I didn’t know it was possible to fall so deeply in love with a place until earlier this year. I visited New York in April, and not a day goes by where I don’t find myself daydreaming about the crowded streets. Walking through the city just felt so right, like I had finally found my happy place, somewhere I belonged. I took so much comfort in the endless rows of office buildings and avenues and restaurants and tourists. I instantly felt at home, even though it was thousands of miles away, across an ocean.
There’s just something about the city which gave me this feeling that I’ve never experienced before. It’s like butterflies in your stomach. It’s like that weird feeling of excitement you get on Christmas Eve when everyone else is asleep. Indescribable.
I’m sure that any New Yorker will tell you the city is flawed, and I’m sure, like anywhere, it has imperfections. Yet, for those few days, it felt like perfection. I’m not sure what it is that’s so intriguing. There’s just this buzz of creativity and belonging, a sense of acceptance. I’ll never forget taking a trip through Brooklyn late one evening on an open top bus. It was simply the best night of my entire life, ever. Looking back on Manhattan after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and seeing the almost purple sky full of buildings and lights took my breath away. The Empire State Building. The Rockefeller Building. The Chrysler Building. Speechless.
Walking through New York City in the morning is another experience which gave me this sense of direction, this feeling of ‘I want to do this. I want to wake up every morning and walk these streets. I want to do something meaningful. Here,”. The buzz of tourists. The buzz of locals. The sunlight peeking through tiny gaps between the towering buildings. Coffee.
I’m not sure if people who live in New York and have a career in the city get this feeling. I’m not sure anyone does. I remember sitting with a bowl of soup in a deli and staring out the window, right at Radio City. I was eating dinner right next to Radio City. Radio. City. If you took a taxi from the exact spot I was sitting in, you could be in Times Square within five minutes, the Empire State in ten. You could dream anything, do anything, be whoever you wanted, and nobody would even bat an eyelid. At least, that’s the feeling that I was filled with.
I also remember sitting outside the Rockefeller Centre on a wooden bench, the ice rink still in place and sunlight creating a warmth on my neck. I was in one of the busiest cities in the entire world, and people were just living, just strolling around, ice-skating. Dreaming.
I want to write. I want to do something creative and meaningful. I want to be somebody. New York City is the only place which made me feel as though that could actually happen someday. It probably sounds completely cheesy, but it’s true. Imagine working and living in a place full of people who inspire you, full of so many landmarks and sights and opportunities.
We were able to explore a lot in the few days that we were there. Staten Island, Harlem, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Central Park, Brooklyn. It was so hot that I managed to burn my entire face. It was so inspiring that I managed to dream a little bigger.
Like one of those generic tourist shirts would say, I love New York City. I’d take a plane any day, despite my insane fear of flying, just to get a tiny peek at that lifestyle again, just to experience that feeling for a few seconds again. Any day.