Some people call it the greatest city on earth; some think it’s a shithole of vice and greed, cramped living spaces, noise, dirt, and way too many immigrants and tourists. I think it is all of these things and more. New York is a city that you can hear, taste and smell. It’s a place you can feel. And for the past 12 years I have been lucky enough to think of it as home. This is the city where I grew up in a sense, got married, learnt what I wanted to do with my life, made some awful mistakes, got some shit right, and above all collected a crazy, amazing group of friends.
In a few months I won’t live here anymore. I haven’t been able to write about this until now because I was in denial. If-I-pretend-I-am-not-moving-then-I-am-not-moving type of thing. But I am, and as I look out of the window here at Aroma Café on 72nd street (a neighborhood I very rarely find myself in), I wonder what I will miss most about the Big Apple. Will it be public transport, the Hudson River, summer in New York, the variety of everything from food to the classes you can sign up for, the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station, the skyline, or Brooklyn (!)?
I will probably miss all of it, but if I had to pick just one thing it would be the people. I love New Yorkers. They are resilient, can do with little, walk fast, dress well, come from all over the world and are from every walk of life. They are in a hurry (because the left home later than planned and the R train isn’t running), they complain a lot (‘Fucking snow’), look pissed off (‘Fucking cabbies’), are pissed off (‘Fucking pedicure place shut down’) but can be very kind if you are new or lost. They have created a city that embraces you no matter how strange your parents think you are and then that protects you from the narrow-mindedness that exists elsewhere in the world.
Leaving New York won’t be hard – the people…well that’s a whole other thing.