New York City: A Microcosm of Human Excellence

June 1st 2018:

Today, I visited New York City Again. It surprises me how every single time I go to this wonderful city, I see much more and notice much more. Today, I paid special attention to the buildings. The steel, glass, and concrete giants looming over us, reminding us of our insignificance but also of our immense power.

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New York City is very concentrated. Every square inch pulses with life and energy. Located on a small island in the Hudson River, it can only expand upwards to accommodate the swelling demand that comes hand in hand with fame, as well as the multitudes of tourists, corporations, businesses, and materialistic necessities that come with such a grand reputation. But the only way this city can prevent itself from bursting at the seams is to grow upwards. Higher, stronger, and more powerful. Threatening the Heavens. But when will this growth collapse on itself? When will it run out of space to grow?

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New York City represents the immense power humans have over this planet. Not only are the buildings a technological feat in their own right, but this microcosm, perfectly tailored by our perfected machinery, erased all the natural features of the part of the planet it was built on. The land had to be evened out, the trees cut down, animals cleared out in order to put on this display of human excellence. We’ve engineered a small plot of land into an enormous machine, a giant, built by the dreams of human hope. Would we be able to control this monster that we have built? Does our dependency and pride in this city make us vulnerable? If the machine breaks, and the contents are released, what would happen to those so used to the functions, oscillations, and movements of the city? The city exists in it’s own little sphere of reality. If it pops, if the comforts of the machine are eliminated and the small sliver of this forced utopia finally vanished, what comfort would we have?

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Despite the threat, it is hard not to marvel at the pure ingenuity of New York City. The trill, the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. The adrenaline of experiencing so many simultaneous events happening everywhere around you. The smells, the crowds, the sights of human progress and dreams; it is too difficult to resist. I am victim to the sweet promises and this city, which is why I keep on coming. I keep on coming to experience the magic: close to crumbling at the seams, but thriving nonetheless.

-Kat

20 thoughts on “New York City: A Microcosm of Human Excellence

  1. “The adrenaline of experiencing so many simultaneous events happening everywhere around you.” I could not have said it better! Thats how I felt both as a kid going to the city for a day of fun or as an adult going to college in the city! Beautifully written👍🏾

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    1. Thank you for reading. When there are so many things happening around you, they eventually blur into one exiting rush of adrenaline as our senses overwork to take all these new things in. When I walk around the city, I always try to take everything in, but I eventually found that impossible because there is just so much everywhere!

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    1. I know, right! I couldn’t help but be blow away by the beauty and power of the buildings. My photographs just don’t do them justice, you have to stand next to them to really feel their presence, which is what I tried to explain through my words here. Thanks for reading!

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    1. In New York, we have food carts on almost every block, so almost anywhere you go you’ll smell something. The best is when a cart is selling sweetened, roasted peanuts or funnel cake. The sweet, cozy bakery smells are so out of place for a huge city like this, but that NYC for you. 🙂

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  2. Me and my family used to live in New York before we moved to the south. We visited ny few weeks ago. I am amazed at the fact I love New York than when I was a child. Back in 4 th grade, I hate living in New York because of the crowd, lonely feeling, living in a small apartment. But there beauty behind all that. People from all over the world move to the city to find a job, build a family. Any corner of the city, we found so many people working at so many places. Everyone has a different style and personality. No one is going to judge you. There is so many people. They are just minding their own business. At first I thought people in New York do not smile. It’s probably because I was there for a visit and everywhere I look around, no one is smiling. Everyone is rushing somewhere. But who has time to smile in the midst of all that. I think if I move to the city in the future, it will make more resilient. It’s a beautiful city.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. I agree, when I was younger I was also intimidated by the city. There were just too many people, too much happening at the same time, and just too little space. But as I grew older, I learned to appreciate the phenomenon that in New York City. I am so fortunate to be living so close to it to experience the multitudes of opportunities this large city has to offer. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit, NYC is something special, isn’t it?

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      1. Thank you. NYC is indeed very special. Makes me want to go back so badly. It’s feels so different living in the south. The urban life totally has a different vibe.

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  3. I’ve never been to NYC and — although I certainly wouldn’t turn down an offer to visit — I haven’t a desire to spend much time there. However, I admire NYC greatly for so many things. It’s diversity, its sophistication, the beauty of its buildings, the richness of museums, etc.

    You have quite an interesting take on it, one that I haven’t quite seen before. Portraying it, as you do, as a huge machine strikes me as quite creative. Thanks for such an interesting post, Kat.

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    1. Thank you!

      I also wouldn’t really want to spend to much time there. I actually grew up in New York City, and it’s one thing to live there and another thing to observe it and then take a train ride home. That said, having the ability to observe the city from an outsider’s perspective lead me to conclude that NYC does function like a machine. Everything is so ordered, and everything seems to have a specific function and purpose. Way too organized for me!

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