In New York, specifically Manhattan we live in extremely close quarters to one another. The sidewalks are clogged and often hard to maneuver. Getting around town is notoriously difficult with heavy traffic and unreliable public transportation that literally puts you in the face of your fellow riders. But despite the discomforts, inconvenience and the unease of the times, I still bear witness to random acts of kindness everyday in my city.
These are the little things that never make it to the news but happen everyday, like the tall black teen with dreadlocks offering his arm for support to a tiny, elderly white woman. When I encountered them the woman was happily chatting away while the teen politely listened. A group of his friends trailed a short distance behind and snickered as he escorted her down the street, though he didn’t seem to care. It was such a charming scene I wanted to take a picture but I felt it would be too intrusive and might break the spell.
In my neighborhood there’s an older gentleman who hits tennis balls against the handball wall in the park across the street early every morning. His swing is sheer poetry and it’s said he was a professional tennis player. My daughter passes him on her way to the bus for school each morning, they always exchange hellos and he’s offered her lessons anytime
Walking through the park today I passed a saxophonist putting on a private concert for a toddler who was fascinated by the music.
Outside of Bergdorf Goodman I encountered police happy to share a little laugh with me about the irony of a heavy police presence among the newly minted Christmas Windows.
These small encounters among strangers, these acts of kindness and civility are what make me love this city, and this was just today.