The Face of (My First )Halloween Morning & Thanksgiving Evening in NYC!
..every day owns a mood spectrum tinkered by personal or social events lending a custom aura …
A recent shift of my base along with my family to a completely different place on the globe has been unfolding bunch of new experiences for us.And to live the ‘fresh start’ to the fullest I thought of consuming each day as it comes, in its natural form. After settling a home near Riverside and some routine in the family, I started spending the leftover time with the ‘New York’ city. No, the city never greeted me with beaming smiles and infectious enthusiasm as was the case with Columbus and Colmar, where I happened to land and spend few days before coming to NYC. The New York City felt too busy to stop by and greet a complete stranger. No doubt, it has one of the most shining and glittery skylines and skyscrapers making anyone’s eyes to reflect the sparkle, but altogether city displayed its charm aggravating the feeling of dépaysement in me.
Just like ‘fresh Ideas’ in any industry mostly come from outside or from an outsider to that Industry, ‘fresh perspectives’ on the original beauty and soul of any city come from the experiences of complete strangers to the city.
And then I found myself, walking all alone, in midst of people in NY shops, museums, offices, subways, bookstores, libraries, parks and pathways on the road of exploration and observation. The only humans that ever interacted with me for no particular reason were the joggers and cyclists flowing with and sometimes against Hudson’s direction.Passing short smiles, making eye contacts and wishing ‘Morning!’ was actually “Good to feel” . Those small gestures felt solid; making those cyclists and joggers my only acquaintances in the city. Wrapped in similar outfits, mysterious auras, some on cycles, some on foot, exercising and smiling together every day! For me, the NY landscape looked complete and connected with them in it.
The morning of October 10 looked different with ghosts appearing on the walls of coffee shops, food marts, and birdhouses on the roadside.The joggers and cyclists were same with different faces every day.Following that morning, all mornings added few more ghosts to confirm the onset of some special morning nearby.
By October 19, which was supposed to be ‘the festival of lights’ for us, back in our home country, the streets of NYC and the windows of longtime residents here had been lit up by light strings and pumpkin lamps.
The festival of Halloween acted like an opening ceremony of my conversations with the locals-
“Quiero Una foto con tu Hijo” was the opening line almost everytime
(want a picture with your son?)
with my “yes” for the photo and a nod for no further conversation in Spanish-
“I don’t understand Spanish” as the following.
Few guessed so with my appearance but all came to know about my non-Spanish background from the accent.
And with few happy pictures with the monsters hanging in the background the conversation kicked off, giving me better answers than Google :)
I was told about the New York’s Halloween Parade, how to participate in it, to-dos and not-to-dos with a kid. Directives about kid costumes, fun in the afternoon and the parties on Halloween night.
Spending time with pumpkin cuttings, skeletons, spiders, crooked nose ghosts and strange looking demons hanging over the nearest birdhouse along with the toddlers from the nearby buildings became a daily activity. Watching demons giving tiny tots and their parents a good time together, away from the city buzz & noise, rhymes on mobiles, shows on TV & rattling toys was indeed a pleasant experience.
Those ghosts never spoke or did anything except making passersby of the same NYC stop by, click few happy snaps, say hello to people sitting around, play with kids and talk about them to strangers. So by 31 October, no wonder I knew what is ‘Halloween’ and How is it celebrated actually. I was waiting for the real performances, costumes and ghost looks on the D-Day, anticipating more warmth, fun, enjoyment in the air.
It did go well until 4 pm in the afternoon.
And then the picture of ghosts looked so real, scaring and sabotaging everyone’s happy spirits. For some moments, there was no way to escape the sudden gloom.
Right from the sirens of ambulances from Columbia Hospital to the increase in the number of NYPD cars around, nothing felt ‘normal’ though it looked completely ‘normal’ to have security and medicare arrangements before the famous NYC Halloween Parade.
And there It was — a one-line news alert flash on mobile screen confirming the evil for real.
The news bulletin, youtube videos, headlines, Whatsapp links , officials’ words, locals’ gaze ..all came crashing down to one core feeling “Horror”.
I saw New York getting up, gathering itself and slipping into the busy zone again, in rhythm, again, after the monstrous blow; me being inside this time.
So, on this “Thanksgiving” evening, I wanted to take a moment to let all the fellow New Yorkers, Joggers, Cyclists, know how grateful I am for their welcoming spirit.
Dear NYork Joggers & Cyclists,
Your energy, audacity, occasional talks, smiles and focus are bit contagious, and am sure must have proved themselves as an inspirational source to many strangers. I still wish smiley “Mornings” to passersby near the riverside park and think of those hurt by Halloween day Monster. I see more of lights on the streets, in the tall buildings, over the windows of longtime residents and in the sparkling eyes of the ‘Christmas Shoppers’ as days get shorter, nights stretch and people get warmer to welcome another festival, another new year and many new persons in New York. But they all will always find you as the first greeting, the first face of the New York Spirit:)