The Art in Odd Places (AiOP) curator Radhika Subramaniam asked me if I would do another edition of Dreams for Free as part of the AiOP Critical Mass event on 14th Street. Previously I had committed to the afternoon of October 18, but ultimately decided to spend another afternoon interacting with strangers in NYC. Instead of walking along the street and approaching people like we had done the previous afternoon, Janie and I put up a table with my Dreams for Free banner. We chose a location where there was good sunlight and lots of pedestrian traffic—the northwest corner of 2nd Ave and 14th Street—in front of the Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Shortly after setting up, we realized that our table was on the route of a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk/run. Throughout the afternoon we were engulfed in sporadic pink swarms. These walkers were focused on their task and were not interested in dreaming. I wondered how many would give the money to cancer research if they enabled themselves to pause and take a chance on winning millions.
Some people we met already had millions of dollars and were enjoying the “good life.” After years of hard work, one couple recently sold their production company and finally had time to explore. They were riding their bikes that afternoon and the Art in Odd Places event was one of their activities for the afternoon. I wish I knew which dreams were theirs—instead their papers got mixed into the stack with everyone else’s. One person would buy 1000 unlimited Metrocards and hand them out to strangers, which I feel is in key with Dreams for Free.
One man wanted to pay his ex wife to come back to him. A self-proclaimed “poor Jewish boy” hoped to fall in love with a beautiful Arab woman and believed that millions of dollars would help him on his quest. It probably wouldn’t hurt.