Freaks, or New Yorkers

The charm of NYC relies on the fact that you never know whom you’re going to meet just around the corner; who will smile at you; who will wish you a good day and who will call you a bitch. You can never know who will surprise you with their eccentric / happy / hysterical / reckless / kind behavior.

Do you remember the Benetton ads? That’s nothing compared to what you’re going to see over here. Everyone here is of a different color and different nationality, no one wants to look just like the person standing next to them, everyone is stressing their uniqueness. They do it in a variety of ways – by means of clothes (or lack of them), or with an unusual hat and strange objects attached to one’s body. If someone feels like wearing a pot on their head, they will do it (I’m not exaggerating). The variety of people will surprise you, shock you, delight you and scare you – it will make you say: “This is unbelievable”.

Same goes for people’s attitudes. Some people will show you their American ease, some will be reckless, and most will be indifferent to you and won’t even notice you on the street. You have to really work hard to earn interest over here. Even shouting out slogans won’t help you – people do it all the time here. Big deal. People will look at you in passing, thinking to themselves: “What’s that guy’s problem? I’ll throw him a quarter, maybe he’ll get quiet”.

Diversity that great has to be explosive, right? Well… it isn’t. This city thrives on symbiosis of a variety of characters. Of course, everyday you’re likely to run into a madman, since the city is full of them, but the mad people here are mostly harmless. A guy will scream about Jesus, swear at you, pray for you – and go his own way.

Strangest cases flock to this metropolis. Some dream of a career, some of fame, some of money and some are still unsure of they want, hoping to “find themselves”. There are eight million people here with variously sized egos, all of whom try to become Rockefellers and realize their American dream – from rags to riches. Of course most will remain in rags, but the crucial thing is to try and test oneself to learn about one’s weaknesses.

It is here that the saddest scenarios become reality – American dream can quickly turn into an American nightmare. Inability of coping with difficult reality and oneself make many people reach the very bottom. These are the stories of many immigrants (including Polish ones) who failed here. More often than not, they choose life in dire poverty over coming back to their homeland. They’re too ashamed to admit they failed. You will hear thousands of stories like that. It takes one hell of a freak to make it in this city.