Community: A Lesson to be Learned

NYC community

This week I have been visiting New York City, a place that never ceases to amaze me. I have been to New York before, but I have always visited as “the tourist,” constantly running from one sightseeing opportunity to another, zero down time. As I am writing I this, I am sitting in a Starbucks window (enjoying the free WiFi), watching New Yorkers pass on their way to school and work. I am noticing the people like I never have in the past, taking my time this morning to observe all I can before I begin my day’s adventures.

In a city of more than eight million people, there is no lack of character in everyone I see. A man sitting beside me with two small dogs on his lap, when he left his dogs trotted behind him loyally, no leash. A woman, no doubt a regular, sharing stories of her daughter, obsessed with boys and getting into her shoe closet, with Johnny, the barista. Parents taking their children to school, via roller blades or a driver in an expensive SUV.

However, perhaps the most striking thing I am witnessing, as I catch these individuals in the middle of their morning routine, is the strong sense of community. Everyone I am meeting is friendly, and so many people know each other, no angry New Yorkers here. Patrons greeting each other by name, holding doors for each other, sharing a part of themselves with their neighbors.

This is a large departure from what I am used to. Back at home, I don’t know those on my street, let alone anyone I encounter in my daily errands, and I don’t see others getting into conversations with strangers either. Maybe this is the lesson to be learned from New York. Put yourself out there, talk to those you meet, and maybe you can achieve that same sense of community in your town, no matter how big or small it is.


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1 Comment

  • Reply October 12, 2012


    I love this! I definitely wouldn’t think that of NYC but of course there is a community anywhere big or small town.

    Since I just moved to a new town, I am hoping to be more part of my community by volunteering, taking classes, or going to community events.