Something extraordinary is happening in New York. Something I haven’t seen in a long time. People woke up this morning with a feeling of goodwill toward their fellow man. No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, it’s infectious.
Immediately after September 11th, we were a kinder, gentler people. New Yorkers stopped honking their horns, held doors open (not even panhandling for money), and patted each other on the back. Walking home over the Brooklyn Bridge that day, I was handed cups of water from shop owners lined along Broadway for thirsty and stunned New Yorkers. Back then of course the undercurrents were somber. We were shoring each other up from tragedy, and despite our losses, it was often the only bright spot in the day to know that we could find affection for our neighbors. Neighbors we had given the stink-eye to just the day before, by the way.
What a contrast to today. Today the undercurrents are downright giddy. Two strangers high-fived on the 2 train this morning. On the platform at Grand Army Plaza an old man, stooped by osteoporosis, shook hands with a subway musician, and said (I swear I’m not making this up), “Today is a good day!” I haven’t seen this much sheer joy in New Yorkers since, um…, ever.
During a two-hour wait in line to cast my vote yesterday (New York didn’t have the option to pre-vote), I could sense something was very different. Not only did no one complain, everyone seemed downright happy to wait. Once inside, amid the clatter of the 1950s-era voting machines with their loud ka-thump each time someone slid the arm to record their vote, people chatted with neighbors and munched on doughnuts brought in from DD. This couldn’t be New York. Clearly I’d been transported to a small town in Kansas. But after I voted I caught the F train to work and saw a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor just before we snaked underground. Nope – this is definitely New York.
What a difference a day makes.
Thank you Californians for voting YES on Prop 2! I thank you, and he thanks you, too!