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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Greetings from New York

Merry Christmas
I'm a little sad that it's Christmas. I've gotten attached to the jingles and I'll miss hearing them.

I'm off the LA to visit my parents today. We don't have much planned as usual, which isn't a bad thing. I'm sure I'll do some shopping and picture taking and walking on the beach. It will be a nice, long-delayed trip. Mark is going to Vermont with his car Clive and a couple buddies.

I walked around the West Village yesterday and it was empty. Then this morning, Mark had an errand in the city and drove in and back within 20 minutes. Zero traffic. He and Clive were alone on Second Avenue.

The city is spooky when there's no one in it. For all my kvetching about the crowds, the subway and the bad drivers, I don't like it so much when no one's here.

Will Smith felt the same way in 'I am Legend', at the end of the world. In one scene, he is near Grand Central. He is surrounded by tall buildings, their empty windows darkly empty. There is the distinct sense that he is not alone, and it is spooky.

He's not alone. New York is a character in the movie, as it is in so many films. However, this only works when within the flow of a narrative, when a reality is constructed, and you're making sense of it as an audience member.

In real life, New York isn't so much a character, it has character. The real characters are the shop owners, the hipster douchebags, the homeless, the wealthy, the tourists, the students, the artists, the professionals, the working class. The city only has as much life as the people it shelters.

Without the people, the place is just a bunch of buildings.

Here's a tribute to the season by The Pogues:

Photo by myself in the West Village.


Tammy said...

I hope you have a wonderful time visiting your parents! Merry Christmas my friend!

Noah J. Austin said...

I fell in love when I visited the city, and it wasn't just with the city, it was with the people living there also. New York wouldn't be New York without the characters that make it. Happy Holidays!

Kizz said...

In the summer I purposely stay in the city on holiday weekends just for that slightly empty feeling. It's partly eerie and partly glorious.