A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 60:…and the Silver Goes to U.S.

August 25th · 1 Comment

Tonight I walked into a bar called the Big Easy on Second Avenue to catch the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Only four people sat at the bar and I joined them to catch the contribution of London, which will host the 2012 games.

Sixteen days earlier, China had opened the Olympics with thousands of drummers, gymnasts and musicians working in perfect harmony to create the most stunning stadium ceremony I’d ever seen; a cop I met at a bar said it was so beautiful it moved him to tears.

In response, Britain deployed…a double-decker bus.

On it, Jimmy Page wailed away on the guitar and Leona Lewis sang in a miniskirt, and then, to put an exclamation point on things, David Beckham appeared and kicked a soccer ball, which hit a Chinese volunteer in the head.

“That was totally lame,” said the bartender.

After some commercials, the Chinese resumed with yet another synchronized multitude. Hundreds of people in red and silver outfits together climbed this giant wedding-cake structure, looking for all the world like a swarm of cockroaches.

“There’s so many of them!” yelled a woman drinking whiskey. “They are going to come to America and take over our shit!”

The Games started on 8.8.08 and ended with China winning more golds than anyone and a numerologically-fortunate 100 medals overall, lending weight to the impression that China and its billions are poised to overrun the world and America with it, climbing up the skyscrapers of New York and into its boardrooms, unstoppable as a cloud of insects.

Of course, we are all familiar with that fear by now. What occurred to me for the first time during the closing ceremony was that China’s artistry looked fresh, even radical, compared to the guitar licks and flashy miniskirts and rockstar individualism that is today’s statement of Western culture. We have all seen those moves a million times before.

What sunk in for all of us in this East Side bar, in some way, is that along with losing the economic initiative, we may have lost the cultural one as well.

Tags: Sights & Scenes · Sports

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 sam iam // Aug 26, 2008 at 10:44 am

    ugh, God…too much to comment on!

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