Mankind is No Island

Before I lived and breathed New York, before it all became an expected, normal blur of my life, I took the train down once or twice a year. I grew up removed from a small town on a cul-de-sac in the woods. I didn’t like the city. Of course I didn’t like it. I hated the crowds and the noisy filth.

And before I grew numb to it, and we all grow numb to it, I was moved by the homelessness. When I did visit, I gave the first homeless person I saw a dollar. It was nothing, it was stupid; a childish way to exonerate myself as a heartless New Yorker. But I noticed, and I tried.

I stopped handing out dollars when I moved here.

I rarely ever acknowledge them now. I’ve turned into that cold city-dweller I hated. I gave a dollar to a man in Coney Island last Friday night and turned away as police stood around a dead body on E. 6th street the next afternoon. I did not cry. I kept walking.

I found this short film shot on a cellphone by Jason van Genderen and while I am deeply touched, I remain no less conflicted.

[via Gothamist]


3 responses to “Mankind is No Island

  1. I’d like to interview you, Jason, for Charged Magazine. Do you have a moment?

  2. Pingback: New York Through the Megapixel | Charged

  3. Hi Douglas – email me ( your questions for your article and I’ll be happy to oblige – cheers, Jas.

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