For its 50th anniversary in 2017, New York magazine published a special issue called “My New York.” The intention, spelled out over 200 pages, was to point out the surprisingly intricate ways New Yorkers are connected to each other. On page 86, you’d see a reference to a musical written by Sting. A footnote told you to flip to page 142, where you’d read an as-told-to by the designer Donna Karan, who was connected to Sting’s Ashtanga teacher. A footnote on that page told you to flip to page 148 and read about The Odeon, which sported tablecloths doodled on by one of Karan’s high school classmates. And so on and so forth.
Living in or near a big city—whether it’s the electrifying center of Manhattan or the quietly buzzing outskirts of London—is often a paradoxical exercise in isolation. You’re surrounded by more people than your mere human brain could possibly compute. And yet it’s easy, natural even, to close yourself off to the tidal wave of stimuli, tuning out the sea of voices and faces as instinctively as you would an inane AM radio station.
But New York’s anniversary issue essentially said, “Fuck that.” It illustrates how we’re all more intertwined than you’d believe, how finding a meaningful connection is no more difficult than turning the page.