The soul of the city... By Claire Plassart

The few people who ventured out after hurricane Sandy’s passage felt that walking in the empty streets was like being in a horror movie. Ghosts among the ruins replaced the usual crowds. People had disappeared and all sense of belonging gone. The very soul of the city had been hurt...

When visiting New York City, one always goes to Times Square or to a show on Broadway, otherwise the visit would seem incomplete. These places are crowded party places, part of a modern, joyful, entertaining New York, a city full of life. That’s how New Yorkers want their city to appear to the rest of the world. New York wants to live up to its reputation of "the city that never sleeps". New Yorkers follow the tradition, after a long day at work, of living it up at night, that’s what you do in a great metropolis! Crowds are important in New York: New Year’s Eve in Time Square, the annual marathon, and the numerous parades (St Patrick’s, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day, Halloween, Gay Pride, etc.).

Why is there such infatuation for large-scale crowded events in a city of eight million inhabitants? Maybe it’s the only way of keeping this huge and diverse population united. Indeed, this cosmopolitan city has been and still is open to immigration, welcoming Europeans, Latinos, and, more and more, Asians, all attracted by the American Dream. Different communities live in different parts of the City: Chinatown, Harlem, Little Italy, and so on. There is a need, surely, for places common to all these communities, where citizens can celebrate belonging to the one city. The City authorities know that these events help keep the city united and the people content. This feeling of a common identity must prevail, and all the big events are organized to this end.

Festive crowds are part of the cultural heritage of New York, celebrating unity and belonging, and the heart and soul of the Big Apple is a happy one, necessarily so.

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