We’ve all seen the movies, heard the songs, and read the novels romanticizing the “greatest city in the world.” New York City is the Big Apple, the City, the Melting Pot where lives from all over converge to create a bustling metropolis of wonder, excitement and success. And aren’t those components what make the grand cliche of New York? Isn’t that why everyone has grown to revere this place? Well, it’s not for me and I’m willing to bet it isn’t for a lot of you too.
I want to be in New York because it is a city of brilliance. The city is bursting with inimitable musicians and engineers and journalists and politicians who defy all preconceived notions of what it means to be “intelligent.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re an Ivy or community college graduate or perhaps even sans degree, this city measures your brains by your brawn. If you have the drive, the passion, and the savvy, this city doesn’t tell you “no.”
I want to be in New York because it’s a hub. It’s a short LIRR ride from my home on the south shore of Nassau County. Seeing mom and dad is as simple as checking a train schedule. There are four airports within an hour from midtown. There are trains and buses and taxis in a constant state of flux. You’re never stuck here. One might say that knowing there is a way out of the city at any given moment makes it a melancholy and transitory sort of place. Another might say that it’s the most inviting sort of place because there’s also always a way back in. How full is your glass?
I want to be in New York because it’s what I want. I love this city for the reasons that are trite and naive and arrogant. I love being a regular at that restaurant on MacDougal and reading in a park while some stranger dances the merengue for money in front of me. I love bar-hopping in the East Village and spending half my paycheck at happy hour. I love going on terrible dates that end in tears and my friends pick up the pieces with a raucous night of karaoke. I love being able to have a job doing what I love, even though I’m struggling to pay off my student loans.
Being an overly typical twenty-something starting her life in New York is what I want. It doesn’t matter whether you’re of the crowd who thinks this life that I want is banal or guileless. It doesn’t matter if you’re of the crowd who thinks this life is splendid or admirable. The ineffability of the city of New York is the same as the ineffability of my love for New York. So, maybe why I want to be in New York is best said by a fellow New Yorker: “I don’t have any reasons. I left them all behind. I’m in a New York state of mind.”
This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.
Posted in Essays, Life, Travel
Tagged billy joel, cliches, LIRR, manhattan, new york, new york city, The Big Apple, travel, writing
It’s been a year since I started this thing and to say, “a lot has happened” would be a grand injustice to the adventures I’ve had, the pain I’ve endured, the friends I’ve made, and the overall life I’ve lived these past twelve months. Even thinking back to last year and where I was emotionally/physically is so different than where I’m at now.
Posted in Essays, Life, Travel, Writing
Tagged an education, carey mulligan, chuck palahniuk, coldplay, florence, graduation, heartache, heartbreak, invisible monsters, italy, life, love, memories, moving out, new york city, nostalgia, october, romance, study abroad, the scientist, writing, year, year in the life
I wrote this/got home a week ago but things have been absolutely crazy so I haven’t had a chance to post… mi dispiace.
Sitting in the Florence airport awaiting my flight to go back home to New York, I can honestly say I thought this day would never come. I don’t have the tears streaming down my face as I thought I would. My stomach is churning in a weird sort of excitement and longing. I’m thrilled to see my parents today but that pull in my gut, which is clearly homesickness, is not for New York. On the way here, the bus carrying me and my near one hundred and fifty pounds of luggage drove down winding roads sprinkled with vespas, newspaper stands beckoning “La Nazione,” and road signs indicating which Italian city was where. I couldn’t help but think of how I’ll miss the rows and rows of motorbikes parked neatly on the cobblestones or the foreign signage that, at first, seemed alien but now is a more comforting familiarity than the McDonald’s golden arches.
Posted in Essays, Life, Travel, Writing
Tagged florence, friends, friendships, hawaii, italy, life, love, moments, new york, relationships, study abroad, time, true friends
I’m absolutely horrible at maintaining this blog. Anyway, that aside, now that I’ve surpassed the “one-month left” mark, I’m dwelling heavily on all the amazing things here I’m going to miss when I leave. Here’s a taste:
- Trips to Mercato Central: For several weeks after my initial arrival, that massive green roofed warehouse around the corner from my apartment was unchartered territory. There are three sets of red gated doors on each side of the building, ushering in the passersby with smells of fresh fish yet it took me quite a bit of time to finally make the move and walk through one of them. There’s nothing at home that’s remotely similar to Mercato Centrale except that the warehouse-feel is slightly reminiscent to that of Costco but even so, the relationship stops there. There are vendors every few feet and each varies vastly from the one next to it, across from it, and behind it. Some are free-form and comprised of simple yet colorful crates overflowing with pungent fruits and vegetables; others are more concrete and emulate deli counters with blocks of cheese behind domed glass, to keep the salivating tongues at bay, and slabs of meat hanging above. Mercato Centrale is such a routine stop for most of the people walking around but I can’t help but relish every trip I make there as anything but routine. Sometimes I just walk through it with no purpose or agenda to buy anything. It’s just to be there. I love it because there’s always so much happening – it’s hard not to be in a good mood when you’re there. I love it because of the chipper young girl with tired eyes who sells me the creamy rounds of Morbidoso cheese. I love it because of the butcher, who’s my father’s age, who speaks to me only in Italian. I love it because the women at the bread booth in the far left corner make the best muffins I’ve ever eaten. I love it because you don’t go to the market for food – you go for life. Continue reading
Posted in Life, Travel, Writing
Tagged beer, dragoons, europe, florence, italy, mercato centrale, student, study abroad, whitegirlproblems