One thing is for sure: there's nothing like being an observer in this city.
It's like putting on special lenses as you step out to walk the streets, careless and free. Suddenly, everything you witness in this place radiates magic. Despite the sirens and angry cab honks, despite the millions of pairs of legs stressfully stomping bodies back and forth—uptown and downtown, East River to Hudson—despite the hustle of people bumping shoulder to shoulder, there is peace of mind as an observer here. Can you believe it? This is what it's like to be a tourist...and I waited 9 years to finally feel it.
Another thing I waited 9 years to do here?
Better late than never though, right?
The other day, while walking in Alphabet City to get some Ethiopian Food, my sister turned to me and asked when exactly it was that I knew I loved New York. I answered her honestly, that it really wasn't until now—until I felt the freedom to explore this place without too much obligation or time limitations (there is a strange thing that happens when you're on the clock in this place).
I recognize that it's a privilege—but if you can, you've got to make it happen. Even a week or two of stay-cation would do the trick.
I'm noticing that all these things that got under my skin before no longer faze me: the crowded subway, the pouring rain, the speeding cab that sprays guck as it falls in and out of a dilapidated hole in the pavement. Neither the precarious weather, nor the mad energy of 8 million people packed together like sardines. Nope. All of this has humbly tucked itself into the bed of my heart. Down to the very last waft of the very last Halal Cart.
I'm sure that a large part of it is that I now know it's fleeting. We'll be gone in 21 days—and as we all know, there's something wildly attractive about the ephemeral.
As many New Yorkers know, yesterday was almost 70 degrees outside. In all my time here, we've never had such beautiful air in March. Being so, I thought it would be a nice time to take a walk over to Union Square Green Market to drop off that heap of compost I started collecting 9 years too late.
The streets were filled with beautiful women as I made my way there, compost in hand. They all came out of hibernation!
But seriously, almost every woman I saw yesterday strutted down Lafayette, and Houston, and Broadway, and... in a crop top and high-waisted dress pants—the outfit of happiness. There was a breeze as they crossed the street with their bellies out—the Chrysler building conveniently shimmering the sun in their backdrop.
And I realized that this is also why we moved here—every single one of us. We moved here exactly for this moment, to be either the observer or the observed in this seemingly important place. Have you had that moment, New Yorker friends out there?
Click here for a city glimpse, if you wish. And look forward to 21 more days of love.