One of the first Buddhist teachings I stumbled across was how as soon as we see someone approaching, we immediately begin forming ideas based only on our own prejudice. We make assumptions based on clothes, hair, style, skin tone… Whether it is positive or negative, we do it, without realizing it. Walking through the streets and avenues of New York City this week, the stereotypes of New York (or New Yorkers) that are commonly heard didn’t present themselves at all. People have been helpful, polite, and friendly everywhere we’ve been. I haven’t taken EunBong and Fina into any rough neighborhoods, but even in the busiest places, we only saw one person yelling at a cab driver, and I only heard someone call someone else an assh*le once. We still have a few days left in the city, but we’ve yet to see any middle fingers flashed out of windows of anything like that. My mind wants to compare New York City to Seoul, since that’s where I spend most of my time, and without saying anything negative about Soeul, New York seems quiet (you don’t hear traffic blaring), organized, relatively clean, and rather sane. It’s busy, it can be hard to catch your breath at first, but it’s an amazing city. I kind of see New York as a place of countless potential koans. You can make out of it anything you desire. When you’re done, go get a slice of pizza and a piece of cheese cake!
Of all the “New York” songs, I always thought this one captures it the best!