Growing up, I always heard people say they did not want to raise their children in the city. Like city kids were wild animals left loose. I grew up in the city, and I think I turned out okay! There is so much ingrained in me as a result of being a city kid.
Brooklyn is as close to suburban as I ever want to live. It is a borough of New York City, but mostly residential. Even as New York feared its Manhattanization, it is still nothing like Manhattan. Sometimes I like to spend an entire day in Brooklyn, and never get on a train. I love days like that, though they are few and far between these days…
I have sick wanderlust, mostly I seek other big cities by water. Even when I am in another big city, sometimes it seems dwarfed to me because I am so used to New York. I feel like this is it? It is not a cliché if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Nothing has ever been like New York to me, as big and overwhelming…
But I love to leave it, don’t forget that. And not every return is so home sweet home feeling either. Traveling made me discover there is so much out there, and as great as New York is it cannot embody everything. I remember recently having a horchata latte, something I have never seen in New York.
Often I walk the streets of New York in race-like fashion, and wonder why I cannot stop it when I am elsewhere. I am
always the fastest person unless I make a conscious effort not to be. In New York, I have to move.
But New York is the place I feel the safest, I know so many of its nooks and crannies. New York is the gritty place I went to high school, and rode the subway to places I had never been just to see what they looked like. Where parts of Manhattan feel as familiar to me as Brooklyn, and yet I am surprised almost every day by some person or place. Tall buildings contain me. Sometimes all I think of is the next place I am going to go, or try to learn another language or explore a new cuisine. I take refuge in museums, taking in their immeasurable beauty. Or sit in the lobby of a hotel to write during lunch–my writer’s space.
New York is a giant examination of contradictions, but ultimately home. Living here makes me philosophical and dreamy. Once I only wanted to live here, now I see other places maybe I could live in. But New York is written on me, and indelible.
photo by f dot leonora