time for a change.  Maybe for grad school, a city might be a nice change, maybe on the other coast.  Heck, maybe a big city.

So I sat there with the Village Voice, looking at studio apartment ads in the city.  If I recall right, they started around $600 a month (many odd years ago).  Might as well aim high– I’d go to Columbia University, and live in Manhattan.

It didn’t work out, but I did end up in Philadelphia for two years, in a west side apartment, and learned about post modernism and living in a big city.

This week I’ve spent more time in New York than ever before, mostly walking.  As I pass through the different neighborhoods, and see the sights, I’m regaining a better view of what it would be like to live here.  Just a few minutes ago, I walked through Central Park and watched a game of softball for awhile in the twilight, and passed over a bridge where musicians were on a path below, one singing and playing an accordion, and the other playing a horn.  I believe they were performing a light opera, just for fun, in the park.

I’m staying in the theatre district, which has massive crowds of high school groups passing by every 10 minutes to another Broadway show (Mama Mia, Jersey Boys, Phantom, Adams Family, etc.).  Beyond them, however, I can see the people who make a home here, in a vertical city, in brownstone buildings.  I can see a type of contentment, a sense of culture, a striving American type of lifestyle.

Yeah, this could be a place to live and be happy.  It’s probably too late for me, but my kids may live and work here some day.  Columbia will still probably be admitting students in a few years.

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