A New Yorker’s Love Letter to NYC

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“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” 

Frank Sinatra sang it best.  You can travel the world and there is nowhere quite like New York City.  After a recent trip, I realized I had been taking advantage of the fact that I grew up near and had the opportunity to live in Manhattan.  Although I was not born and raised in NYC, I grew up with a New Yorker’s state of mind. I am going to share my observations of the things I love about NYC, but didn’t realize until they were gone.

In no particular order

  1. Group Jaywalking.  It is the weirdest thing, but it makes you feel a strong sense of community to illegally walk across the street together.  Taking a risk as a group, knowing you are in it together, understanding that if a car speeds you are all screwed.  What a feeling.
  2. You can walk wherever.  There is something about NYC that makes a mile seem so short.  Have I ever thought about walking a mile in your suburban hometown? Yes, but it was way too far.  Have I walked a mile in NYC? Yes and then some.
  3. Stairs… and people taking them.  I am not sure if I have posted yet about stairs and escalators, but man, when did stairs become the enemy?  Taking the stairs is good for a few reasons.  The obvious: It is good for your health.  It is good for your mental health, too.  The sense of accomplishment you feel after taking the stairs is enough to turn a pessimistic morning into a positive one.  Humans need to feel productive.  If taking the stairs is the only thing you did today, you would have done something. 
  4. It doesn’t reek of cigarettes.  It is possible there are so many smells in the air that they mask it.  I have been to a few American cities during the pandemic and I did not realize cigarette smoke was still so prevalent.  When we were renting cars, we had to look at a few before there was an option that remotely smelled “smoke-free”. 
  5. The site of a yellow taxi and feeling like you’re home.  I know there are yellow taxis in other parts of the country, but they always seem so out of place when they are not in NYC.
  6. There are endless options of food to eat: domestic & international cuisine.  International cuisine in the USA is definitely something I have been taking for granted.  There is every type of food you could possibly want in NYC.  The wine selection is so diverse.  There are many different types of grocery stores and almost everything in the world can be found in NYC.  
  7. People don’t talk on the phone in public waiting rooms.  Texting and emailing may be a more popular form of communication, but at least when you are typing away, you are not annoying everyone around you.  Why someone would think everyone in the airport wants to hear their whole conversation with their friends is beyond me.  It is incredibly rude and I feel blessed that I have never experienced it in NYC.
  8. This is by far the weirdest one; the way men stare.  Now, let me explain,  I never enjoy men staring.  Most of the time it feels creepy, but at least in NYC, the men pretend they aren’t staring.  In other parts of the country, the men turned with their whole bodies to watch you walk by.  Ick.  I am getting the chills just thinking about it. 

These are just a few of my observations from a wonderful day walking around the city.  Coming back felt like it was giving me life again.  I felt a jolt of energy when I stepped out of Penn Station and onto the sidewalk.

New York City, while I must travel the world to experience other ways of life.  I am lucky that at the end of the day, I am able to call you home.  When I talk about “the city”, I will always mean you no matter where I am living.