I call NYC the land of a thousand strangers.
So many anonymous faces; everyone in such a rush. The subway is crowded with people from all walks of life, many of whom you will never see again.
Faces painted with burdens and hope, fatigue and fantasy. Some passing through the city for a night, some here for what must feel like an eternity.
After you’re here long enough, however, the faces become more familiar. The archetypes more endearing. The strangers, not so strange.
People smile and hold hands. Art is evident in the little things. Stories etched in alleys and walkways and archways…
* * *
The New York Times published a beautiful project in 2009 that tells the story of 54 New Yorkers:
New York is a city of characters. The Green Thumb, whose community garden in a Brooklyn housing project shows children that eggs don’t come from eggplant. The Dictaphone Doctor, last of a dying breed. The Jury Clerk, who ways ‘Good morning’ 200 times a day and means it. The Teenage Mother. The Tabloid Photographer. The Iraq Veteran. The Walking Miracle. Throughout 2009, The Times introduced 54 such individuals in sound and images, ordinary people telling extraordinary stories — of passions and problems, relationships and routines, vocations and obsessions.
Ancillary: This is a example of Flash being used brilliantly for its intended purpose: adding an immersive richness to the web browsing experience (not for an entire restaurant website).
[Amusingly, Adobe is ending development of Flash in favor of HTML5, and this experience could be recreated today (and work on mobile devices like the iPhone) without Flash.]