I’ve always been aware of the NYC Marathon. It rolls around each November, just as the city starts to cool down. I used to live on Central Park West, so I would usually run into runners wrapped in aluminum blankets stumbling to their homes on city buses & subways, or desperately hailing a taxi on the upper west side. One year a close friend of my ran the Marathan (and kicked ass!), so I met her at the finish line. But I never really watched. Well, until this year.
The 11th mile of the NYC Marathon runs right underneath our apartment, or, our fire escape to be exact. This year, the runners were lucky to have a sunny, crisp fall day with a reasonable temperature for running – perhaps even a bit too warm. Lucky for Zeh & I, it was warm enough to sit on our fire escape for hours, watching this amazing event take place below us.
Our block was a water station, which meant lots of spectators, cheerleaders, and live music, all day long! The first few runners flew past our block. They were too quick to even capture on film. Few accepted water and most stayed focused on their ridiculously long strides as they blew past the crowd. I can only imagine the runners high they experienced at the end of all this. Incredulous!
The New York City Marathon is one moment in time, but it is a perfect synergy of all that is wonderful about New York. New York attracts people. These people come from any where, at any time. Some come without realizing what they’re about to experience, and others come with enormous expectations – typically that being to succeed. New Yorkers, like marathon runners, are determined individuals. They set goals and attempt to achieve them. Not everyone wins, but they sure learn a shit load about life (and themselves) along the way. They’re used to being around people. They don’t mind crowds, but appreciate privacy.
Some runners, like New Yorkers, take it seriously. Some dress up in costumes and make the most of an otherwise arduous event. In New York, you’re witness to amazing achievements, like the hundreds of paraplegics who use solely arm strength to blow through 26.2 miles of city streets.
At the end of the day, New York is a small island at the tip of an enormous state. It is driven by its occupants and the synergy of their spirits, stories, talents, failures, and timelines. It is a place where the old stay young and the young are wiser than their years. It is a dynamic place where multiple moments merge to create a functioning, powerful society where tremendous results are produced – those that otherwise would not be independently obtainable.