I was born in Southern Florida. But my family moved to Upstate NY when I was seven (and I am still not used to the winter). We would go back and visit family at least once a year.
I remember one time, we drove (yes, drove) to Miami. While at a rest stop, I saw a truck with a confederate flag on the hood. It also had a bumper sticker that said “Welcome to Florida, now go home.” Well, alrighty then. Needless to say, I was a little scared.
So later in life, when it came time to move to NYC, I wasn’t sure how welcoming it would be. I had heard about the crime, and how rude NYers were (as evidenced in this post). Before I even set foot here, I was told which areas to stay away from completely and which neighborhoods to leave before the streetlights came on. Advice like that obviously made me nervous.
But overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how many genuinely nice people I met when I moved here. Most were not natives, but that’s part of what keeps it balanced. I got lost on the train every day for about a month. Yet, there was always someone willing to help me with directions. Once I learned (not mastered, since I sometimes need help to this day) the intricate (ratchet) subway system, I made it a point to return the favor.
Also, it doesn’t take long to form special bonds with people whose names you may never even learn (ie., your local bodega guy, the old lady that sits on her stoop, the people that run the laundromat, etc). I think NYers get a bad rep. They, I guess, we, (since I’ve lived here long enough), are a complex breed. But that doesn’t always mean something negative.
I like reading am New York and their #Chirp about it section. In it NYers share their “only in NYC” moments, good and bad. They’re pretty funny and very relatable.
Sure, there are countless things about NYC that need to be improved:
- the MTA
- smell in the summer (ok, all year round)
- “the rent is too damn high”
- the MTA
- parking woes
- lack of ventilation on subway platforms
- the pace of tourists (move!)
- dirty, overcrowded streets
- the gross disparity between the haves and have nots
- the f*n MTA
But the list of things I actually love about this city is much longer:
- being exposed to different cultures (surely a melting pot)
- hearing so many different languages on any given day
- the Arts (Broadway, Off-Broadway, museums, street murals, summer concerts, dance classes)
- comedy clubs
- day fetes in the summer
- impromptu events (street fairs)
- random performances by talented street dancers, or amazing singers (and the hilariously not-to-talented)
- the historical buildings
- the skyscrapers (they still leave me in awe)
- the skyline at night
- the Brooklyn Bridge
- the Statue of Liberty
- walking by movie sets
- celebrity sightings
- how proud and fiercely loyal NYers can be
- the way people come together in a crisis
- so many entrepreneurs and big dreamers
- THE FOOD! (and the ability to get it basically 24 hrs a day)
- my loved ones
Just to name a few. I don’t know that I can live anywhere else at this point. I’m a bit spoiled.
I mean, where else am I going to see a woman walking with a face mask (wait, should I be worried?!), a drag queen doing a photo shoot on the A train platform, a man with four large shopping carts filled with cans (a recycling super hero, if you ask me, and supernaturally strong), a half naked cowboy (and cowgirl), creepy costumed characters and a rat carrying a pizza?!