Friday, July 25, 2008

Crowd Control

As a tourist to the city years ago, I remember peering out on New York from the World Trade Center. "There are six million people down there," my brother told me, so I took a good look at the little buildings and vehicles and trains below and tried to take in the millions of huddled masses spread across the five boroughs. Since moving to New York, that unnamed multitude (now 8 million strong) has remained a source of fascination for me. And after three years out and about in about in the city -- and plenty of hours on ACRIS and Social Explorer -- there's still lots to wonder about, especially on sunny days when public spectacles bring out city-dwellers (and visitors) in droves.  I'm talking about the free performances and movie nights and of course the annual Times Square New Year's Eve celebrations which fill public spaces with innumerable bodies.  There's something great about the fact that city officials have trouble keeping count of city revelers in public spaces, the fact that no one knows exactly how many people and which people come out to partake in the collective celebrations. I hope to never see that never change in this city. 

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