The Real Impacts Of HONY
Start writing a post

Humans Of new York Goes Way Beyond The Walls Of Central Perk

It's not just the Gatsbys and gangsters (and Gellers).

Humans Of new York Goes Way Beyond The Walls Of Central Perk

Gatsby confesses his love for Daisy at the Plaza Hotel, Holden Caulfield relives his childhood at the Museum of Natural History, and Phoebe marries Mike right outside of the famous Friends cafe.

Big Apple, Melting Pot, or whichever nickname you assign to the city that never sleeps - NYC flaunts the American dream. To an outsider, the city is the epitome of western glamour. Of course, Captain Obvious does not need to remind me how students, retailers, and accountants just like you and me relax in Central Park and that Times Square is not exclusively for the American elite.

My over-romanticized vision is also aware of the blatant poverty and crime that smack me in the face when I see a homeless mother nurse her child 10 feet away from an ongoing drug deal. But acknowledging these average Joes in addition to my unbearable guilt from knowing my luxury of not having to sell drugs for income - all chiseled away by western media glorifying New York City.

But that is not the effect of this one media movement. The saying a picture is worth a thousand words cannot hold more truth for the vulnerable stories revealed by Brandon Stanton's photo project. Growing up, I saw the city as an alluring yet daunting fantasy world beyond my reality as the average kid from the suburbs - or at least I used to, prior to following the memoirs of Humans of New York, or simply HONY.

City connoisseurs never hesitate to correct your understanding of each micro-detail from every momentous Big Apple moment in American fiction, but even the most devoted city-ers are apathetic towards the realities of Chelsea Market fruit sellers and Chinatown shop owners.

I, too, felt the same indifference before realizing that HONY's "ordinary" stories have an extraordinary impact - both in and out of NYC.

Because of HONY, I get sucked into reading about the little details: a devoted grandfather boasting about his granddaughter's dance recital and an NYU student struggling with finals after finally defeating immigration obstacles. I weep for the teenager being fat-shamed and for the businessman who said goodbye to his acting dream. Short and tall, young and old, brown and pink-haired - HONY pumps out diverse Big Apple portraits, packaged with perspectives that come straight from the heart.

With a simple tap, I add to the hundreds of thousands of likes on HONY's Instagram page, but what does this actually do for bringing "awareness" to these unheard voices?

@juliaj23 shares about her own grandson learning how to walk as @natlovescats comments suggest the businessman juggles work and an off-broadway theater group while @kenn_rye443 writes about his high school journey with bulimia. In reaction to HONY, social-media users open up to an audience of complete strangers.

The fact of the matter is that I cannot help or bring attention to each and every person featured on HONY, but the positive outcome of Stanton's project taught me that I CAN help maintain the flow of empathy pouring out of the internet. There is a one-in-a-million chance we will all meet face to face, but it is certain that we will help unify the most populated - and loneliest city - of America. Each of the pictures and comments exposes a backstory, unique only to the individual. Yet through the HONY community, no one is alone in finding support or someone to celebrate the victories in life with.

(Rachel Geller) NYC will always have a place in my heart but thank you, Brandon Stanton, for teaching me about its hidden gems above, below, and in-between the fiction, famous, and Friends television series.

Sincerely, an ordinary but inspired human of the University of Delaware.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Peter Truong

If you still have not figured out what you want to cook on Thanksgiving, baked macaroni and cheese is something worth considering. It is simple, affordable, and delicious. I have had many different types of baked mac and cheese and most are dry. I do not like a dry mac and cheese, it just does not seem appealing to me. If you like the creamy cheesy essence of mac and cheese, look no further, this recipe is for you.


Keep Reading... Show less

As a first-year college student, I've been doing a lot of meeting and introducing myself to people, often with the classic format of "name, hometown, major".

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

This Simple 7-Step DIY Face Mask Combines Safety — And Sustainability

Instead of studying like I intended on doing today, I made a face mask for some reason and thought I'd share how I did.


If you were looking for a simple way to make a mask, I am happy to share how I personally make them. I have a pretty small face in general, so I prefer having my homemade ones so they fit better. This is also a great alternative to just throwing away any clothes! Before starting, you will need to make sure you have fabric, thread, a needle, and pins; if you have a sewing machine, you obviously could use that instead of hand sewing it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Ways To Handle The Stress Of Earning Your Degree From Your Childhood Bedroom

Oh so this was the room where I snuck cookies upstairs past my bedtime and stole R-Rated movies to watch when my parents were asleep and now I'm expected to earn my degree in this very same room?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It's definitely not easy, but it's something so many kids are struggling with right now.

Keep Reading... Show less

November is such an underrated month. With all the excitement that comes with Halloween ending and the holiday season around the corner, some people skip over it and go straight to their Christmas playlist. For me though, November is the perfect time to compile a playlist of songs that bring on major nostalgia which I think is perfect for this time of year. If you're looking for something to get you in that thankful spirit before you head into the Christmas spirit or something to play while you enjoy Friendsgiving, here are some go-to songs to add to your November playlist.

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift is famous for her Easter eggs on social media that hint at what is coming next for her. Over the past few days, fans noticed a change in Swift's hair when she was accepting her win as Apple's songwriter of the year that was reminiscent of the "Red" era. Of course, this has caused widespread speculation that Swift has begun to re-record her masters.

Keep Reading... Show less

While joyful, the holiday season can also be stressful for many and that's A-O.K. Plus, with the added tension that is 2020, this year's holiday season is a lot, to put it simply.

This is your reminder to put yourself first and listen to what you're yearning for. Deep down, you know what you need to thrive and I know that you can get there.

Keep Reading... Show less

25 'Open When' Topics And Ideas For That Special Someone In Your Life

Open When Letters are letters you can give to your special someone.

Lauren McCally

Stuck on what to get the person you love the most?

And, well, let's be honest, is hard to shop for? Well then, why not send them some Open When Letters?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments