Today by myself on the subway, four guys got on the train, one shouting at everyone, introducing us all to "the great Ben E. King." My first thought was, "Oh great, I'm closest to these guys who are just going to be asking for money or ranting about something." One day last week, a guy was loudly asking for money and I encountered another very large man walking 14th St ranting about Islam.
My fears quickly dissipated as these four men, the New York Transit System's Four Tops, began a beautiful rendition of "Stand by Me." I mean, really gorgeous harmonies and emotion. Like any New Yorker though, I wouldn't look at them directly. I did all I could to avoid eye contact. Everyone else on the train was doing the same thing. The men passed me by and an Asian tourist dropped some change into their cup. I smiled.
These kinds of things are what I'd always heard about: the energy of New York. This mishmash of people, all generally getting along (as far as I've seen), bumping up against each other, helping each other out, but avoiding eye contact as much as possible. As an introvert and curious observer of humanity, I can dig it.
(my "New York Moments" are officially getting all out of order, and I'm still finding that I post a couple in one day, skipping other days. Oh well. It is what it is. My excuse is that I have a sick husband and rambunctious 2-year-old living with me)