Our lives are made up of thousands of stories. Those stories are made up of infinite moments that shape who we are and how we perceive the world. I love hearing people’s stories. I love getting a brief glimpse into their lives. Which is one of the reasons I love the blog, Humans of New York (HONY). HONY captures one moment from one person’s story and shares it with the world.
The sites founder, Brandon Stanton, takes a photo of a person (or group of people) and asks them a question related to the subject’s life. The posting combines a quote and a photo.
As its name suggests, it takes place in New York, but it could really be almost anywhere. The people featured represent the wide variety of ages, sexes, races and lifestyles that are lived out almost everywhere.
Sometimes the quotes are full of wisdom, other times silliness, but I have found them all interesting. Some of my favorite examples include:
- A man in August 2013 said, “Technology is ruining people. I work in fashion, so I was at a fitting last Thursday. And there was a girl there – she was the assistant of the assistant. She had one job. One job. She was supposed to hand pins to the assistant. But when the assistant needed a pin, she was texting on her phone. One job.”
- An elderly woman in September 2013 shared, “Don’t tell me what to do, and I won’t tell you what to do. That’s my motto. I have a lot of feelings about the decisions of my family members, but I don’t ever offer my opinion unless I’m asked. And that’s why I’m still invited to parties.”
- When asked in January what he would change if he could change one thing about adults, a young boy answered, “A lot of them are grumpy.”
- A young man in May said, “Nobody came to my tenth birthday party. I have a very vivid memory of helping my mother set the table, then watching through the window as the sun slowly set, before finally realizing that nobody was coming. That moment pretty much set the themes for the rest of my life.”
- A woman in May said, “My husband got a rare tumor called Acoustic Neuroma, which required surgery. We started out as being recovery minded. We put all this energy into healing, and trust in Western medicine, and believing that everything was going to be just fine. Then at some point we had to accept that it’s not going to get back to normal. And it’s not going away. And it’s not that we aren’t trying hard enough. It just is.”
I think one of the things I value most about HONY’s approach is the respect it conveys of the subjects. Whether the person is a businessman or a homeless person, they are shared with the public as equals. We see in these captured moments a person that is real, but most importantly, a person who matters.
It serves as a good reminder to me that we are all in this life together, just trying to figure it out the best we can.
Check it out for yourself by visiting the HONY website or on Facebook. Please note, some content may not be appropriate for all readers. These are real people, with real stories, sharing real emotion.
Heather B joined Empathia in 2004 and is a Communications Specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Studies through Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.