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Roofs, Summer Night by John Sloan
Roofs, Summer Night
John Sloan (1871 - 1951)

An Ode to a New York Summer

August 19, 2020

A New York City summer is intrinsically special, and is the season for which I yearn annually. Unbridled humidity permeates crowded subway cars as couples lounge hand-in-hand in the parks. Mister Softee trucks are ubiquitous and a plethora of languages fill the streets.

For me, summer in the City harks back to my own childhood experiences. I recall dragging my mother to the train station. I longed to escape from my quiet suburban town, where individuality felt muted by homogeneity. I began taking those train rides myself as I got older; glancing out the window, passing towns and villages that I knew so well.

Upon arrival in Manhattan, I was automatically enveloped by the warmth of bodies, voices, and feelings of liberation, as the glaring late-July sun beat down upon my face.

In the summertime, New York hums with humanness and connection.

John Sloan, the artist, when referring to his piece, says of New York City: “The City seems more human in the summer.” Sloan’s words seem timely, being that our present day lacks the humanity that we seek so desperately. We cannot exist with one another as we used to.

A summer in New York City represents far more than Shakespeare in the Park, the latest pop-up shop, and countless highline strolls. It is a collection of diverse human stories coming together each night to dance under the full, August moon. This year, these stories will dance alone--but they are still connected. These intertwined stories create the fabric of that which makes New York what it is; a rich city of strength, diversity, pain, love, and of hope.

I think we all need a little bit of hope right now.

Leela McClintock is a SME (Student Museum Educator), Italian Studies major, and member of the class of 2021

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