I live in New York City. Day by day taking the subway to work and home, each way takes an hour. I spent so much time on the train. The train I often take runs above ground majority of the time, which is rare for New York subways. The train runs on an elevated platform. From there, when it passes by certain areas, you can see New York City for all of its glamor. From the Chrysler Building to Empire State, they stood there proudly and significant. I know many people who would kill to get to live here and see this view everyday. But me, I live here. The magic fades away a little bit everyday. A tall building is just a tall building, and Times Square is just a really busy area that you try to avoid going by.
I take the train in the morning. I’m too tired to pay attention to anything. I often just fall asleep on the trains, snoozing my mind away. Then when I’m back from work, I’m already too tired to look. I’m just sitting there counting the stops in my head. If you live in a city, you’d know. Everything is glamorous but nothing is exciting anymore. And every time I got on a train, I’m tired, and sometimes I feel guilty about it. I could have read more on the train. I could have write on my phone. I could look at the windows and appreciate the views. But I’m just tired.
But some good days, I looked at the windows. Sometimes, when passing by a good view, the right music was playing in my headphones. It flooded me the feeling of appreciation. I understood how people loved those buildings. The top of the Chrysler building lighted up in the night. Some day, you just can’t help but feel the romance of life.
I knew a guy who was pure chaos. Not in the sense that his life was a mess, but in a sense that he lived it chaotically. He was basically a scattered head. Everything had a system, but also not really. The guy was Don.
Don smoked weed almost every night and drank on the nights he didn’t smoke. He was a 59 years old man, not a college kid. But he enjoyed life the exact way he would do as if he was a kid. There was nothing wrong with that. When you were happy and energetic all the time, then you could do whatever you wanted.
I worked with Don doing safety inspections for New York City housing projects. He told me he was from a project himself and his family still lived in one. He was the only one that got out. But it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
When he was a kid, he was embarrassed because he had to live in the projects. He had to live in a small apartment in one of those red bricks buildings that was signature to the housing projects. From miles away, people could tell that your building was a project building. And that meant they could tell you were poor. Your family was poor.
His mother left South Carolina alone, bringing five kids with her because it was “fucking racist down there”. She was working all types of jobs in New York City feeding 5 kids at home. They never had enough of anything. Don had one pair of shoes for forever. He wore it till it was torn all over and still had to wear it. He was fed up with that, of not having enough, of not having anything decent in his life. So he stole.
He stole only a new pair of shoes at first, cause that was all he needed. But after he stole a pair of shoes and nothing bad happened, he realized that shit was easy. He could do more of this. He could have more and his friends wouldn’t laugh at him for not having anything anymore. So he kept stealing left and right. A little bit at first then a bit more then a bit more. He got greedy and went for bigger scores. And greed was everyone’s downfall. He got caught stealing and was arrested. When he went to jail, his mother was crying. She cried so much that all he remembered from that moment in court was his mother crying her eyes out on the bench.
Don sipped on his shot of tequila while telling me that I was too young to understand, but remembered, always be careful what you wished for. He left the project housing for the first time since he was five. And he went to jail.
One of my favourite songs was “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s. Not long ago, I saw people singing “replies” to the song from Delilah’s perspective and I thought that was an amazing idea. So here’s a little spin on that.
Hey there, it’s Delilah.
I’m doing fine here. New York City is ok, just crowded and busy. I would prefer you here with me though, that will make New York City much better. But you are a thousand miles away. I dressed up so cute yesterday, going to Times Square. It’s near Christmas. Times Square was sparkling with all these pretty lights. The whole place looked so pretty during this time of the year. I wished you could be here to see it with me. How is Minnesota? Probably still freezing during the winter right? That, I don’t miss. Though, I stood around on the streets for quite a while yesterday, so I was freezing still. Probably should have worn a longer skirt.
Are you writing anything new this week? I love the last song you wrote for me. I still played it almost every night. You are right. Every time I listen to the song with my eyes closed, I felt like you were here with me, singing it to me with your guitar like you used to do back in Minnesota. That kept me warm, but missing you even more.
Baby, I know times are hard for you, with the Anchor bar dropping your band. But it will get better. One door closes means another one will open. Don’t give up. I believe in you. Things will get better. All the songs you wrote for me were always heartfelt and amazing. You have such talent. You’ll be making history with your music. Don’t ever give up.
My friends here think I am crazy, being in love with a guy in Minnesota while I’m in New York City. They say there are so many guys here and I can have anyone I want. But they don’t know what we have. They don’t know how hard it is to find someone that is worth holding on to. And you are that to me. In two more years, I’ll be done with school and we will be together. Being it is New York or Minnesota, we’ll be together. I’ll fly to you, take a train, or hell I’ll even walk if I have to. But in two years, we’ll be together, and for real this time. Wait for me.
So focus on what you need to do, write more songs, play even better music and don’t worry about me. I’ll be good. Just remember to write to me often. I’m lonely without you and your words keep me going.
Do you like pigeons? Have you ever wanted a scene like in the movie in which you run toward a bunch of pigeons and they all beautifully fly away? Do you like the symbol of peace? If you do, then you should take a trip to New York City. (Venice is also an acceptable choice, but that’s international flying – pun intended.)
There are a few animals we can see in the wilderness of urban cities: dogs, cats, squirrels etc…but they are all owned by some other people or they would possibly bite you (despite how cute they are). You have to ask for permission to pet them. The only safe-to-approach animals that you are free to come close in a city is pigeons. Also, you can only approach them if you are around walking, not driving and not riding. And no city in the US would force you to walk around as much as New York City.
We have pigeons in every park of this city, from Central Park in Manhattan to a small little community park in Queens. For some reasons, pigeons love New York City. Many of them would stay in New York City even in the winter. They are still around as long as you are. To quote Danny Castellano from the Mindy Project: “I like pigeons. They are free to leave but they choose to stay here in New York all winter long. Unlike those other coward birds.”
Not all pigeons are the same. Genetically speaking, pigeons in different places have different genetic makeups. They may look similar enough to each other that they are recognizably pigeons but on a genomic level, they are not the same. For example, though not too far apart, NYC and Boston’s pigeons do not share the same genetic makeup *. Pigeons are homebodies. They tend to stay within a hundreds feet of where they were born. Just because they can fly, doesn’t mean they would fly far away from home. That’s why NYC pigeons are signature to the geographic limits of NYC and the Virginia and Connecticut region.
According to no scientifically accurate source, NYC pigeons are most often unfraid of people and chubby. About the chubby part, it’s hard to avoid when they live in a city that is famous for their pizzas. I can say with an almost guarantee that if they are street animals in New York City, they have tasted pizzas. For some strange reasons, people threw away their pizzas on the street and into the subway quite a bit in NYC. Pigeons and rats are not particularly picky animals. They eat what they can find.
About the part of them not being afraid humans, they are truly not. Do you know how in movies, when you casually walk towards a bunch of pigeons, they would panickingly fly away? Yeah, not in New York City. As long as you don’t dash towards them like a crazy person, they will casually walk next to you and won’t even bother avoiding you. If you don’t want to step on a pigeon, you have to avoid them. They are the kings of the parks. Just like New Yorkers, NYC pigeons just don’t give a damn.
Things go both ways here. Pigeons are not afraid of people and some New Yorkers love pigeons (the rest are just not bothered by them). There are quite a few pigeons whisperers in NYC. It doesn’t have to be one of those “famous” people that you heard about through the internet but when you visit the city, you would never see them. The whisperers are actually everywhere, especially during summer. You just need to go to a big park and you would see them casually sitting on benches and surrounded by a bunch of pigeons.
One of the most famous pigeon lovers of the city is the NYC pigeon lady. If you want to find a true advocate for pigeons, she is the one.
That was a lot of reasons for you to like NYC pigeons. So, how about a trip to New York City to see our chubby pigeons eat pizzas?