>nature vs. natural
The other day, I woke up in my brother’s apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When I went outside, I realized what a beautiful day it was. A silky blue blanket wrapped itself around the city skyscapers, the sun warmed the sidewalk, and a slight breeze kept me comfortable.
And at that moment, I was relieved that I was leaving the city and going home.
There is this ongoing battle in my mind as to whether or not I love New York City. My appreciation for it comes in waves; some days I am enamored by the architecture, the people, the culture (you wont find African masks in Northport). And other days the smells, the concrete, and the crowds overwhelm me, and I wonder why does anyone want to live here?
I do have fun in the city. The day before I took the train over to the East Village and grabbed lunch with my best friend Danielle. She’s getting her Master’s at NYU, so we met at Union Square, walked south toward her campus, and enjoyed some sandwhiches and great conversation along the way. It was a beautiful day, and I took a pleasant stroll around Washington Square Park before heading back to Brooklyn after she left for class. I wrote at the dog park in McCarren Park, laid in the grass while watching a mean game of kickball, and discovered one of Williamsburg’s best-kept secrets: $3 falafal sandwhiches. Big Tree had its first show at Pete’s Candy Store on Lorimer that evening, so the rest of my night involved friends, music, and a lot of whiskey. Yet I woke up that next morning in Greenpoint, and I felt weird. Blame it on the hangover, but I began wondering what I really enjoy so much about the city.
I usually find myself resorting to its parks, because that’s the closest thing I’ll get to real nature. Yet the parks (to me, atleast) are just a great way for the city to convince its patrons that you’re not actually stuck in a sea of concrete. The nature in NYC isn’t natural, and while I appreciate its existence, I’d chose The Adirondack Park over McCarren any single day.
Would Central Park be as loved if it was plopped in the middle of the Colorado Rockies? Or does its appreciation only exist because of relation? (Thank God I can escape the shops on Madison and Lex and retreat to the Reservoir; hoooray for patches of green so I can picnic with my $7 wheatgrass smoothie and $3 hotdog). Am I being unfair for scoffing at every tree and bush that is strategically planted in the parks? Perhaps. And maybe then its hypocritcal to have such profound resepect for our national parks, which have only been succumed to tree cutting and human pollution for the creation of roads and an outpour of tourism.
Or maybe I’m just not a city girl. I walked out of Jim’s apartment in Greenpoint and couldn’t wait to seize the day on Long Island (I know, right?) But I went home, put on my sneakers, and ran for an hour. I ran past the sailboats bobbing in the harbor and the lawnmowers humming on their lawns. I looked up and saw that same silky blue blanket which looked remarkably larger–finally free to stretch itself over the surface of the earth.