I was walking down Smith Street yesterday, a lively avenue with butcher shops, flower marts and tiny French restaurants. Groups of people were standing, engaged in loud and spirited conversations. “I sawr it…” “I sez, whada yuhs guys tawwkin’ about?” “It ain’t woith it..Fuggedaboutit!”
We don’t do that in Minneapolis. When I see people on the street, their conversations are friendly, but private. Actually, other than downtown on a weekday, there aren’t crowds of people milling about. When I return home from New York, I’m aware of how quiet and open the Twin Cities seem. It’s easy.
People here in Brooklyn are friendly. It’s a neighborhood where you always see someone you know and stop to talk. They are also very helpful. The reputation of the brusque New Yorker is not deserved – and maybe misinterpreted. New Yorkers are abrupt. But that’s because we are all in a hurry. Not discourteous, just direct. Ask someone how to get to the R train, another helpful New Yorker rushing by will offer his opinion, because there-is-a-much-faster-route-let-me-tell-you-about-it.
I rush here, too, as if I have places to be. Swept up in the pace, even though the entire afternoon is stretched ahead of me, no commitments. I have to keep up. I’ll be rushing into the city tomorrow to pick up a rug and carry it back on the train. We don’t do that in Minneapolis. We have cars. It’s easy.