Jack sat across me with a timid smile. He might have talked too much. But I smiled and gave him thumb up.
He and his girlfriend Anne had seen this homeless guy that laid flat on the street one winter day. The guy had glimmering eyes; a thousand stars were in that dose. Jack and Anne shook his shoulder and asked him how he was. An empty alcohol bottle slipped off the guys’ jacket. Jack took off his jacket and gave it to the guy.
Jack said, “There are so many people that just walk pass the homeless in New York. But we can do more. Homeless people are humans as well. Maybe they are just in a low point now, but it doesn’t mean they won’t come up again.”
His described many things, from his ancestors’ immigration from Europe, his surfing in Florida, his arrival to New York, etc. My untrained brain capacity missed many of them, but I remembered what he said.
He pointed to a pile of clothes behind him, “Actually I am going to donate those clothes to some homeless people today. Our sports team had extra clothes. They were throwing them away. I said, don’t throw them away. These clothes can help other people’s lives!”
I shot the small 3-5 mins film “Real People’s New York” because I wanted to show my audience a real New York. The New York stripped of the rise-up fantasy. The New York that looks different from the Vogue cover story. I said, “We don’t live like that.”
Most people in New York wake up by alarms in the mornings, go to work, come home to supermarkets or food deliveries, hang with friends, and sleep, and repeat. I found the prettiest in the regular life, and the arts in the days without fabrication.
Pete, a Queens aboriginal, said he would choose to live in Queens over Manhattan even I were to magically give him 500 million dollars.
“Everybody can take something from Manhattan. But she does not belong to anyone.”
Through my shoot, I found different answers. New York, the most powerful, the most fragile, the richest, the poorest. Billionaires co-exist with beggars, although they do not interact. But, do they not?
The fine line between rag-to-rich can be the abyss of you before alarm and after. It can also be just a cold call away.
“Oh, I worked in finance – investment banks. Now I want to learn programming and move into FinTech.”
In the many events in the city, the above line would certainly zigzag its way. It seemed the old finance city had lost its lustre, and everyone in the industry belonged elsewhere.
In the most recent event I attended, we occupied a space that oversaw the millions of stars in the city.
There are many elder guys, carrying the intangible power from experience that could shake the earth in one tap. I found myself, a young woman in New York, still have years to catch.
People decided to get drinks around. I told them I lived nearby if we couldn’t find a place.
“After the after party!”
There are so many things that happen after the after party. You don’t see the process. You only see the result.
The best thing about dreaming is the process, you look up to the sky, because one day when you reach the star, you toss it and chase for the next.
See “REAL PEOPLE’S NEW YORK“, the authentic arts of Manhattan life,
11/19, available on Youtube: ZHUORUI FU.