Somewhere in East Village, a recent grad wakes up, hungover and late for his first real job. Meanwhile, at the 23rd M stop, a portly, elderly man from Harlem clears his throat as his backup guitarist, a 28-year-old from Koreatown, adjusts the treble on his amp. A man is screaming at a cashier in Chelsea. On the second car of the A train, a struggling actor falls in love with the woman across from him but doesn’t get the courage to say hello. The guy beside her thinks he’s staring at him and gets annoyed. On the fifth car of that same A train, an elderly woman bumps into her high school boyfriend – they’re both surprised that they’re still awkward. Moments later, a boy gets “doored” on the way to work, bruises his knees and shoulders, and verbally announces he’ll wear a helmet more often.
At any given moment, New York City resembles an oversized pinball machine with far too many balls in play: constant and utterly unpredictable interactions.
The grid design creates massive, endless, parallel halls. It feels like there are only two directions: where you’re going and where you came from.
Yet in rare moments, even the most seasoned New Yorker is derailed from the unidirectional march. These moments present a third option: pause. It’s a treasonous word in the city that never sleeps but truly it takes a moment of observing, rather than acting, to notice the beauty that quietly trumps the frictions in all chaos.