UWS Encounters: ‘I Knew It Would All Be Okay’

Photo by postopp1.

By Carol Tannenhauser

If you are seized by a desire to help in this extraordinary time, it does not require a medical degree. You can start small. An UWS man discovered that by making eye contact with and offering a smile to strangers he passed on the street (at a distance), he could make some people feel better. One of his recipients stopped and told him so.

Here is this week’s lovely, but lonely UWS Encounter. It is a smile of a story. Watch the video that follows it for the full experience.

“I knew it would all be okay.”

Two days after moving to the UWS from D.C., I took my first subway commute as a real New Yorker from 72nd St. to Christopher St. to start my job. Sure, I’d ridden the subway during visits, but I was shocked at the crowds. After three trains came and went, I realized a Monday morning commute would take more gumption and finally elbowed myself on. When I did, my fellow commuters and I were treated to an upbeat a capella rendition of “This Little Light of Mine,” which I took as a good sign. After two years, I changed jobs and while taking the 1-2-3 to my last day of work, I got melancholy thinking about how I’d miss my easy Upper/Lower West Side commute. Just then, the same a capella group, whom I had not seen or heard since that day, struck up a rendition of the same song and I knew it would all be ok.

-Heather Sabharwal

Let your light shine. Send an encounter or experience you’ve had in the neighborhood to westsiderag@gmail.com — 175 words or less, real names, please. Your words could make a lot of other people feel better or not alone. In light of current circumstances, we’ll also accept mini essays and reflections about life on the UWS during the Coronavirus crisis. If we post your words, we’ll give you a byline and a WSR mug.

For a jumpstart, read more of our Encounters columns here.

COLUMNS | 8 comments | permalink
    1. JS says:

      Great song! Nice video.

    2. BB says:

      If you want to help, then stop buying out everything so people can buy their normal supplies. Stop massing in a few stores, creating lines and crowds and the best opportunity for people to catch something from each other.

    3. Pat says:

      Lovely. We all needed that!

    4. SBG says:

      Thank you for this Carol. You are shining so much light for your readers with West Side Rag.

    5. RH says:

      Honest question to the people who waited in Trader Joes line around the block, you do know there are like 4 grocery stores within 1000 ft.

    6. West 90th Street Jeff says:

      D’Agostino’s market is on Columbus Avenue and 91st Street. It is well stocked and its checkout lines are not as long as at Fairway.
      Mani Market on Columbus Avenue and 94th Street stocks fresh produce, freshly roasted coffees, well-stocked dairy, etc., and its prices are competitive with Trader Joe.

      Just take a look around and ask yourself, do you really need to join a line around the block or would you like to get your shopping done quickly and efficiently?

    7. Filatura says:

      Lovely story!
      Hope your new job — or whatever your next journey –brings you more great encounters.

    8. Barbara says:

      Great song and video!!