Paul McCartney in Manhattan
It was noon on a warm Monday in early July (July 2nd to be exact) and due to the impending holiday, one of the quietest weeks on even the busiest New York streets. I was on a lunch break from work and making my way to a dentist appointment. At the northwest corner of 5th Ave and 54th St, a man in shorts and a t-shirt exits a tinted SUV on 5th Ave and walks just a few feet in front of me, down 54th St. On the phone with my sister, I say, “Holy Sh*t! Paul McCartney just walked past me!” My sister responds, “Follow him and get a picture!” In somewhat of shock, I continue in the opposite direction of Sir Paul McCartney.
After a block, I realize that I need to see where Paul was going, pull myself together and get a picture with him (and maybe even exchange a few words). When in my life would I have this chance?!? I walk briskly back to 54th St, make a right and see him ahead. The street is quiet and only a duo ahead realize that Paul McCartney is in their presence. I am just steps behind him, with my iPhone camera application open and ready, when Paul turns to a man who is seemingly homeless (and overdressed in this extreme heat), bends down, smiles and speaks to him for a minute (I did not see whether money was handed over or not). The man, smiling, says a few words in response. I stood there, mesmerized by the moment, the juxtaposition — one of the wealthiest men in the world, alone on this hot New York City day, taking a moment to say ‘hi’ to someone on the streets that may not have a penny to their name.
This exchange was the perfect representation of compassion - social class or status did not matter, as it should not. I wanted to share this image and story because humanity can (continue) to learn from Sir McCartney. And, if you’re wondering, I couldn’t interrupt the moment and therefore I didn’t end up getting my picture with Paul, but this image will do just fine.
One time I walked past Paul McCartney in Hyde Park in London. I couldn’t figure out what to say at the time, but it still had a profound effect on me.