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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Two sides to a city


Anyone who follows the blog knows I love New York City. Of all the visits I have made...each has it's own stories and great memories. One stands out to me because it is the only negative experience I have had in Gotham....actually two...in one 24 hour period.

I was just across the Hudson for a business meeting so on a free day a friend and I went into the city. By mid afternoon, we were ready to claim a table, talk and watch the city roll by before us. We spent the afternoon watching the human diversity of the urban scene play out as we sat safely behind the railing of an outdoor cafe. With the beers and conversation the time passed and before we knew it...night set in. The SOHO/Greenwich Village scene is rich with my generation's music history and pop culture. I have always visited the area on each visit...but always in the daylight.

Once night fell...the passers-by morphed from remnants of the 60's and 70's culture to present day inhabitants of the streets. These two naive Mid-Westerners were caught in an atmosphere of rival gangs strutting past with their pit bulls, chain belts and testosterone overloads. The street scene had changed very quickly. For the first time in the city...I felt very uneasy with my surroundings...a situation that I didn't have the tools to deal with. The sight of yellow was never more welcomed...a cab stopped outside the cafe and without thinking we jumped the rail and took sanctuary in the cab. We had escaped what could have been a dicey situation.

Heading out of the SOHO area at a stop light a youth walked up to our Indian driver and motioned for him to roll down the window...with the window down, he began to ask directions...once our driver was sufficiently distracted the youth jammed his arm in the window and grabbed a roll of bills out of the drivers shirt and ran off into the night. The driver said that had happened to him before...his wages for the night gone in an instant.

After making it safely back to the hotel, I realized I had learned a lesson about the city or any large city for that matter...always be aware of your surroundings...they can change in an instant.

Dan

16 comments:

The Muse said...

A sad COMMENTARY on today's world...
I suppose this has always been...but of late it seems worse. Perhaps I am getting old...

No matter, you do indeed state the truth...things can vanish so quickly..

May today be a blessing for you and your family, on this Glorious day:)
The Muse

Dan Felstead said...

Muse...I still have that love for New York City...just now a bit wiser from the experience!

Dan

SOL said...

Great photo. Your story shows how NYC really represents the extremes of humanity. It is an intense city!

Dan Felstead said...

SOL...thank you for stopping by and welcome aboard! I noticed you are from New Jersey so no doubt you have visited New York City. It is truly "intense" as you say!

Dan

jblack designs said...

Stunning photo, Dan.

Sunny said...

Sadly I don't think this applies just to large cities. I have noticed a dark side evolve in some fairly small ones too.
Your picture really captures the nitty gritty of the Big Apple, it's a great photo.
Sunny :)

amatamari© said...

Magnificent!

Dan Felstead said...

Thanks Jennifer...I love those walks down the city streets.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Sunny...I have to agree...the gangs are found just about anywhere anymore.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Amatamari...Thanks for visiting the blog and I appreciate the comment. Stop back by anytime!

Dan

septembermom said...

NYC can be a city of extremes. There are highs and lows, but what an amazing place to explore and visit. Great photo!!

Suicide Barbie said...

What a gorgeous image - it fills me with a great desire to to see NYC.

Unfortunately the dark side of human nature is ever present, but beauty is also ever present and thus there is balance.

shabby girl said...

A wonderful photograph Dan!
How often we've walked the streets of San Francisco, too, naively unaware of possibly bad situations. Only once at dusk did we realize we needed to get out of that area. We, too, were wiser after that.

Dan Felstead said...

Thanks Septembermom...you know it better than any of us!

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

S Barbie True words spoken! Huge contrasts in New York City or any city for that matter.

Dan

Dan Felstead said...

Shabby girl...thankfully for the both of us...it was lessons learned without any major trouble.

Dan