Anything Can Happen (See Part 1 here)
If you want to explore what New York City has to offer, you will have to mingle among the people. Unfortunately, this means all the people, regardless of income, hygiene, scrupulousness or sanity. Unless you make an extraordinary effort at insulation, you will encounter the broadest range of haves and have-nots imaginable on the streets, in the subways, shops, restaurants, parks and festivals.
In just the last five years authoring this website, I have encountered: a woman with a rat resting on her shoulder under her matted dreads, a man who pushes the limits of gender and fashion, a woman who eats bugs for a living at the Coney Island Sideshow, Walid Soroor - an Afghani Rock Star, an Alaskan Tlingit Indian musician on the road for 10 years, women who wear rooster feathers as fashion, Jenn - a very gothic woman whose circle of family and friends are subway conductors, Dr. Robert Gurland - a Professorial superstar, Will Galison - an unassuming guitar player who I later learned is legendary with an entire wikipedia entry of credits, Ferris Butler - a man who redefines quirky and is likely the inspiration for the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a man wearing militaristic regalia with a solitary spike of hair, a tattooed and pierced ex-marine sporting plaid shorts who at one time was pursuing a masters in theology, an Albino Burmese Python slithering on the street, Water Sprites, an Urban Wood Nymph and an older man so grotesquely tattooed and pierced that I could not bring myself to photograph him.
On one occasion, I stopped to talk to a homeless man who was collecting bottles, acknowledging how his task of collection and redemption appeared to be rather exhausting. Angrily he replied "Don't patronize me." Gotcha. I was guilty as charged. Here, beware of the homeless, who are often educated, intelligent, astute, sometimes insane and/or angry and frustrated.
A peaceful afternoon in the park or strolling the streets, may or may not be peaceful. If you play chess at the various parks, expect every manner of kibitzing and trash talk. Or, as I once witnessed, someone drawing a gun and firing it at someone previously involved in a drug deal to even the score, with only a momentary break in playing the game - see Chess Monsters here.
If you are going to street perform in New York City, you had better be prepared for every manner of intrusion and disruption including but not limited to verbal abuse, physical assault or being upstaged by a lunatic. During the breakdancing show (see Part 1 here), a man from the crowd became very animated by the music and performers. I have no idea why he was wearing a full length white fur in the middle of April, nor why nearly every article of his wardrobe was white. As he began to dance, the audience egged him on and with little encouragement he did his best at an impromptu performance -
Although some may see the display as an effort to upstage, John Rich and his posse looked on in amusement, realizing that this was just another day in New York City, where Float Master or not, Anything Can Happen :)