Friday, April 22, 2011
Earth Day in Times Square
For the most part, the Earth Day celebration in Times Square today was a thinly veiled marketing strategy for pretty much everything under the sun. So much so that locals and tourists alike that walked through the streets could literally smell the inevitable "free stuff" and hunted it down like tweens at a Juicy Couture velour sale at Bloomingdale's. People smooshed past each other, ignoring lectures about recycling and green vehicles and climbing over each other to get free samples of soy milk (what that has to do with Earth day, I have no idea).
Here's the thing about events like this. People are not there to be educated. They are not there to be entertained. At all. THEY JUST WANT FREE STUFF. Screw the earth, give them the eco-friendly shampoo sample. Seriously. I was quickly made aware of two very nasty incidents that drive home my point. First, a friend was politely tasting a cup of chocolate soy milk when a woman next to her asked for another cup. The kindly young man behind the cart explained that it was one cup per customer. In classic rude New Yorker fashion, she argued and made a general racquet until my friend gently intervened on her behalf. The belligerent woman's response? A half cup of soy milk in my friend's face. No lie. The good thing is the sweet kid that witnessed the whole thing gave my friend two cartons of soy for her potentially ruined green velvet coat. Only in New York.
So . . . in light of my general disgust for people's conduct in public, I would like to propose a New York alternative to Earth Day. Since most of us obviously do not give a crap about the planet, I would like to propose National Don't-Be-An-Asshole-To-Each-Other Day. I know it would be hard in this city where that's our M.O., but I think we can do it for 24 hours. Just maybe we can try not to throw soy milk on each other, steal plants from children, plow people over with our bags, and mutter obscenities under our breaths at each other. Maybe we could even try to adopt a little of the charm that is inherent in the Southerners we so often like to chastise. Just for a day. If the Earth gets one, we humans should, too.