I’ve been reading a little book of short stories called My First New York. It’s a collection of anecdotes from the New Yorker, from famous writers, actors, chefs, people of note for various reasons, recalling what it was like when they first got to NYC (and without iphones too! Say whaat?)
So as I round out my first full year here, I’ve been thinking about what my story would be. It’s not about how the city hazes you upon arrival, to make sure you really want it. Or how things that can go wrong will, apartment hunting is virtually impossible and being lost is a given. It’s more about being starstruck every time you happen to catch the Chrysler building lit up in its art deco glory (and how like a big idiot you might get it confused at first with the Empire State building…)
For me, it’s the pleasure of walking to work through one of the greatest cities on earth, every day. Lately, I have a brisk 35-40 minute walk from the East Village, through Soho to Tribeca. It feels like name-dropping to say so. I nearly skip through the streets it’s so damn beautiful. And real. It’s not flawless like neighborhoods norther and wester. But the dog poop is picked up and the garbage is cleared and the flower boxes are trying their hardest. And right now, somehow, the weather is at its peak for who knows how much longer.
The mornings are unbeatable. In the morning, it’s just the residents. Everyone is on their way to somewhere, walking with purpose and neatly dressed. Some ride bikes, or push ergonomically designed strollers. Others have dogs and the rest have coffees and are wearing headphones that play whatever soundtrack their lives are leading at the moment. There’s even less honking somehow.
This piece may look a little different if/when I start taking the train to work, and when walking 40 minutes in the summer heat turns everything to dumpster. But until then, I’ll bask in my first New York.