Thursday, October 22, 2009

Germans In New York

I spoke to two young German men in the subway on Monday night. They were trying to get to Columbus Circle, and weren't sure which subway line to take. They told me in their somewhat rudimentary English they had been in New York City for two weeks and loved everything about it. When I asked what they loved specifically. They answered: 42nd Street, the Empire State Building, the restaurants, the streetcarts, A Columbus Day Parade, Madison Square Garden (they went to a basketball game) and the fact that almost anything can happen.

I thought that was a pretty good list, especially the point about the unexpected. When I asked them what they meant, that anything can happen, they thought something was wrong with their English, and got a little embarrassed. I told them their English was great, but that I was interested in what they meant. Could they give an example of how anything can happen. They mentioned two things: 1. the party they stumbled on in Washington Heights nearby the friend they were staying with where everyone at the party had some part of their face significantly pierced; 2. the roller bladers in Central Park who seemed able to do virtually anything on a pair of skates, including somersaults and breathtaking leaps.

Just before I had to leave them to catch an express subway, I asked what they would remember most about their New York trip. They said how approachable and friendly everyone was. A finding that has surprised and pleased me as well. I thanked them and hurried away, recalling once again that part of the charm of New York is how hospitiably it continues to play host to people from all over the world.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe you earned a footnote on their list, Third. Approachable and friendly are two of your hallmarks.