I fell in love with New York City. It was a beautiful place. I never saw the blood and murder and other “TV things”. My mind was conditioned to expect certain things, but that never came to pass. It was totally different from what I expected. The people were kind. They were surviving. They had a life to live and they were trying to live it the best they could. They didn’t bother anyone and didn’t want to be bothered. They were friendly though. I could ask them anything and they were always accommodating. They were kind.
The smell of the city was noticeable. It didn’t smell as much during the winter months. The stench was frozen during the winter. During the summer the asphalt was constantly breathing and putting off heat, gases and odors. You had a film on you after a day in the streets. It was a dirty place. There are too many people and not nearly enough space. Folks hardly ever make eye contact with you. They stare straight ahead. In the subways no one says anything to anyone. Everybody knows what to do and they do it instinctively. When passing out tracts on the streets of NY you simply place the tract where their hand is and they instinctively grab it. Their hands are down by their sides, btw. They don’t bother to ask and you don’t bother to tell. You just hand the tract to them in the general vicinity of their hands and they latch hold to it.
One time a person came out of a subway in NY and I went up to the person and said, “Pardon me sir, but can I share some information with you about Jesus?” The person said, “The first thing you’ve got wrong is my gender.” I was mortified. She looked just like a man. She had on construction boots, short pants, muscle legs and huge body. She had on a flannel shirt and was very large. I could not tell it was a woman. Amazing.
Another time I approached a very tall black guy early in the morning. He was standing at the corner of a building on the sidewalk. I asked him if he would like some information about Jesus and he angrily looked down at me and said, “You bother me.” It was way too early to be telling him about Jesus. I sheepishly went my way. I didn’t want to bother him, nor get killed.
Another time I met a so-called NASA physicist of some sort who was a street bum. He made his living on the street. He said it was easier and less stress to live on the street. He showed me how to retrieve watches and coins from the big grate covered holes in the sidewalk. He would take a magnet on a string and lower it down to the bottom and pick things up. If it wouldn’t adhere to the magnet, he’d put chapstick on the magnet and let the weight of the magnet sit on the item and the chapstick would stick to the item and pick it up.
I love that place!