new york i love you

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“I’d known since I was 5, when my parents forced me to move to California, that I was going to live in New York eventually and that everything in between was just a horrible intermission. I’d spent those sixteen years imagining what New York was going to be like. I thought it was going to be the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place that you could ever live in; a place where if you really wanted something, you might be able to get it; a place where I’d be surrounded by people I was dying to be with. And I turned out to be right.” – Nora Ephron, my first New York

it’s been a little over five years since i moved to new york. upon my arrival, i was shy, inexperienced, and unprepared post-college for what the city was about to throw my way. i thought i was ready. we always do, don’t we? i was wrong, of course. i’d idealized new york to be, like nora ephron says, the most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place you could ever live in, and while this was true, it was also the scariest, toughest, most intense place you could ever live in.

and yet, five years later, i’m still here.

it was only about 2 years ago that the city started to truly feel like home. i like to think i have two homes – one in northampton, where i grew up, and two, here in new york – but the truth is, for my first few years here, i ran away quite often. i still do, of course, but now, when my metro north train chugs into grand central station, or i drive across the GW bridge and see the hudson shimmering alongside me, i get this strange tingling feeling that spreads from the tip of my hair to the bottom of my toes, and i think, i’m home.

and that feeling, in and of itself, is pretty darn magical.

last weekend, as my friend alissa and i walked home at 2am along third avenue, we saw two spotlights shoot straight into the sky from downtown, like alien invaders along lower manhattan. and we both were silent for a second, or maybe even thirty, as we looked down toward the former site of the twin towers. it’s strange being a newer inhabitant of this city on september 11th. i wasn’t here when the towers collapsed. i wasn’t here for the smoke, or the rubble, or the horrific days that followed. i can’t exactly relate to those who were here when it happened.

but i always feel a strange combination of pride and sadness on this day, even as a new york city newbie. because now that i call this city home, and i truly feel that home in my heart, september 11th approaches, and i find myself with this overwhelming sense of don’t fuck with us, combined with feelings of i’m so sorry this happened to you, new york and this is the best city in the whole entire world, i’m sure of it.

nora ephron was right. this is most exciting, magical, fraught-with-possibility place you could ever live in. it’s the most wonderful city in the world. new york, the city, picks up its people when they fall down. and you know what? new yorkers pick up their city when it falls, too. for as impatient, and as rude, and as in a hurry as new yorkers are made out to be (and sometimes are, let’s be honest), they’re also some of the strongest, ballsiest, smartest, most interesting people out there. and above and beyond all that, they’re loyal to a fault,  to both their city, and their fellow citizens.

and that’s what makes new york the best place in the entire world. i’m sure of it.

new york, today is for you. i’m so happy to call you my home.

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