Helping Others

“Do you need help?” my neighbor shouted as I was taking plants down from my balcony.

“No. It’s fine! Thank you, though!” I smiled.

Then we talked about how disastrous this storm might be.

“I hope that old tree across the street doesn’t fall.”

“Yeah, me too.”

We were a day away from the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone in the neighborhood was outdoors securing garbage cans, sweeping leaves that the strong gusts of wind had blown onto their lawns, and, like myself, bringing plants into the house. For the first time, I saw neighbors and pedestrians offering to help each other secure objects. In the back of my mind, I have always viewed New Yorkers as people who would focus on themselves. Typically, everyone is rushing to get from point A to point B that it is difficult to stop and lend a hand. This was the culture that I am used to.

When my neighbors moved in, we only spoke to each other if we left our houses at the same time. Even then, it was a simple, “Good morning,” or “How’s everything?” The conversations never lasted for more than a minute because we were in a hurry to catch the next train. This Saturday evening was the first time we were able to hold a conversation for longer than a minute.

One positive thing about natural disasters in New York City is that people begin to genuinely care about each other more than usual. Friends and family members who have not been in contact for long periods of time are suddenly calling each other to make sure everyone is safe. Even pedestrians who are probably rushing home to their families are willing to stop and help. After this incident, I can finally say that New Yorkers are not as self-centered as we appear to be.

Saving Pets from Hurricane Sandy

This entry was posted in Cultural Encounters. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Helping Others

  1. chriswoo says:

    I think it is really great that New Yorkers came together to help each other out in a disaster. But at the same time, I wish that same attitude could be there without the need of a hurricane. If people were always willing to help out and see how everyone is, that would just lead to a better neighborhood. It shouldn’t take a hurricane to make people be friendly to one another.

  2. John Scanlon says:

    Like Chris said, unfortunately it takes a natural disaster to bring out this attitude in most New Yorkers. The morning after the storm, all of my neighbors were out in the street asking if each other’s houses were OK and if they could help each other in any way possible. I think every so often we need to step back, put things into perspective, and see what we can do to make someone else’s day a little bit better.

Leave a Reply