Part of my tasks as an editorial assistant here at People magazine is to call in various books per the book editor’s request, file contracts and ensure that invoices are turned in on time and accurately. Basically, this is the epitome of the less thrilling, less glamorous aspect of starting out at any major publication, sans getting coffee or picking up dry cleaning (cue “Devil Wears Prada” and a harried Anne Hathaway). One of the perks, however, is having full access to the book room, which offers a plethora of novels to skim through, borrow for the night, or best yet, peruse at leisure during the rare lull at work in the office.
I bring this up not because it is one of my favorite things, necessarily (though stealing a moment or two in the book room, temporarily forgetting about impending deadlines and ever-growing to-do lists is quite blissful), but because on one such browsing occasion, I came upon the best book.
“The Book of Awesome” by Neil Pasricha – a black velvety-bound hubble of happiness. In it is page upon page detailing the simple delights of life. From special events (being the first table to get called up for the dinner buffet at a wedding) to special moments (the moment at a concert after the lights go out and before the band comes onstage), from sounds (the sound of scissors cutting construction paper) to smells (bakery air), the book has it all. Reading about someone else’s observations and favorite things got me thinking about a few of my favorite things as well, and the truth I stumbled upon is that the things that make life better are almost always fleeting, everyday occurrences, snapshots that make you remember all the important little blocks that make up the big city (though good scents do come in at a close second!).
My favorite things in New York City:
– the few moments right before a rainstorm hits, when the wind picks up speed and people start dashing under awnings and huddling together for cover
– leafing through random old used books at Strand bookstore and smelling the dust settled inside the pages
– “free hugs” campaigns in the middle of Union Square
– running by parents simultaneously jogging and pushing strollers through Central Park
– spending an entire afternoon at a museum and then having to squint after stepping outside into the sun
– ordering off the tasting menu during restaurant week
– going an entire trip on the subway without anyone “holding the doors” and delaying traffic
– lounging in a chair on Broadway on a hot summer night
– graffiti on side streets
– leaning as far as possible over rooftops at dusk overlooking the city
These are the moments that make you feel human again in a city of so much concrete and glass, glass and concrete.