Manhattan is about to become a full-on college town again. This weekend is probably your last shot at small-town quiet for nine months.
One of the great things about this place is the cycle of change. Every year in mid-August, 20,000 young adults show up here, injecting the town with adrenaline. All of a sudden, there’s an energy in the air, and dozens of interesting things happening all over.
That’s always a welcome moment.
Then, in May, they all leave, and what’s left is a small Midwestern town. The quiet, the way you can easily find parking places, the slow pace, the way you know most of the faces you see at the grocery store — that’s all welcome at that point, too. It feels a lot like a pressure-release valve.
Well, the moment of transition is about to arrive. To a degree, it already has: Aug. 1 leases mean many college students have already shown up, moving their stuff into apartments and rental homes near campus.
But the critical mass won’t show up for a little while, since the dorms and Greek houses aren’t open yet, and classes don’t start until Aug. 26.
We are, of course, ready for the excitement of fall: Football games, the marching band showing up unannounced in restaurants, the Landon Lectures, all of it.
But there’s something sweet still to enjoy, for those of us here right now. Take a look around you this weekend. Savor the small-town things you’ve begun to take for granted again this summer. Take it a little slow if you can. Do nothing, if possible, just for a while.
Because the annual adrenaline shot is about to arrive.