Author: <span class="vcard">Andrew Battista</span>

By Andrew Battista

June Featured Essay

A commercial for New York University’s Langone Medical Center, of all things, got me thinking about what it means to live in New York City. The spot begins with a shot of Grand Central Station’s atrium. We hear the sound of someone playing a clarinet as a cluster of people walk by. Some of them pause briefly to appreciate the music, while others scurry on to their next job, meeting, or social engagement. After a couple of seconds, we see the clarinetist for the first time and realize that he’s no run-of-the-mill street performer. Dressed in leather shoes and a blazer, the man paces as he plays a flawless jazz solo. He smiles and makes eye contact with people walking by.

While this is happening, a narrator frames the scene as a commentary on life in New York: “What brings us here, to this place with the coldest winters and the hottest summers?” the voice asks. “We don’t come here to retire. We come here to live, to be challenged, to be inspired.” Next, we see the most inspired character in this commercial, a woman in the crowd. She bends down and takes out her own instrument, a violin she happens to be carrying, and leads the clarinetist into an extemporaneous, yet improbably polished, duet. The narrator reminds us that New York is “a city that demands fresh thinking and duly rewards it.”

Andrew Battista

By Andrew Battista

Response to “The Beauty of Education

I’m so happy that Beth’s essay, “The Beauty of Education,” is the inaugural post on The Whole Horse Project, and I’m fortunate that I’ve had the chance to think about it, off and on, for the past month. She made me work hard to connect several things—beauty, education, expertism, satiety, and the physical body—I don’t always associate. I hope the subsequent essays on this site operate similarly.

Beth’s essay stirs me to think about my own life in education. How much education is enough, and is the idea of being a “lifelong learner” bad dogma? What does it mean to become an expert in something? And, what does it mean to experience the world? This last question has always flummoxed me.

Editorial Responses