New York City! A Changed Perception

The way we perceive something has a major impact on how we respond to a stimulus or how we visualize our environment. Perception is defined as, “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression”. We can hear about a place in the world or an action taking place in a distant location and then make a judgement call as to what is right or wrong. The same is true of a 15 second news segment on television or a 30 second segment on the radio. Based on what we hear or see from someone acting as an information gatekeeper we perceive what is truth. This can lead to misconceptions of what is good and what is bad.


Growing up in the deep South I had heard about the poor attitudes that could be expected from people living in New York City. I had never met a true New Yorker but what was shown on television or movies led to a perception that was not favorable for a country boy from rural North Louisiana. Then I met a guy from New York who said that the city is not like the countryside and the best way to get the attention of a city person was to be very rude; then the interface will be OK. Of course I later saw Saturday Night Fever on the big screen and the character depicted by Travolta proved that the arrogance was alive in New York. The perception of egotism and lack of empathy for fellow man was set in granite. Then a strange thing happened; Bonnie and I went to New York for a visit and what a pleasant surprise.
The perception of streets lined with the homeless was not to be seen. In a week we saw maybe three people living on the street and that was only because that was where they wanted to live. I had also visualized people standing with their hands out begging for money. This too never materialized. We saw no beggars nor pick pockets nor witnessed any crime. It quickly became a delightful experience. The people working in the tourist industry were extremely helpful and on occasion a worker for one company would be seen assisting another company. No hustling, no rip offs; my perception of New York City quickly changed.
Then one evening we walked into a restaurant next to our hotel. Italian cuisine is my weakness so the Pasta Lovers restaurant was a natural to visit. The food was extraordinary and rivaled anything we ate in Rome but it wasn’t the food that made the restaurant so special; it was the employees. Within minutes it felt like we had known the people for years. Deadra and Dennis busted the perception of how a New Yorker was supposed to act. They could have been dropped in the middle of Farmerville, Louisiana and fit right in with the locals. All the workers at the restaurant displayed the same demeanor and it was refreshing to see that the long time perceptions of New York evaporated.
Perhaps if we take the time to get out and meet our fellow man we can better understand each other. Perception is replaced with fact as we have interface with our humanity. Look at the news media stories and take a pragmatic view. Unfortunately, we witness slants that many incorrect perceptions are developed from so it is important to separate fact from fiction. Above all, don’t arbitrarily take multimedia at face value. There are good aspects to multimedia but there is also false information that skews our perceptions.
God Bless America, God Save the Ukraine and Pray for Israel.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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