On a November evening, I was sitting in Penn Station waiting for my train. I was in a glass-walled area centered between the gates to the trains and the rows of shops and restaurants. As I sat, a pigeon pecked around the seats for scraps. Few paid him more than a moment’s attention. I’d seen a mouse earlier. Its presence hadn’t surprised me. This was a large space, surrounded by an abundance of food, and peopled by rushing travelers. Outside winter was closing in. The mouse was barely noteworthy. The pigeon, however, held my attention.
Life in the Big Apple is hectic: people in great numbers; cars constantly blaring their horns, belching exhaust; lights flashing, and screens displaying the famous and those hoping for fame. The buildings stretch up to the sky, leaning toward one another. Standing in those buildings you can look down on constantly moving crowds or look across to the building facing you where you see people in offices, working at machines, maneuvering equipment, pushing carts, or staring at screens. Once one of them looked back at me, but he gave me just a moment’s glance. New York has so much to take in. And yet I was transfixed, watching the pigeon. I wondered how it had gotten in here?