|one of my favorite photos of nyc, taken by brian.|
when tragedies, such as the one in boston, occur, we often hear people talk about their city - how much they love their city, how they'll defend it, how hurt they are that someone attacked their city. their city. this love we have for our cities, our hometowns, the places we live. where does it come from?
when i look around at the price of new york real estate, it never ceases to amaze me. the $40M apartment on the upper east side. the $70M townhouse on the upper west side. how on earth could a home cost so much? where does it get it's worth? at the end of the day, it's a thing, an object, a possession. if we all left new york tomorrow, if we all lost interest in the special kind of rat race new york city is - those prices would be no more. those possessions would be worthless.
because it is not the buildings, or the streets, or the subways that make a city - it is the people.
the cities i have lived in were put on the map by people large and small as seen through the lens of history. j.p. morgan made the finance industry in this town and every cabbie today makes it one of the more convenient places to live. johnny cash helped fuel one of the biggest booms in the country music industry when he was popular and jaunita the baker at dulce desserts now bakes the best cakes nashville has ever seen. the founders of this country took the first few humble steps that make up our country's birth in philadelphia, and today a man named stephen starr creates some amazingly popular restaurants that make the city a fun and delicious to place to live. and while all of these people made, and continue to make these cities meaningful, these cities powerful, there are millions more that make up the patchwork of these cities. i am one of them, my friends are, too. and it is with these seemingly ordinary people leading ordinary lives that we make up some of the greatest moments of our lives, those moments that make a city our own.
it's brian's proposal in gramercy park that makes new york ours, forever. or the bar my friends and i partied in after we graduated from college, intertwining nostalgic moments of our youth with philadelphia, forever. or the road i was running down in nashville when i spotted tina cheering for me in mile 9 of my half marathon, when i felt about ready to quit and her support kept me going - that road that reminds me of one of my greatest accomplishments whenever i drive down it. those moments made us fall in love with our cities, but they would be nothing without the people who made them.
so when tragedies like the one in boston occur, and it seems liked we just heard about newton, or the shooting in aurora, or the shooting in the oregon mall - i sometimes feel as if i can't take it anymore. when i get sick and tired of this world and it's violence and i want to go live on a patch of dirt in the middle of nowhere that can't be found a map - those who shout about their love for their city remind me: it's about the people. that our cities would be nothing without the amazing people who populate them. thousands, millions of people, who don't set off bombs, who don't shoot innocent people, who don't fly planes into buildings. people who love each other, who run into disaster zones to care for the hurt, who lend a helping hand to someone they don't know. ordinary people leading ordinary lives, creating extraordinary cities. cities, as has been proven to us over the past few days, like boston.
for a heartbreaking, honest, beautiful and just perfectly written account of what it was like to be a runner that day, read this. for a beautiful tribute to boston from those who live there, read this and this. lastly - a student who graduated one year after me was severely hurt, along with his parents, from the second bomb: please consider donating here if you can.