Posted by: broshe on Jul 17, 2012
As a young girl, I dreamed of Hollywood, but in my 20s I wasn’t exactly attracted to America in the same way, perhaps because of the Cold War and the fact that I lived in Berlin, which at the time was still a divided city. It was a fl uke that I ended up going on an art trip to Manhattan in October 1991 with my Polish graphic design professor. However, the moment I landed in The Big Apple, I felt like I was coming home, which was a total surprise to me.
I’d traveled extensively and been to Africa and lots of beautiful cities all over Europe, but I’d never experienced this intense sense of belonging anywhere else. I felt immediately compelled to separate myself from my student friends because when you’re in a group, you can’t listen to your inner voice so clearly. I really felt I needed to walk around the city on my own. One evening I was sitting by myself on a bench in Washington Square Park when I had a glorious epiphany.
As I sat on the bench, I saw the early-evening skyline lit up behind the historic park as I watched two policemen majestically riding by on horseback. I must have spontaneously tapped into the—I guess what you could call—quintessential collective “American Dream,” one of the most exciting dimensions of human potential. I could literally see thousands of souls arriving from the old countries and landing in great anticipation on Ellis Island.
I could feel the hopes and prayers of these ambitious, courageous people, each in their own way eagerly wanting to shed their past in the pursuit of their new future. As they reached for their highest goals, they erected skyscraper after skyscraper until the city itself became a living statement of human ambition in all of its glory and brutality.