New York City, and the Sea

 
 

They call New York the concrete jungle, but to me it's always felt more like an ocean. Or a sea monster. Once while staring at the skyline on the edge of Hoboken, i pointed at the dip in building towards the south side of the island. Thats the village, I said to my friend from Pennsylvania.
That's the heart of the city, right?


Well, I thought about it. New York has more like eight hearts.
The only animal I can think of with so many beating organs is a sea monster, something that spits in the face of physics and realistic expectations. Plus, all of this will be underwater one day. Maybe thats how sea monsters are born. Little colonies that grow with time, getting heavier and heavier as more footprints weigh down on the granite below. Generations of footsteps left behind until it all sinks down deep. A new Atlantis, maybe the original. Maybe thats why I see New York as this big scary monster of the ocean, because in a way it's destined for the sea, to crack and break and be reborn under a new pressure. Biospheres layered like a cake, lady liberty crowned in coral, tropical fish in the penthouse and down in the tunnels, the creatures that can only take shape in the dark.

My favorite place in all of New York is the natural history museum, where you can stand beneath the belly of a blue whale, the world's largest mammal. My breath deepens as I imagine how much air his lungs can hold. I think about how the krill he eats is so small I wouldn't even know if I were holding one in my hands. One time, after jumping in the open, I was stung by sea lice on my left wrist. They burrow into your skin to lay eggs, but all I saw was a rash. In a day, they were gone, back to the ocean. His mass, his bigness consists of all he has ever eaten, all those unseeable creatures. And at this, we awe, dawdling below his stomach, where we also cannot be seen.

 

 
Following the Samurai