I lived in New York City for 3 years. Some people consider themselves New Yorkers before ever moving here, saying that you are a New Yorker as soon as you feel like one. ‘Real New Yorkers’ will say to be a true New Yorker you have to be born here. My cousin, who is a ‘real New Yorker,’ called me one after surviving my second New York winter. But I’m leaving now, so I think my card is getting revoked. Real New Yorker or not, I feel quite comfortable here. I love the City’s chaos, diversity, and even it’s inevitable dirty-ness.
On the subway one morning, I heard a woman say, “why do people love New York so much, it’s so dirty.” You can’t have 8 million people living in a 10 mile radius and expect it to be spotless. I think that’s what I love about it the most. New York doesn’t try to be perfect. Much like its residents, it’s gritty. That doesn’t stop a million people from visiting the city every day from all around the world. New York doesn’t have to say she’s the best, she knows.
I have a close friend that lives in another city that isn’t New York, and whenever he finds some article stating why his city was better than mine he’d share it on my Facebook page for the world to see. I didn’t need to post anything on his page, that would just be overkill.
I love New York City. No where in the city do I feel out of place. I’ve been in the most expensive lounges of Manhattan where the bill comes out to what most people anywhere else pay for rent, and I’ve also been to ghetto clubs in East New York where gun shots interrupt the night. I’ve learned to walk faster. I’ve learned to talk faster. I’ve even learned to navigate the subways and even give directions. Uptown. Downtown. Brooklyn-Bound. Queens-Bound.
I’ve gotten to experience a New York snow storm, where I walked half an hour at 4am to get home. I got to see the busiest city in the world come to complete stand still. I literally walked past only one other person. He was an older gentleman who was removing the snow from his car. He was a ‘Real New Yorker.’
I’ve eaten food from all around the world without ever leaving the city. My favorite food hands down is from the halal cart in my neighborhood, Forest Hills. A combo platter of rice, beef, chicken, and lamb smothered with white sauce.
I’ve walked past live movie sets while walking to work. I would see trailers lined up, taking up whole blocks. One time I even got to witness how a fight scene is shot, and a car chase being filmed with a crane.
I’ve worked for a few New York City startups, I started my own, served large corporations, and even worked for the city government that helps the whole thing run. I took on projects with New York City Fashion Week, NY Cruise, and met the Mayor! For the past year and a half I worked in the financial district. My office was literally a block off of Wall Street. Every morning I walked past the freedom tower.
I love New York City.
However, I must go now. New opportunities have presented themselves more than 1000 miles away. I am leaving New York City. The city didn’t chew me up and spit me back out like it does many people. Instead, it gave me some of the greatest experiences and opportunities that I will now take with me on my new ventures. I made it here, and now I know I can make it anywhere.