Sunday, July 18, 2010

listen up NY, there's a listener in WSP

Good news for introverts and extroverts alike – there's someone to listen in New York City parks.  Her sign says "Will Listen (No Catch, No Cost)" and she's ready to hear whatever is on your mind.

The Listener introduces herself when chatting with you but tries to remain publicly anonymous.  She began her listening project as a personal experiment in March 2010 and plans to continue through October or when the weather turns bitter.

She lives in Manhattan, has a day job as a secretary, and conducts her listenings on weekend afternoons, rotating parks throughout the boroughs.

"I thought, what would the world say if you said you would listen?" she explained.

And the world tells her a variety of things.  Per session, usually two or three people take a seat to chat. She hears small annoyances, difficult trials, and exciting news, everything from family griefs to job promotions.

Though she awaits completion of the project before making overall conclusions, she reported learning from the human connection.  She enjoys seeing herself through the connection with others, and how "in the end, we're all people" with similarities and eccentricities.  She explores the human need to relate with others, even just to say you like the weather.

Though no park ranks as a favorite, "in Washington Square Park, there is always entertainment," she admitted, smiling at a nearby solo dancing and magic act.

On Saturday, she visited WSP.  Her park rotations are not predetermined but she has thus far visited most parks more than once.

So if you find yourself in a New York City park and have the need to talk, look around for the Listener.  She's there to hear your deepest darkest secrets or your simplest exclamations.

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