If you’ve ever been to New York, you probably wanted to do one of the following:
#1. stay forever
#2. get out as soon as possible
I really haven’t seen much middle ground for this city, and I happen to fall into the #1 category. When we lived on the East Coast, I would visit New York about twice a year. Every time I came there, I wanted to stay. Here’s why:
#1. It’s instinctual, like having a crush. You aren’t sure why you like the person so much, but you just want to be with that person. You don’t need an explanation, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself that the person has flaws, you still like them. New York is like that.
#2. The energy. There is this mega vibe that the city gives out the moment you enter it. It’s drive. It’s happiness. It’s business. It’s moving forward and sweeps you off your feet with its current.
#3. The breeze. Sounds cliché, but the breeze on the streets that run from one side of the Island to another is symbolic of freedom to me. I remember standing on 6th Ave by the Time-Life Sculpture, the wind in my hair, and just feeling completely free of any restrictions or expectations.
#4. Its acceptance. New York is the most diverse place I’ve ever been to. There are no rules to the type of person you need to be. You can be whoever you want, and if you don’t like that person, change at any time, and it’s ok. Nobody will be disappointed, and plenty will accept the new “you.”
#5. Its motivation. New York is where the best of the best flock to. The competition motivates you to keep going and develop the work ethic and resilience you would have never otherwise known you had.
#6. Its history. The history of New York is really unlike any other city in America. And I like unique things.
#7. How much there is to do. I think the dream of never being bored can only be accomplished in New York. Same goes for having a good selection of, say, everything. I don’t believe there is such a thing in NYC as “we don’t carry this in our store, do you want me to call the one in _________ and ask them to ship it to you at an additional charge before you can try it on and no, you can’t return it after?”
#8. The food. This is nothing new, but if you haven’t tried the pizza and the bagels, you seriously wouldn’t understand.
#9. The real estate. There is something quality about buildings that were built 100 years ago. I am lucky to own a house that’s almost 100 years old, and its character and quality of craftsmanship could never be matched by the newer constructions. Well, New York is, for the most part, that old!
#10. The fashion. People look good in New York. In fact, when I started interviewing in Seattle, I was somewhat shocked at what people wore at professional organizations (I am afraid I may have fallen into that trap myself by now). It’s not even about designer looks, but more about looking put together and paying attention to details. Just like everything else, it’s a higher standard.
#11. The directness. People in New York don’t like to waste time, so they say it like it is, and don’t preface their interactions by useless pleasantries. This approach is widespread in the rest of the East Coast, but apparently not the case elsewhere. I am still adjusting to having to have a “nice” tone of voice and forming my sentences to include niceties. Apparently what I consider direct is considered abrasive here. (But of course, when I moved to the West Coast I was floored with how nice everyone was.) I think I would enjoy being direct again, because I hate wasting time.
#12. The subway. It reminds me of childhood when we used to visit my mom’s cousin in St. Petersburg and take the subway everywhere.
#13. Having to walk. I love to walk.
#14. The view. Another thing you wouldn’t understand if you’ve never taken the Staten Island ferry, crossed Brooklyn bridge, or had a layover at Newark airport.
#15. The unity. As diverse as New York is, when disaster strikes the city unites like no other. I had the privilege of visiting the top of the Twin Towers, and then returning to New York a few months after the tragedy of September 11th. I didn’t have to live there or have anyone say anything to understand. The unity was apparent in the silence by Trinity Church as people roamed the boardwalk approaching Ground Zero.