Part of my joy when exploring a new city, or region, or country is learning from those who live there. I’ve spoken with kind and fascinating people who have helped me to experience the soul of an area, which is often elusive. The willingness to share is a gift to both the giver and receiver.
My love of New York City started when a friend invited me to see the city through her eyes. We came to the city together over many years, exploring theatre, restaurants, museums, and more. We also participated in a series of walking tours given by a phenomenal guide, Paul, who fell in love with the city after moving here from California.
Paul researched the history, architecture, and stories that crisscrossed Manhattan and Brooklyn, and shared his passion with those of us who couldn’t get enough. His knowledge was vast, and his joy was infectious.
In lower Manhattan while on our first walk, Paul gave us an image to consider, saying that the history of the city could be compared to drawings on old vellum. The Dutch came and left their mark. The British arrived and erased what came before, but a shadow remained. The Revolutionary War arrived and erased the mark of the British, but that shadow remained as well. If we look for it, the marks of history are hiding in plain sight.
Every area has its unique history and experiences. Curiosity allows us to see and explore it.
Over the years I have been living in New York City, I have had the opportunity to share what I love most about my hometown with friends and acquaintances who visit. We walk and talk, eat and talk, gawk and talk – and reminisce over time about all that we did together.
This city never ceases to surprise me. Recently, I discovered a statue of Ganesha sitting in a fenced parcel of land in SoHo. The incongruity of seeing this in the middle of a highly commercial and trendy area prompted me to immediately send a photo to those who I knew would love it.
One of those people was the friend who first shared her love of the city with me. It’s a beautiful feeling to build on that ongoing conversation.
Communication is nurtured by having something to talk about. That sounds simplistic but finding a subject to initiate a conversation can be far from simple. Meeting for coffee or a meal, or a movie or event can make conversation easier since we are sharing an experience. Now we have a subject as a starting point, from which we can build.
Each and every corner of the world is filled with an unlimited supply of “somethings” that can open a delightful, delicious conversation. All that is required is that we see it and share it.
SoHo, NYC. Photo by the author.
4 thoughts on “How to have a conversation with a city (Sharing Edition)”
Thank you for introducing me to Ganesha.
I love knowing the history of a place and being able to share with others
History adds such a richness, doesn’t it? Thank you for sharing your comment, Phyllis! If you are in SoHo and want to see this beautiful Ganesha in person, I found him on Crosby near Spring Street. I hope he’s still there!
Love the idea of vellum, with those leaving their own mark on the city! Great perspective, thank you.
Thank you – it’s a great image, isn’t it? Paul had the soul of an artist.