One of my favorite books since childhood is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (who also penned one of my favorite poems, Nobody). A beloved classic about an altruistic tree that loved a boy so much, he sacrificed his very self for his dear friend. It would surprise you (readers who live outside of Manhattan), that there is a genuine and profound sense of neighbor and community in a city often coined as having “the rudest people in the nation”. Regularly, we do get caught up in our accelerated lifestyles…updating our social media feeds, switching up our playlists or just yapping away on our iPhones, as we maneuver the busy streets of our treasured city like a game of Frogger. But don’t confuse our need to make things happen and get places fast, with us harboring cold hearts and broken souls. New Yorkers might just be the most connected, giving, generous and loyal bunch you ever come across – in life..
This became glaringly evident to me on New Year’s Eve/early morning New Year’s day…what I observed along the streets were jovial folks, wishing every person that walked by a “Happy New Year!”; strangers sharing booths in packed diners for late night snacking (picking up tabs for other tables); protective bystanders helping drunk strangers hail cabs to get them home safe. I witnessed (and was the recipient of) women giving compliments as they passed each other on the street. It was our own version of It’s a Wonderful Life, but live and in HD.
And as I was escorted home, after an amazing evening of loving celebration and a surprise stop to watch the fireworks in Central Park, there she stood. The Giving Tree of West 88th Street. A repurposed Christmas Tree stood tall, propped up against a gate, with a basket full of pens, markers and paper hang-tags with a handwritten sign: Make A Wish for the New Year…
I stood there in awe of a tree that looked as though it belonged in a first grade art-room. Branches overflowing with wishes people made. It was like sitting in the bottom of a wishing well, but with the anonymous vulnerability of the written word. This “giving tree” was covered almost exclusively in selfless wish, after wish…good cheer for others fortune, health and wealth. One very thoughtful person offered the gift of an adolescent magical moment to believe in powers beyond. Something I know I cherish (as do the hundreds who hung a dream or two last night on a fir limb). Thank you, owner of The Giving Tree of West 88th Street – from all of us.
I’m proud of you NYC…proud this is my home…and proud to contribute to make tomorrow even more fabulous than it is today. Even if it’s just by believing in the magical power of a wish…
Not all of you live in on West 88th Street, or in NYC for that matter…so consider this blog entry your OWN GIVING TREE. Feel free to post your wishes in the comments section below…
I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I’m hoping
to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the
future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has
motivated me to get my very own website now 😉