Wednesday, January 21, 2015

anchor of our soul

And you think of all of the things you've seen, And you wish that you could live in between, 
And you're back again, 
Only different than before, 
After the sky. 
--Into The Woods, "Giants In The Sky"

The most magical place in all of New York City is the Flatiron building. Its name alone conjures up images of steel manufacturers; it evokes domestic, antique images; and its architecture lives up to the name. Existing in the peaceful environs of Madison Square Park and Broadway, the Flatiron building emanates and aura of serenity. It is this little bubble of genteel and elegant calm, somehow barricaded from the oppressive noise and chaos of the city all around it.

The Empire State Building, with all its glamor, hubbub, noisy tourists and Penn Station traffic, rises just north of its delicate sister, a prominent younger sibling of this ancient enamel ship.
As I walk by the Flatiron building, rushing to a theatre in Chelsea, I don't mind the rush. The enchanted square seems to have transformed my bustling into a movement more measured and transfigured my sweating speed-walk into a more graceful dash.

As I emerged from the dark theatre, I blink in the soft dusky light of a cloudy and foggy day. For a moment, I see the city with new eyes, and I truly love it, for a fleeting time. I love New York City, because it is the Flatiron district. Because here, nestled between the glass prow of this elegant steampunk building and the decadent Eataly, this is a place where Home Depot is housed in a beautifully carved, white-washed Victorian façade. Here is where you can dodge an adorable mother with a baby pram and dog poop in the same step; where you hold a crisply printed doughnut bag confidently in your hand while chasing down the 6 train.

Here, you step out into the crosswalk, and the rush of Broadway traffic sweeps you off your feet, and the buildings, a multitude of worlds all crowded onto one block rise above you, colorful, unique.

Are you paying attention?
Watch closely, they all command.

For a second, there is that warm wave of companionship washing over the scene, and the sense of being in the middle of an unfolding adventure sweeps over the sidewalk, carrying you with it into an endless succession of scenes, which will reward your attention with beauty opening up into beauty.

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