New York City is Me; I am New York City

I’m leaving NYC! Who would have thought that day would come?! Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I always wanted to live in this city. I was lucky enough to be able to do that for the last two years. Now, as I get ready to leave the city, I think back to why I wanted to move here in the first place. One part of it is my familiarity with the big city milieu. I grew up in big cities for most of my life. To me, the sound of city traffic is the perfect lullaby. City lights, however bright and offensive, are my favorite night light. Large crowds, with all the elbowing and claustraphobia, give me a sense of security. What place better than NYC to experience all of this? There is an energy and spirit to the city that is all unique to NYC…but that’s not all of it. Because there is something unique to every place in this world, right?
There is something perfect about this city for people like me, introverts who like the comfort of large crowds, as paradoxical as that sounds. In a city of 8.3 billion people, you would think being alone is a luxury. But I think the opposite is true. In a city of 8.3 billion people, you are as alone as you would be in the middle of the desert. Except substitute sand dunes with scrapers, yellow cabs and street vendors. It’s true; you are but a face in the crowd, your hopes and dreams are no bigger than the person standing next to you in the subway. You are both headed in your own direction; no one really cares where you are headed as long as you are not in their way. That’s why I love this city, because I can get lost in the crowds. To people who pass me by in the street, I might be someone wearing a fun shoe or with a bad hair day, but not much more. But what is beautiful about being lost in the city, is that you choose the places and people that make you feel at home. There’s no one area of the city that truly represents NYC’s spirit. Some swear by the village, some by Upper East Side and some by Gramercy Park. Some would rather have the other boroughs over Manhattan real estate prices. But really NYC is what you make it out to be; you choose the people and places that mean the most to you and let them become close to your heart.

I have places like that in the city: little coffee shops in west village where I can be the writer I want to be, while over caffeinating myself. Swanky restaurants and lounges in meatpacking with rude doormen, where I can feel glamorous and Sex and the City-esque. Dumpy dive bars in upper west side, where I can continue to be a lush college student. Luscious spots in central park where I can pretend I don’t live in a concrete jungle. Of course, my favorite Riverside Park, where the Hudson lays gently by the city, and you realize Manhattan is but a tiny island in a large sea. Sometimes, I feel like a New Yorker most, when I am sitting in the subway, reading posters for erectile dysfunction or a new TV show, listening to some homeless person tell his story of what makes his plight unique, and if I am lucky, listening to a great street musician.

I guess when I think back to why I wanted to move to this city, and why I am so heartbroken to leave, I can sum it up in two sentences: New York City is Me; I am New York City. This is the place that let me grow up, live for myself, decide who I wanted to be, where I found my passions. It is where, sometimes sitting on a lone park bench at dusk, watching the city skyline burst into an illuminated frenzy, life makes sense. New York City is proof of chaos theory: underlying the chaos, there are patterns, and in those patterns, I found me.

And I promise not to end the post with a verse from Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind, as tempted as I am.

I love you New York.

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