Three Weeks In, OR a Love Letter to New York City

Dear New York,

One of my guy friends put it best when he put both palms flat against the windows of my dorm room, peered downwards at the Lower East Side, and declared, “I fucking love you.”

I can safely say that New York, I fucking love you, too.

5th Avenue on a weekend afternoon

I love how the cars outside my window never stop going by. I love how I can still see on the subways and at cafes that there’s still very much a culture of novel-reading. I love how the buildings on 5th Avenue just north of midtown look when I apply all my gratuitous color filters and gradients to them in photographs. I love how a simple little card with a magnetic stripe can get you anywhere in the city. I love how bars leave funny messages on chalkboard easels outside their doors. I love how, on some streets, every single car that goes by is a distinctive yellow cab. I love seeing how excited tourists are as they pass me by, and I love giving them subway directions when they ask. I love feeling surrounded by the familiar in Chinatown — the same supermarkets and bubble tea places I’d see back home in Houston.

Soho on a Saturday

I love how there’s such a noise gradient as you move farther and farther south down the island from the Upper East Side. I love how strangers on the subway aren’t embarrassed to headbang to whatever they’re listening to on their iPods. I love how midnight here is just a number on a clock, not a deadline for turning in at the end of the day. I love that Times Square is lit up way into the early hours of the morning. I love how easy it is to transport myself to meet up with friends from work during our evening downtime. I love how I once chanced upon a mass yoga event in Bryant Park. I love how young people in SoHo dress only for themselves and wear only what they love. I love how I’m never more than a block or two from a Starbucks, even if I don’t actually know it. I love how I can look down an avenue in the early evening and see right down to its end, where the buildings have gone hazy with distance and heat. I love reading a book on a bench in the shade in Central Park.

Bryant Park at evening

I love that when I tumble out of bed in the morning, the first thing I see is a line of cars streaming in from across the Williamsburg Bridge. I love that when I’m heading to work, each subway ride feels different, never repetitive. I love talking slow walks down tree-lined West Village streets where every store has a rainbow flag in the window. I love how I never seem to see the same face twice. I love that the human density of the city is such an equalizing force. I love how parts of the city look so old once you look beyond the first floor of retail shops. I love that there’s a halal food cart on nearly every corner. I love how you can stumble upon delightful surprises while actively seeking something else entirely. I love how performers in the park bring their own music and do their own thing like no one’s business. I love how impromptu craft jewelry fairs appear in parts of the Bowery, and an artist might stop to explain to you their creative process with a pair of hammered, oxidized, lacquered earrings.  I love that macarons aren’t that hard to find.

Times Square in daylight

I love that I never feel like I absolutely have to be anything while I’m here, or even have a project, though I know I’d also love being occupied here. I love that I feel productive just by watching waves of people move around me and by shuttling around all over the city for no real reason at all. It’s a kind of anxious, high-speed, high-energy aimlessness, and it’s beautiful.

We got off to a shaky start, but I really fucking love New York.

Much love (as repeatedly stated),

Me

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