Sunday, July 4, 2010

Final Daily Post

This blog has now come full circle. Begun on July 4, 2009 as a site for one New York settler to share his passion for the City, today it concludes as a daily reflection on life in New York City. For those few of you interested, however, this is the not the end of this blog, only the end of a daily recounting of my New York life. Thethirdnewyork will continue with posts that occur on a roughly weekly basis, usually appearing on Sunday or Monday morning.

It has been an incredibly worthwhile experience to write these posts every day. It has given me a place to express myself, to pour out my thoughts, in the end, about a multitude of subjects, but always with New York City at least in the background, and more often than not, at center stage. The fact that his blog has covered such a wide range of subjects is fitting as New York remains, above all, the place that is most like that great Long Island and Brooklyn poet Walt Whitman: it contains multitudes. It is, as I have said quite a few times before, inexhaustible.

For this last post, I had thought of writing about Central Park or about the theater, two things that make New York so special for me, but, as important as these things are to so many New Yorkers, that didn't seem quite encompassing enough. They are key dimensions of New York but not New York itself. No, this final appreciation has to focus on New York's inexhaustibility, on the fact that it remains the world's single, greatest microcosm. There is more diversity here in almost every realm of human experience than any other place in the world. Ultimately, it is New York's sheer variety, its unbelievable mix of rich and poor, disciplined and casual, creative and conventional, sports-obsessed and sports-averse, art-oriented and art-clueless, the performative and the observational, the ever-busy and the stubbornly inactive, that makes New York such an exciting, bizarre, and endlessly interesting place.

Perhaps it is best summed up by what an elderly lady said to me the other day as we stood at a street corner, me with my trusty bicycle beside me, she with her walker that doubles as a shopping cart in front of her. We were chatting about the beauty of the morning and she noted something about a play she had dearly loved but couldn't recall the title of. I tried to help but my prompts only confused her more. Finally, she resigned herself to not remembering, but then brightened and added, "but this is New York after all. It will be back. It has to be and I will see it and enjoy it all over again."

Well, yes, of course, I thought. New York is the city of second, third, and even fourth acts, both literally and figuratively. If it has happened here, it will happen again, you can count on that. And if it has been part of human experience, however wonderful or terrible, it has probably happened here before and will again. That is New York's blessing and its curse, its source of wonder and the fact that it is shunned by so many non-New Yorkers. For me, though, all of this just makes it that much more remarkable. To the extent that any life is an education, there is no greater school than New York. I am proud and delighted to be its willing and appreciative student.


  1. In honor of the Final Daily Post of The Third New York, we are going to the final performance today of Next Fall, based on your recommendation. Meanwhile, we are eagerly looking forward to the First Weekly Post of TTNY. See you at breakfast.

  2. Thank you, John. Your devoted readership has been much appreciated.

  3. Well, Third, I'd say that you have proved yourself as interesting and inexhaustible as the great city you have adopted and whose joys and woes you chronicle. Looking forward to your continuing missives...