20 April 2014

Travel tales: people watching in New York City


I've been catching public transport here in NYC. It's really cheap, safe and relatively quick and reliable (though the trains I catch aren't running this weeknd!).

There are beggars on every train trip - while I wouldn't usually do this, I've been saving my coins to give to them. It's so cold here and I do hope they can use it to buy a warm drink inside somewhere warm. There are also disabled war veterans - carrying their veteran cards asking for help. They talk about how they've fought for their country and have returned, forgotten and in need.

Last night a group of men got on the train and announced they were raising funds for their singing group. And then they started to sing a song acapella. It was a treat. Commuters looked up, took their earphones out and listened. And they paid the singing trio - they certainly deserved a few dollars.

Then there are preachers. I don't see that much in Australia. On a bus ride through Brooklyn, a woman spent about 15 minutes on an evangelical rant, encouraging us to approach Jesus to be saved. While she annoyed me and I'm sure others on the bus, no one told her to stop. That no one spoke up showed great respect and restraint. That's free speech at work right there.

And then there's the people on the street. Minnie Mouse and Iron Man were holding hands before I snapped that picture above. And this guy was standing on a median strip in a busy intersection of Times Square dancing and playing drums. He happily posed for the photo.

It's these small encounters in this big city that I remember.

This also happened to me today, during a transaction in Starbucks. I was buying a water, another customer interrupted me.

Woman: "Did you have laser or is that sunburn?"

Me: "You're very forward in asking questions to strangers."

Woman: "Well yeah", plus an eye roll.

Me: went on with my transaction.

Woman: "I thought you'd appreciate it that people actually talk to you."

Me: "What? You don't think people would talk to me? Really?"

She shut up.

Meanwhile my friend just drove four hours to talk to me.

Stupid people make me laugh.

Also they're intrusive, insulting and presumptuous. And no, people don't have a right to know or have their curiosity satisfied when it comes to questions about strangers' appearances or disabilities.

I'm such a note taker and picture snapper. Everything is a story, I reckon.

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1 comment:

  1. New York is a great city. I specially enjoy the people watching. You find all kinds of people on the streets wearing whatever they want to get attention. Did you see the guy playing the guitar in his underwear in Times Square? He's called the Naked Cowboy. I'm not sure if he's still there.


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