I never used to care for New York very much. When I was a kid I found it crowded, dirty and overwhelming. The tall buildings and the masses of people used to make me feel cramped and claustrophobic. Growing up in DC, just 4 hours away from the biggest city in the US, I had visited often but never really enjoyed myself.
Something changed though. My friends started moving to New York, I revisited the place over an over, as an adult (and a traveler), and was surprised to find I didn’t hate it at all! Actually, New York was kind of fun.
Over the last few years I’ve visited about a dozen times. New York became the place where I reunited with friends, and the city where I took risks and made new ones. It’s where I attended my first TBEX conference and where I fell helplessly for my handsome boyfriend. Then, this summer my best friend moved to Brooklyn and I got to explore New York from an entirely new perspective.
Basically, I stopped looking at New York through the eyes of a tourist, and started experiencing it, not quite as a local, but as someone who belonged and who felt comfortable. It’s not MY city, it probably never will be, but there are parts of me entangled in the tall buildings and city blocks. It’s a part of my story, and in some teeny tiny way I’m a part of it.
The ten year anniversary of 9/11 was this week, although that’s not why I wrote this. Honestly, it’s an event that touched me much more as a Washingtonian (who lives just minutes from the Pentagon) than as a New Yorker. Nonetheless I have been to New York dozens of times in the past ten years, it’s recovery coinciding with a lot of my own feelings and discoveries in the city. I feel a lot closer to New York now than I did 10 years ago, and it makes me happy that even after such horrible tragedy, the city is as vibrant and beautiful as ever.