Our Town downtown
November 20, 2006
We give thanks in all sorts of ways every day, when we acknowledge, if only to ourselves, our gratefulness, our appreciation, our enthusiasm for the things we enjoy that someone else made possible for us. We’re lucky to live in this country and this city. We have a lot.
Here are some things that I’m thankful for here, in addition to friends and family of course:
Trees. You notice them more here than you do in a car somewhere else. You use them here, against the rain without an umbrella, against the sun on a park bench. In smaller cities and towns I’ve lived in, with more woods around, more lawns with trees, I never appreciated trees like here. Like I never appreciated flowers other places like I appreciate the colorful bunches of them outside little grocery stores here. Gramercy Park I live a block from and I seldom notice it with any appreciation when I walk by. The flowers in all colors a block away at the store get my attention way more often.
Walking lets you see the park and the trees and the flowers, and so much else at a pace you can absorb it at. You can fall in love for a second or two with a passerby. That doesn’t happen most other places. You have to give thanks for those times. And for the views up and down the avenues when you’re crossing the street. Maybe as residents we’re not supposed to look up at buildings like rubes, but looking uptown when you’re crossing the street is to see the massiveness of this place, and the beauty of its design and is a sight to be thankful for.
So are all the newsstands with the three great dailies, and papers and magazines from all over the world that you don’t see in other cities you’ve lived in. So are the bookstores here whose numbers are decreasing as people order on line or watch TV instead of reading. But there still are chain stores and independents that you can walk to from your apartment. I envy myself sometimes when I’m strolling up to Union Square at 9:00 at night to roam around four floors of books. Who of my friends or yours who live elsewhere can do that? It is a great perk of living here.
Cabs are another perk. I take one to work on Fridays. Just to go at a different pace and look out a window. It’s a treat, and I’m thankful that the cabs skim along the street in front of my building even if I don’t need them but once a week. I like their color; that yellow brightens up the street.
Other things I’m thankful for: The old people in my building. The East River a few blocks from my place. Rutgers for winning and giving college football fans here a local team to follow. Doormen. Molly’s on 22nd and Third. Pizza available every couple blocks. The Mexicans who make the pizzas and do so many other things here. The church bells at noon that I can hear from my apartment. AMC Loews’ $6-before-noon tickets on weekends. Steve ‘The Schmooze’ Somers on WFAN, the world’s nicest guy, who appreciates life like we all should. Stores I never go in for being open and giving color and variety to my walks. All the people on the sidewalks for giving color and variety to my walks. All the great old apartment buildings that make me and everybody else on those sidewalks look interesting.
It’s a great city to live in. We each give our own thanks all the time for our luck.
-- Bill Gunlocke