My brother came to visit me in the city one day, and I decided I would meet him in Bryant Park, which lies between Grand Central, where I arrived, and Penn Station, where he arrived. I was about thirty minutes early, as usual, so I got some coffee and went to wait in the park. As a person who recently moved to the city, I can confidently say that sitting around and people-watching is as exciting as exploring the city. That day, I sat and watched people go about their business, and it was fascinating.
I set up camp at a table across from Whole Foods. There was a small open space where old men began to gather to play bocce ball. They were thriving. It was noon on a Wednesday and these old men had drawn a small crowd of people to watch their game. One of the men even began teaching the game to onlookers.
At the table next to me on my left, the company could not have been more different. There were two young women engulfed in shopping bags from Gucci, Coach, and the like. The way they spoke and moved their hands and adjusted their sunglasses and hair screamed to me that these women were either very successful businesswomen, or married rich.
The tables on my right were being morphed into one giant table for what appeared to be about twenty college-age men in suits. It looked like a lost wedding party. They sat in a circle and talked over each other for the entirety of my time in the park. I assumed it was some sort of business club by the way they were dressed, but it could have been anything.
In some way, I guess that is the excitement of it. You just don't know. The complexity of the events in the life of a stranger is something we can never understand without knowing them, but it sure is fun to guess.