After a day of having the opportunity to observe the people in New York, the slight differences of their behavior compared to the people of the smaller cities I’m used to is becoming evident. The foremost being that they seem to walk and drive faster, sometimes without much regard to the thousands of people they encounter while in transit. It appears that they’re used to the city, with its vast population and crowded transportation network. They don’t take much time to worry about the people around them as they’re on their way but rather that they get to their destination without much interference. This all didn’t come as much of a surprise to me as I’ve seen and heard about the people of New York from back home. However, an odd aspect of the city that I had never given thought to until I arrived was that this characteristic doesn’t only apply to the humans of the streets and parks.
Most pigeons I’ve encountered in the parking lots and parks of the southern United States don’t think twice about flying away from anyone who invades a radius of 15 feet from them. That’s why when I first walked around Manhattan, I expected the first flock of sidewalk pigeons to take flight in any direction that wasn’t towards me. What I encountered though was what any New Yorker would do if you were to walk straight at them; they simply stepped out of the way after a brief glance. No flapping, no flight, no frenzy. This behavior of these mostly unremarkable birds seems to apply to all of the pigeons of the city, as they might fly right past your head to get to some sidewalk knish leftovers or stare at you while you come up on them bobbing around a fountain.
While walking around Battery Park City, I got a picture of this rather irreverent pigeon. Just like most New Yorkers, he doesn’t seem to be willing to let people (or a little water) get in the way of his agenda. After spending so much time constantly in the presence of so many different people, a person or pigeon gets used to it, just as anyone gets used to most things after it is present in their lives long enough. Though having only been here a few days, I can already say I am more used to walking through the crowded commotion of the streets and parks than when I arrived. Not to say that I will become completely accustomed to the biggest city in the country, but I’ve always been attracted to larger cities and after this trip, I’m not sure any number of pedestrians and cars will phase me easily.