Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Heart New York.

I Love New York.

I am a native New Yorker. Bronx born, Westchester raised. Manhattan was my playground as a teen and young adult. I played at Carnegie Hall was I was 16. I graduated from Graduate School on the stage at Radio City Music Hall. Whenever I am away from it for too long, there is this intense sense of yearning, a deep need to be back on those concrete streets surrounded by sights and sounds and skyscrapers. The crowds can be soothing though; One union of people all moving at the same pace. Everyone always yells at me for walking too fast, but it’s just the New York in me. Nothing can bring a tear to my eye more than seeing that famous skyline in the distance. I am proud to be a part of this amazing city with so much culture, so much history, so much vibrancy.

Some people become jaded on New York, but not me. New York is absolutely, positively the one place I could see myself living the rest of my life and never getting bored or sick of it. Sure there are a lot of things that just don’t faze me anymore (homeless people, street performers) and in those moments I wonder what brings people here from all over the world, why do people want to come to New York City? But then there are always new things to see and wonders that never cease to amaze me (festivals, artwork and yes, even the homeless and street performers at times as well) that make me go, “Oh yeah, this is why.”

New York City has been a part of all my 26 years of life and yet, I still haven’t even seen a quarter of it all. It is always changing, evolving, and becoming something different entirely but still just as amazing. Some of the best nights of my life have taken place in the City, the ones with the strongest memories that I will always hold true to my heart: Meeting new friends, having amazing times with old friends, first kisses, drunken adventures, trying new things, getting into trouble, late nights and early morning sunrises. The list could go on forever.

I always get a deep sense of pride when friends from out of town want to come to New York, especially if they have never been there before. I go crazy thinking of all kinds of things to see and places to go; Ways to show them My New York. I also get a sense of relief when they don’t want to do all those crazy, intolerably touristy things like go see the Statue of Liberty or go to the top of the Empire State Building. Time Square is enough tourist trap for me to handle. Over the years, the tourists have started to bother me less and less – mostly because I tend to stay away from tourist-laden spaces as much as I can – but I still get frustrated when people stop in the middle of the streets to read their maps and snicker when people point their cameras up at that big weird looking silver skyscraper on 42nd street to take pictures of the “Empire State Building”. (FYI – It’s the Chrysler Building.)

September 11th really affected me deeply as a New Yorker, as I’m sure it did many other New Yorkers, and it still does to this day. It was an attack on our City. Our little island in this great big world and these two amazing buildings, one of which I had the privilege to go up to the top of when I was 8 years old. I remember riding the elevator up to the 107th floor on a cold, December evening. My aunt and I had watched a performance of “The Nutcracker” in the Atrium then decided to go up to the observation deck. I went around to every window, looking at New York from all 4 sides of that building, my nose cautiously pressed up against the glass. I was in awe. The city was so huge, so expansive, and to a little girl like me, it was just impressively vast and beautiful. My aunt bought me a pink pencil shaped pencil case that had the famous New York landmarks on the side of it; The Twin Towers being one of them. When it was nicer and warmer out, you could have gone up to an outdoor observation deck as well. I never got the chance and it’s heartbreaking to think that neither I nor anyone else ever will.

I have lived in Philadelphia now for the past year, and while it is a beautiful city rich with its own history and culture, it will never be New York. It will never give me the same nervous, tingly, awestruck feeling when I look at its skyline or walk down its streets. I’ve never even ridden on the subway here, something I could do with ease and navigate blindfolded in NYC. I have made it my goal in life to move back to New York within the next five years and to live within the five boroughs until the day that I die. It’s only fitting. NYC is in my blood. It is as much a part of me as I am a part of it. A city of 8 million and growing – I want the chance to be able to finish the story that I started.

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