|The New York Optimist
The Dynamic of Organic
My name is Eve and I adore Manhattan, the epicenter of culture, electric energy and
people. I have lived in this city all my life and often wonder what the definition of a real
New Yorker is. Perhaps, it is the woman selling metro cards behind the thick glass of
her lonely booth or maybe it’s the Wall Street hedge funder who isn’t having such a
great year in the market. It could be the Upper East Side socialite teetering down 5th
avenue in stilettos or the lower west side hipster uncovering the newest bar. Luckily for
me, my “real New Yorker” happens to be a friend.
New York is the perfect place for the young to find themselves for, here, in this liberal
place, there are millions of ways to find the “true you.” There are constantly changing
health trends that help young New Yorkers cleanse both body and mind. My friend Larry’
s methods toward self discovery are unorthodox at best and he is my definition a true
open-minded New Yorker. He is a self proclaimed “objective thinker” who marches to
the beat of his own drum. For example, he once grew a Jew-Fro to spite the balding
masses. Most days he lives as a soul searcher who dropped out of college to read books
or finance journals because he was tired of learning “only pieces of the whole picture” in
the education system and decided to be his own teacher. Other times he is an artist who
creates with strokes of color and imagination, apprenticing for an aging Russian painter
and visiting the Met for inspiration. Somewhere, between all this, he is the one who finds
time to discover small cafés in the Village and enroll in Chinese pole climbing class. He is
the most “New York-esque” person I know, not only because he loves this city, but
because, like many young Manhattanites, he follows its example of the New York City
movement which Larry harnessed to find his optimal self.
When I first met Larry, he was a chunky quiet boy who looked much younger than his
age. His round fleshy face was offset by kind brown eyes and perfectly straight white
teeth. Though puberty was far behind him, his pallid skin was covered in adolescent-like
pimples and he had yet to grow a single facial hair. A “late bloomer” was what my
friends used to call him. Inside, however, Larry far exceeded his age. He looked like he
was sixteen, though he was really twenty, but spoke about life like the wisest old man.
He was a loner, and preferred to be in the company of no more than two people.
However, because he was an artist, he enjoyed observing people in order to “see what
was inside.” He attended self help groups for fun and played the stock market, often
making thousands of dollars. Within him there were characteristics of every kind of New
Yorker rolled into one. Some days he was the struggling artist, other days he was the
Wall Street hotshot with money burning a hole in his pocket. However,
one of Larry’s main problems was that he could never finish what he started and could not find his niche. Like the city itself, his mind could never sleep and his eccentric
personality always left him hungering for more purpose.
Luckily, around the time that Larry was looking for himself, Manhattan had a sudden boom in the natural groceries market. The movement had caught on like wildfire and
every trendy New Yorker was now a Whole Foods shopper. This development had interested Larry who was always seeking original ways to better himself and he decided
to investigate. He was tired of being a sickly chubby boy with a mess of brown curls on his head. He wanted to get into shape and find what the Greeks called
“symmetry.” So he decided to only eat green organic vegetables and drink pure water. I called him crazy and rejected his odd behavior, but what I didn’t realize was that
Larry was just being true to the spirit of a real young New Yorker, a person who lives his or her life unapologetically and unconventionally.
Having not spoken to Larry for three months after his bold claim to only eat organic meals, I, an unbeliever, invited him to the beach to see if there was any progress. The
man who rang my doorbell was not the boy I used to tease. Instead of a pimply teenager, I saw a handsome young man with short hair; the only things that had remained
as I remembered them were his sweet brown eyes and toothy smile. His skin was a glowing shade of bronze and his hair no longer resembled poodle fur. The body that
was once covered in an endearing layer of fat was now muscular, but the most shocking thing of all was the curly black hair growing from his chin…a beard! “What
happened to you, Larry” was all I managed to mumble. “Organic Food, and I’m not Larry anymore. I’m Larion,” he responded in a deep voice. He had decided to change
his name to break ties with his old self and come entirely into his new identity as a happy healthy young New Yorker.
Larion would often speak of himself in three parts: the body, the mind and the soul and
claimed that one day they would all be in perfect balance. Larion, the constant seeker
who spent each day in Manhattan to find his purpose, had finally achieved the
perfection of the physical and he had done this with the indirect help of New York City.
This was the place which made organic food trendy because it had people open minded
enough to try it. Larry had been an anti-social boy who spent most of his time hiding
behind his hair and refused to leave his house, but Larion was a tall well built product of
the New York City organic trend. He turned to this city for help by getting into the
movement and made it a lifestyle. Since it became a standard of living, this was the one
thing that Larion both started and kept up because, in essence, he broke the pattern of
never being able to finish what he began. After he lost sixty pounds and toned his body
in Asian fitness class, he was better able to nourish his mind and soul. He finally
completed his artworks, which were usually messy and unfinished and settled in on the
goal of pursuing independent stock trading. One could say that, ironically, it was food
that satisfied Larion’s appetite for enlightenment. He claims that when he opened his
mind to the idea of better cleaner food, his body thanked him by giving him a clearer
Anyone who lives in New York and is surrounded by its people knows that this is a forward thinking city filled with avant-garde inhabitants who are willing to try new
things in order to better themselves. Larion is one such person for he represents the New York of the young, the free spirited and the unafraid. With his unusual ways he
stands as a shining beacon for the philosophy of those who live an irregular life.
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