Mention that you live in New York City to anyone who doesn’t live here, and they’ll likely believe that you live in a city of cold, unfriendly strangers. Sometimes, yes, people are rude, mean, and every New Yorker’s favorite nuts, and we treasure our anonymity. However, we live in small unique communities that are part of this great city.
I’m lucky enough to live in Queens, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the world. How cool is that? Here I have the fortune of coming into contact with people from all over the world. On a daily basis I encounter various languages, cultures, and cuisines. They’re people from all walks of life who are pretty amazing with a lot to share, even if it’s just a smile or a hello.
When I walk the two blocks from the subway to my apartment, it’s a rare occasion that I don’t run into someone who says hello and stops to talk–neighbors, friends from college, business owners and their employees, and people I see on my commute.
Practically everyone I encounter is from a different culture with a different point of view, a way of seeing the world. A conversation with them about the simplest thing can have me saying “Hmm…I never thought of it that way.” We don’t always agree, but that’s okay. The world is more fun because of varied perspectives. And delicious–the food here is outrageously good.
For all of our peculiarities, here we are living in the same neighborhood. We take the same subway, work, live in the same buildings, care about our families and friends, etc. We share similarities and differences, but that’s exactly what makes these encounters so interesting.
Finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.
― Bell Hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
I just wanted to state it for the record: NYC equals New York City, and it also equals New York Communities. For those of you who live outside of New York City, it ain’t all bad, and those of you who do, I’m telling you what you already know–we live in a great city.
I truly appreciate my unique fellow Queens residents: the people at my grocery store who let me practice Spanish, the Irish guy at the pub who shook my hand the other night and introduced himself (he gave me a shot of bourbon so he might be my favorite), my friends (Korean, German, and Latina) at Starbucks who make my iced double tall nonfat latte before I’ve finished ordering it, and my neighbors who allow me to stutter in French with them occasionally.
You make our little neighborhood a rich community, and you make my little life interesting.