One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it felt.
I love New York the way a dog loves sticking its head out the window of a car. The rush of adrenaline that swallows you when you emerge from the Penn Station subway stop. It’s all-consuming, electrifying. There’s no telling what New York could make out of you.
But what I love most about New York is my own smallness. The overlapping of life stories. The convergence of dreams.
I’m laying on the couch of a friend’s Manhattan Valley apartment, the window open. Just around the corner is Amsterdam, and the cacophony of city life dances down the side street, up the side of this 5-story walk-up, and into this small living room. I smile as I consider my own insignificance. I know only a handful of people in this city of more than 8 million. My comings and goings, my dreams and aspirations, my plans for today, tomorrow…it all joins the chorus. One of many voices. New York reminds you that you play a small but significant role.
When I got back to DC after a short weekend trip up to the Apple, the cab driver who picked me up from the train station to take me home asked me if I was going or coming. Was DC a visit or home? Home, I told him,from a weekend in New York. “That’s the way to do it,” he told me. “New York is too busy, too crowded and loud. It’s great, but you wouldn’t want to live there.” I smiled, nodded, said nothing and thought, I would.
Written in 2011. Modified in 2014.