Note to self: A reflection on New York

Everything about New York City fascinates me. Wander to any part of the city and you’ll find unique collections of structures and landscapes – each with their own story to tell. From the city’s central jungle to the surrounding concrete jungle, there’s always something new.

Moving to New York City two years ago, I already knew that I’d like it, I just didn’t realize that I’d fall in love with it.

While it was a bit overwhelming at the beginning, I quickly learned to appreciate that living here meant taking everything that the city had to offer and boiling it down to a set of things that worked for me. While New York is big enough to have almost everything, the one thing it doesn’t give you is time. The fluid nature of the city and its people means that nothing ever stays static. For this reason, everyone’s New York story will be different.

For me, my story started with a simple walk along the Hudson River during Thanksgiving 2011 (when I was an intern in the city). Escaping from the crowd of the Macy’s parade, I managed to make it to the water, and for no particular reason, just started walking along it.

Maybe it was the fact that it was a beautiful sunny day, or because it was one of those rare moments when you’ve got an entire piece of the city to yourself; whatever the case, that walk convinced me that I needed to be here.

Returning a year later to work full-time, I started to see different aspects of New York, and felt a sense of “being home”. Starting my new job, I met a ton new people who came to become my new family. Days were spent food hunting (for the best ramen, best burger, best pizza, the best “you-name-it”), seeing galleries/museums, and strolling through the city. Nights were spent bar hopping, hanging out on rooftops, or just simply hanging out.

The silliness of being young while also forming lifelong friendships was a big part of my story’s narrative. It was nice to know that you never had to really plan to find something interesting – rather, something interesting usually finds you. About a year in, I was surprised to find a sense of stability in such an inherently transient environment.

Though, as with many things in life, change comes when you least expect it. Faced with the prospect of leaving, I can’t say that I’ve tried everything that New York has to offer, or that I am “ready to leave”. That said, I understand the reality that every story has to have an ending. For mine, I’ve thought quite a bit about what it would be – coming to realize that there is really only one appropriate answer: “To be continued…”