An Open to Letter to Tim Tebow on His Move to New York City
But such close proximity brings many blessings, too. Shortly after I moved to New York, I was part of a teaching audition at which a fellow applicant spent his five minutes on the finer points of street finds—the best days and neighborhoods to locate such discarded goods, and the sorts of items one might discover.
Goods I found on the streets of Brooklyn include a mid-century cedar wardrobe, a wooden desk, a futon frame (the hardware taped to one board), enough scrap wood to build myself a bookshelf, a box of nonperishable pantry goods (such as free-range, organic chicken broth), numerous books and clothing articles, including some running shoes that fit my visiting dad. You could also be fairly certain that unneeded goods you left out on a stoop or sidewalk would find a new owner in fairly short order.
Such abandonments owe in part to the scarcity of space and nature of intra-city moves. But they also bear witness to a spirit of generosity akin to that of the early church. I believe it can show a hope in redemption, to leave out things you no longer want or need, in case someone else could find them useful and valuable. When the puzzle pieces interlock like that, city life can display real beauty.
Street finds will be harder to spot from a cab or car service, but one of my hopes for you is that New York makes a walker of you. There's a radically egalitarian quality to the sidewalks there, which celebrities and beggars, students and stockbrokers, immigrants and toddlers alike share. And I found that walking was one of the best ways I could pray in the city—both for certain blocks and the people who lived there, and things going on in my own life. (I did tend to walk at night, though, when it was quieter and I could pray aloud without embarrassment.)